#SessionLive Star Feminine Band of Benin and Grupo Compay Segundo

Star Feminine Band : a first outward journey and then the return by Jacques Denis

Producing a record can be an adventure. Doing it with young girls from the North-West of Benin is a challenge. It was this first challenge that Born Badnot really a label in the world music genre, by publishing at the end of 2020 the first album of the Star Feminine Band. Praise concert, everything, and chaos: canceled due to Covid the tour which should have realized live all the hopes placed by the group and its entourage. However, the pandemic will not have been right in their sweet desire to see them on the European stages. A year later, the combo will again be on the Transmusicales poster, the culmination of a first tour despite all the galleys and adventures.

It was not easy as it was the first time for the formalities. “Self appointed” band dad (two of his daughters are part of it and he was on the initiative in 2016), the songwriter Andre Balaguemon described by this delicate euphemism the course of obstacles that had to be overcome to land in France. ” We all had to travel from Natitingou, our city in the North-West, to Cotonou, the capital, where the embassy centralizes visa applications. Each had their file. And that’s how the journey began, several outwards, so many returns, each time thirty hours by bus for these kids, the youngest of whom, the drummer Angélique, celebrated her twelfth birthday in March 2022 and the eldest is just eighteen springs.

Leaving to come back, leaving to come back… We made shuttles of them before it ended. And this even if JB had made sure that everyone had valid identity cards and passports and up-to-date vaccinations, before even considering the first tour. ” It was the sine qua non condition to consider seducing a European turner. These young girls did not even have civil status at the beginning of the adventure Which adds a posteriori, half-lucid, half-acid: Everyone wanted to play them. But once the file was sent, forty-eight hours later, gauging the administrative route, everyone slipped away. ” All but Bernard and Geneviève d’Azimuth faced with the insistence of their booker Leo Tran who are going to join the project, with all the consequences that entails. It was a gamble, but for them it was worth it.


© BornBad

Star Feminine Band in Paris.

Bringing in African minors, necessarily it is not won, what is more in the Covid period. ” They had to be vaccinated, except that in Benin, minors did not have access to the vaccine. And we couldn’t even resort to the compelling reason, which the culture didn’t benefit from. “, remembers Morgane Bois who will be in charge at Azimuth of this file of the thick kind, like those that it will have had to constitute at each stage, with a whole bunch of arguments to get into the nails of the legislation. of the work of minors, and then of the labor code at night, this one starting at 8 p.m. according to the authorities. CQFD: not everything was simple in this story. ” Administratively a bit cumbersome », resumes Morgane. Sweet understatement. And once they have benefited from a pass, then disembarked, they will still have to respect a quarantine period in Juvisy, not far from Massy, ​​the hall in the Paris suburbs.

A week later, they are finally free. Well almost. They will still have to submit to a daily Covid test, and be required to follow up with their teachers in Benin by videoconference, with certificates in good and due form in support. We don’t laugh with these things, but the fact remains that once all these obligations were fulfilled, the Star Féminine Band was finally ready to go on stage. A first in this tour of all the first times: leaving Benin, taking the plane, discovering Paris. ” Everything intrigued them! “adds JB, never short of a flowery anecdote. Like the one where facing the escalators, many struggle to set foot on it. Or when in front of an elevator, they remain frozen. Not to mention that of the GPS: “ A voice pointing the way was science fiction to them. My car was the Enterprise, whereas it’s a Peugeot Partner pov. »

Along the way, they will therefore learn the European codes of good conduct. Ensuring a sound-check, facing the stage, it is finally not so difficult when you have essentially played under the dodger, with failing electricity and no return. Like responding to interviews, which follow one another in the face of the phenomenon. National newspapers such as specialized magazines, radios such as TVs, Arte and TV5, and then also the BBC. ” So much interest, so many interviews, we did not believe in such a reception. It didn’t stop, but despite the fatigue they were so happy to tell their story. », resumes André Balaguemon.

Once they played, we obviously had the feeling of the mission accomplished, that all this energy deployed was used for something! Morgane will not have been the only ones to vibrate on the occasion of this tour, a month when from Massy to Bobigny, from the Opéra de Lyon to L’Usine a hall in Geneva, the Star Féminine Band will have put all their fitting world. Starting with the critics who came in close ranks to the Transmusicales to gauge the phenomenon on foot. They came back convinced, like the public alpagated by their live and direct formula. ” As soon as they got on the podium, it was gone. exclaims “dad” André. And it was all the same when it came to recording in the studio, still something new, like an ultimate challenge that they took up with the talent of youth, thanks to Laurent’s sense of listening. by Boisgisson from One Two Pass It studio.


© RFI/Laurence Aloir

Star Feminine Band at RFI.

