Le Super Borgou de Parakou ‘The Baribb Sound’ 2LP/CD (Analog Africa) 4/5

Another volume in the ever expanding series from African rare groove specialists Analog Africa, this latest offering from Benin group Le Super Burgou de Parakou offers a musical métissage of influences that spans the whole gamut of African music from Mali to Congo and on to Nigeria. The Afro-Beat backdrop to Wegne Nda M’Banza’ with 1970s style keyboards is a definite winner while the repetitive groove of ‘Guesi-Guéré-Guessi’ with joint lead vocals is only just marginally less compelling. Cuban and Congolese influences combine on the melodic guitar lines and nasal vocals on ‘Me ton le gne’ whereas Malian flavours surface on ‘Gandigui’ with a sudden surprise shift in tempo upwards halfway through. For those in search of a subtler Afro-Beat undercurrent, A na gan garo ka nam’ features some delicious lilting guitar. Le Super Borgou de Parakou started life covering other styles, notably Congolese, but soon developed their own identity and this welcome first anthology in Europe demonstrates why.

Tim Stenhouse