Leading up to seeing Orchestre Poly-Rythmo in Chicago earlier this month, I felt like a kid waiting for Christmas. The same frantic anticipation that I had previously felt for video games and action figures was now inspired by a Beninese funk band. But not just any Beninese funk band — Le Tout Puissant Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou, the kings of groove.
The Orchestre was the first real African music I had ever heard. They are the reason I’ve been obsessed with Africa’s musical output for the better part of two years. They’re my Pink Floyd, my Nirvana, my Social Distortion; they’re one of those bands that turns fans into fanatics.