Title Creation Date

Benin International Musical


On the roads of music in Benin - Benin International Musical


Origin of the project

On the initiative of Hervé Riesen, Deputy Director for stations and programmes at Radio France and member of EBU (European Broadcasting Union) and Jérôme Ettinger, artistic Director at Togezer Productions (Egyptian Project, Samir Aouad, K’Bossy…).

A first stay was organized in Benin from April 12 to 16 2016 in partnership with the city of Nantes and the Institut Français in Paris. The goal being to discover the country, its culture, its music, its rituals, its rhythm, and to meet its inhabitants, its cultural and educational players.


The collaborations

Aristide Agondanou from the artistic agency « Awo Négoce » took in charge the organization in Benin and made the link with the Beninese cultural players.

A video and sound team directed by Axel Vanlerberghe and Sami Fathi accompanies the project.


The project

The general project takes an interest in the development of the current Beninese musical scene, in its heritage, its history, in the artistic education and training in the country.


Indeed Benin is the cradle of major musical movements in the 20th century (jazz, salsa, funk, hip hop…). Cradle of the African funk and of voodoo rhythms, fascinating fashionable references quoted by the American rappers and the great current rock bands (Arcade Fire, Franz Ferdinand, Vampire Weekend…). From jazz to rock through blues, gospel, rap, all the so-called “modern music” started out from Cotonou and Ouidah with the slaves. The project consists in registering Cotonou as cradle and world capital of music.


The successive developments in Mali since the end of the nineties represent a lesson for the entire African continent. Reference and concrete model of success, this country is an example for us to take note that Benin now gathers all the elements to follow the same road and to succeed in creating a true attractive scene in the world.


Music allows a rich editorial project, pretext for following the example of a country which bets on this sector to develop its activity, its international outreach, and to strengthen its inner stability and its relations with the outside world.


We wish to contribute to the taking into account by the world of the cultural wealth of this country, with national and international partners like Radio France, City of Nantes, City of Cotonou, Ministry of Culture in France and Benin, Cotonou Institut Français, EBU (European Broadcasting Union), URTI (International Radio and Television Union), Sacem, CNV, Spedidam, Air France…

So Cotonou today is an African capital well adapted to develop a sparkling musical activity. Its musical history is well-known and held throughout the world by very famous artists: Polyrythmo, Angélique Kidjo, Gnonnas Pedro, Les As du Bénin. From monasteries where voodoo divinities are implored through Evangelical Churches, “in” clubs in Cotonou, through Cotonou national ballet and unusual places where artists, and dwellers work, Benin will soon catch the interest of the whole world.



International Festival « Les Nuits du Bénin » in November 2017 in Nantes (France).

Building a strong partnership between the Togezer productions (France) and Awo Négoce (Benin) structures.

Accompaniment of a partnership with various European public radios.

New 100% Beninese musical creation « Benin International Musical ».

Production of France-Benin musical creations linked with festivals in Europe.

Proposition of help for training and for accompaniment of cultural players in Benin.

Production of documentaries, video and sound reports linked with TV and radio stations.

Session # 1 : April 12-16 avril 2016 // Meetings, visits


Institutions, foundations, studio, club

Institut Français in Cotonou  // Sylvain Treuil - Director

SOS village d’enfants - Ecole des métiers d’art // Director

Zinsou Foundation in Cotonou

Recording Studio Guru Records // Prosper - Director

Yes papa // concert club in Cotonou


Media Cotonou

ORTB (Benin Public Radio and Television) // Pascaline Ahouilihor - Director

Eliote Djodjiulisseet Odilon  and  Gilles Acoubon  // Channel Managers

Radio Topka // Sergent Markus, Journalist

Télévision chaîne 3 // Sergent Markus, Journalist and Anchorman

Radio Frisson // Jean-Luc Apoglan - Director



Amoussou Augustin // Artists’ Manager in Benin

Didolanvi Bonaventure, a.k.a Pêcheur, very respected singer in Benin

Wood Sound // Musician artists (song, drums, guitar, bass)

Adénikè Band // Musician and dancing artists (traditional, fanfare, brass, drums, dance)

Dimenxion Flexible, Musician artists (Hip Hop)

FAGBEMI Koudwath » a.k.a « Koudy », Musician artist (folk, pop, song, guitar)

The Orchestra of Poly- Rythmo from Cotonou, Musician artist (afro beat, funk)

Sergent Markus, Musician artist (slam)

Don Métok // Musician artist, number 1 of the sales in Benin (afro, reggae, pop)

Romuald Hazounmey, Plastic artist with international fame


Visit of the towns

Visit of Porto Novo, the capital of Benin, in the area of Zèvou-Aga (its history, its culture, its music) where the old market of slaves is located.

Village of percussions in the suburb of Porto Novo.

Ouidah, the road of slaves.


For more information - Hervé Riesen:

Benin International Musical on YouTube


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