wed 28/09/2022

Album: Star Feminine Band - In Paris | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Star Feminine Band - In Paris

Album: Star Feminine Band - In Paris

Protest songs by teenage band from Benin

The young band from Benin hit Paris

The Star Feminine Band are from Benin, all of them under 18, the youngest only 12. They hail from a village in the north of their small country tucked between Togo and Nigeria. Their pop-inflected mix of high life, Congolese rhumba and other trans-African styles is as ebullient as it comes, and probably very infectious on the dance floor.

Their second album features once again guitars, electronic keyboards and percussion. It’s mostly up-tempo, and as with so much African music, as well as in the musics of the African diaspora, the fun of the dance is inseparable from messages about how to live an ethical and good life.

The all-woman band sing of social problems, such as forced marriages (“Le marriage forcé”) and children’s rights (“Le droit de l’enfant”). There is a gaiety about their protest that belies the reality of the problems that they face in every life. That they should have reached this far and now perform outside Benin, reflects the youthful energy that drives their music. There is none of the forceful anger which characterises, for instance, their elders Les Amazones d’Afrique who stomp around the stage in their performances, with a fury that comes from having suffered discrimination for longer.

Musically, there is nothing exceptional about Star Feminine Band. The material is mostly fast-paced, but somewhat repetitive, and the singing – solo or chorus – not outstanding. The vocalist on “Le droit de l’enfant” is even a little out of tune. The untutored quality and the energy of the album have plenty of charm but the freshness of youth and the right-on material are no substitute for the excellence that their very important causes deserve.

The fun of the dance is inseparable from messages about how to live an ethical and good life

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Average: 2 (1 vote)

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