Precisely, what about the continuation of the adventures of these new ambassadors of Unicef? They persist and sign in the same way, a feverish and energetic soundtrack where the nabo, peulh, waama rhythms are enhanced with rhythms, spiced with more “modern” sounds, carrying a message of tolerance and benevolence, with their words. Simple and direct, they speak of their reality, of the ills of young women who do not always have a choice. Often out of school and promised to sell peanuts, bananas or gari on the side of the road, most young girls in the region have little future. Forced marriages, early pregnancies…” These girls are heroines! “, resumes JB, who by welcoming them in the studio allows them to sharpen their formula, a form of garage band enhanced with Afro twists. Thanks to the English lesson that Jérémie Verdier, their manager, has given the girls by videoconference every Sunday evening for the past 2 years, the girls even try their hand at titles in English with “ We Are Star Feminine Band ” and “ Woman Stand Up » InParistherefore, this is the successful story of this bet.

It’s also the start of new adventures, the promise of tomorrows that could well take off, at a time when a dazzling summer tour is announced: Dour, Les Eurockéennes, Roskilde or Les Nuits de Fourvière. On their return home, the welcome was triumphant. Their videos were looped on TV, the radio gave them focus and the Beninese national channel ORTB even broadcast their concert filmed for Arte several times. This group of unknowns has become a national reference. ” So this time, for visas, it’s easier. »

– See the clip “The Right of the Child »


© RFI/Laurence Aloir

Star Feminine Band at RFI.

Titles performed at the big studio

Forced marriage Live RFI

– Igousounofrom the album “In Paris”

The music Live RFI

We Are Star Feminine Bandfrom the album “In Paris”

Line Up: André Balaguemon – musical director, Anne – guitar, Julienne – bass, Grace – keyboards and vocals, Angelic – battery, Sandrine – percussion and vocals, Dorcas – percussion and vocals, Urrice – percussion and vocals

His : Mathias Taylor and Jeremie Besset

► Scrapbook InParis (Born Bad Records 2022)

► Concert November 9, 2022 Paris, La Maroquinerie

Then we receive the Cuban group Grupo Compay Segundo for the release of the album “Vivelo”.


© RFI/Laurence Aloir

Grupo Compay Segundo at RFI.

Founded in 2003, after the death of Compay Segundo, by his son Salvador Repilado, Grupo Compay Segundo wants to be a group that perpetuates the tradition of Cuban music: Sound. As its name suggests, its vocation is to extend the work of Compay Segundo.

Originally composed largely by the musicians who accompanied Compay Segundo within “Compay Segundo y su Grupo” from 1992 to 2003 and musicians from the “Buena Vista Social Club”, the group has evolved over time. by surrounding himself with talented young musicians trained at the conservatory of Havana.


© Susan Titelman (World Circuit/BMG)

Ruben González (left), Compay Segundo (center), Ry Cooder (right).

Recorded with the finest of current Cuban music, Grupo Compay Segundo’s fourth album brilliantly sounds the return of Cuban sound. Compay Segundo left us in 2003 and his life and stage companions then decided to continue what he had always wanted – “ Tocar Música traditional Cubana! »

Compay Segundo y sus Muchachos will become El Grupo Compay Segundo and these tireless companeros will travel the whole world with the desire to tell ” the story of their Compay. »

On the “Vivelo” album and for the first time in the history of Group, 8 original titles will be co-signed by Salvador Repiladothe son, bassist and historical musical director of Compay, and one of the rising Cuban stars Maikel Dinza. He has collaborated with many Cuban artists and received numerous musical awards including the prestigious premium cubadisco (Victory of Cuban Music).

This new opus marks a turning point in their career. At the same time more personal, he knew how to keep the know-how of Compay’s music while placing Vivelo at the heart of current Cuban music. The osmosis between tradition of his and modernity of current music works wonderfully and for this they will welcome the cream of Cuban music, Issac Delgado, Julio Padron, Alexander Abreu, Joya Sory Perez and Rolando Luna. As for covers, this new opus unveils a revisited version of San Luisera, which Compay already sang in the 1940s with Los Compadres and an incredible Spanish adaptation of Les Mains d’Or by the most Cuban of French artists, Bernard Lavilliers.


© ZnProd

Grupo Compay Segundo.

Listening, the clash of generations is a success and the writing of the arrangements envelops everything wonderfully.

– See the clip “Con La Magia de Compay”

Titles performed at the big studio

San Luisera Live RFI

The Golden Hands (excerpt from Bernard Lavilliers)

Manos de Orofrom the album Vivelo

Sarandoga Live RFI

Chan Chan Live RFI

Line-up: Rafael Fournier Navarro – percussion, Yoel Matos Rodriguez – guitar & backing vocals, Alberto Rodriguez Pineda– armónico & choirs, Rafael Inciarte Rodríguez – clarinet, Hugo Garzon Bargallo – singing, Salvador Repilado Labrada – double bass & musical director, Nilso Arias Fernandez – guitar & backing vocals.

Translation: María Margarita Santiago

His : Mathias Taylor and Jeremie Besset

► Scrapbook Vivelo (AnZn 2022)


© RFI/Laurence Aloir

Grupo Compay Segundo at RFI.

We would love to give thanks to the writer of this article for this incredible web content

#SessionLive Star Feminine Band of Benin and Grupo Compay Segundo