Benin International Musical (BIM) performs music hailing from the west african kingdom Dahomey. It existed until 1894, when the last king was defeated by french troops and the country became part of a colony which in time became known as Benin. Hervé Riesen, program director and radio host at Radio France, started the project. The goal was to create awareness about a musical culture largely ignored in France. The radio station is a prolific instigator of cooperations of this kind on the global music scene. BIM has since become a broader cooperation between a host of institutions like Rolling Stone and TV5Monde.
A group of musicians was gathered – people from all rungs of Benins society. Gospel, hip hop and folk music was included. Inspiration was drawn from traditional ceremonies and club music from Cotonou. Church music and voodoo tradition was treated equally. Modern genres shaped by the voodoo brought to USA from Benin during slavery, was brought in to the fold. When you hear BIM, it becomes clear that these new and old impulses are still natural bedmates. It is an orchestra with a clear mission – it wants to educate people about this rich musical culture. But first and foremost, it is a fantastic, unpretentious mix of different kinds of music from Benin, treated on equal terms by an ensemble which will thrill the global audience for years to come.
Double billing: ISÁK