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Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble | Funk Jazz Ethno | Finland, Benin

„The Finnish-Benines collaboration combines vivid Modern Jazz, Funky Beats and edgy Afrobeat in an innovating manner. Behind everything one can hear the magnificent Benines rhythms of Voodoo. If this doesn’t move the listener, then what does!“
Mari Koppinen (Helsingin Sanomat)

„How lucky to have such a sharp and intelligent gang of collaborators. And such a rich and potent range of rhythms on which to build.“ Rick Sanders (fROOTS Magazine)

„Pure Gold. 5/5.” (Soundi Music Magazine)


In January 2012 three musicians from Finland, Janne Halonen, Juha Räsänen and Sampo Riskilä, travelled down to Benin, West Africa. The purpose of their trip was to put together a band with Beninese drum and vocal virtuoso Noël Saïzonou, rehearse for a month, play a few shows and make a record. All that happened during their six-week stay, and the record was finalized later that year in Helsinki.

After a highly acclaimed debut album Beaucoup de Piment! (2013) and 40 shows in 5 countries, Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble has completed it’s second album “Fire, Sweat & Pastis“.

The music on the record is written by Janne Halonen and Noël Saïzonou. The writing process has been ongoing during band’s tours and Halonen’s trips to Benin. While the first album contained compositions finalized from pre-developed materials by Halonen and Saïzonou, this time the duo has written most of the music together from the scratch. The whole band has also had plenty of influence on the arrangements, and the works in progress where tested Live many times before recording.

On paper HCE’s signature sound has stayed the same: cocktail of Beninese drumming and vocal traditions, funk, jazz and soul, put together with Finnish open mindedness, visionary arrangements and flowing instrumentalism. Some songs are sang, some are instrumental. Some songs are more traditional while others even pour from Modern Jazz. However, the common denominator of all tracks is the traditional rhythms of Benin.

*** Album “Fire, Sweat & Pastis” out in 2015, April 24th on flowfish.records ***

*** Ethno-Album-of-the-Year Award in Finland ***

*** Europe-Tour 2015 ***

Titel | Fire, Sweat & Pastis
Interpret | Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble
Best.-Nr. | FF 00xx
Vertrieb | Broken Silence
VÖ | 24.04.2015