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Nov 23, 2020

Star Feminine Band | Debut album

Star Feminine Band come from a remote region of north-west Benin, a group of young girls aged between nine and fifteen who blend, with humour, energy and a lightness of touch, styles like garage rock, pop and the traditional music of their home. Their eponymous album is out now on cult French indie label Born Bad.

The genesis of the group

The group was founded in 2016, based on an idea that came to professional musician André Baleguemon. He wanted to bring together an exclusively female group that would explore current issues. His reasoning was that “in the north, girls have no possibility of progressing and women are marginalised. I simply wanted to demonstrate the importance of women in North Bénin by forming a female ensemble.” No sooner said than done: André put out a press release on radio station Nanto FM offering free music lessons for girls. Numerous young female musicians responded. “The girls didn’t know anything about music, we chose seven girls from nearby villages, from the Waama and Nabo cultures. Some of them had never seen instruments like keyboards before.

The breakthrough

At the end of 2018, a meeting between a young French sound engineer, Jérémie Verdier, was a key moment in the progress of the project. He invited his Spanish friends Juan Toran and Juan Serra to bring their recording equipment and capture the first songs in an annex of a museum in Natitingou. By pure chance, Jean-Baptiste Guillot of the Born Bad label heard the recordings and decided to meet the group in their own country at the end of 2019. This album is the fruit of that meeting.

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