best african album 2020

Album of the Month – November 2020

Star Feminine Band (Benin) - Star Feminine Band

Star Feminine band are an extraordinary group from Natitingou, a remote town in the north of Benin.  The 7 members are aged just between 10 and 17 years old, and the only all-girl band in Benin.

Their sound is a garage rock style mix of afrobeat,congolese rumba and traditional Beninese rhythm dances. The girls harmonies may sound youthful but their songs are raising awareness about equality and empowerment for African women to a curious growing audience.

Formed in 2016 by André Baleguem, a Benninese musician, with the intention to create an all girl band – “In the North, girls have no room to advance and women are put aside. I simply wanted to show the importance of women in the societies of North Benin by forming a female orchestra “.

With drums, two guitars, keyboards and some added percussion purchased by André, he put a call out through a local radio station offering free music tuition. Auditions remarkably revealed some of the girls had never seen or been near ‘modern’ musical instruments before.

The girls enthusiasm and determination meant they learnt quickly, rehearsing in between school time, a prerequisite for the free tuition and also to highlight the importance of education to enable freedom for african women.

André composes the songs, but he admits: “They bring their ideas. The dream of these girls is to become international stars. They must show the importance of women throughout the world. Speak of Africa, accomplish great missions around the values ​​of women. They talk about female genital mutilation, abuse and violence against girls ”.

The Star Feminine Band sing in multiple languages and adapt traditional folklore songs – “We play waama rhythm dances, we want to honor them. We compose songs in French, waama and ditamari, two unknown ethnic groups from the North. We also sing songs in the Bariba language, as well as the Fon language, the main language in Benin, in the new repertoire, in order to be understood by as many people as possible.”

The album was recorded in their home town at the Musée Régional, after a string of fate meetings, initially Jeremie Verdier a humanitarian worker heard the band and invited his friends with their recording equipment, the tapes found their way to Jean-Baptiste Guillot from Born Bad records who went and met the band in 2019.

An album of 8 songs of mood-enhancing medicine that will make your heart soar.

“Oh woman, African woman
Oh woman, Beninese woman
Black woman, get up, don’t sleep
Oh black woman, get up don’t sleep
You can become president of the republic
You can become the country’s Prime Minister
Get up, something has to be done
African woman, be independent
The country needs us, let’s go to school
Africa needs you, you have to work
The world needs us, stand up, let’s stand up
African woman, be independent”

Star Feminine Band “Femme Africaine”

Month – November 2020
Artist – Star Feminine Band (Benin)
Title – Star Feminine Band
Label – Born Bad Records
Genre – Beninese sato/ highlife/garage rock/Congolese rumba 


Albums of the Month

Calabash! The UK’s African Music Guide is an online magazine and events guide dedicated to African music happening in the UK.

New African Album releases

Full Gig Guide

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