Without warning, a group of young girls from a remote region of Benin is shaking up the world of garage rock with breathtaking freshness, ingenuity and energy, playing spot-on, loud and clear.
A musician named André Baleguemon decided to form an exclusively female band rooted in the concerns of its time. He puts the spotlight on the guitar, drums and keyboard, instruments he has admired since his childhood, symbols of modernity in this remote region. His observation is simple: “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 “.
On July 25th, 2016, with the support of the city of Natitingou, André launched a press release on Nanto FM offering to help train girls in music for free. A few days later, dozens of aspiring musicians showed up at the Youth Center. “The girls who came didn’t know anything about music. We selected seven girls of the Waama and Nabo ethnic groups from the surrounding villages, some had never even seen these types of instruments before. “
The girls quickly became passionate about their new musical activities, learning how to play drums, guitar, piano and sing vocal harmonies. Their progress was astounding. An intense work of musical training took place, starting with drum workshops, their favorite instrument. Angelique and Urrice on drums and vocals, assisted by Marguerite, the third drummer. Sandrine is on keyboards, as is Grace, who also sings vocals. Julienne is on bass and Anne on guitar.
André’s determination is one of the key elements of this human and artistic success. The girls have already performed dozens of concerts in the region, forging and expanding an already solid repertoire, while attracting an ever-increasing local audience. In addition to musical progress, he has been personally involved with each family, showing them the importance of his project, both musically and humanly and in particular the fact that each girl must remain in school and not be forced into marriage.
At the end of 2018, their encounter with the young French sound engineer Jérémie Verdier accelerated the course of things. On a mission in the region, he called on his Spanish friends Juan Toran and Juan Serra who showed up with their recording equipment in order to record the band’s first songs in the annex of the local museum. Random encounters and fate led Jean-Baptiste Guillot to hear the tapes. He decided to go meet them at the end of 2019. This short but memorable journey sealed the fate of the record you are now holding in your hands.