Vodoo Rhythms and Angelic Harmonies: Beninese Brothers Jomion and the Uklos

Posted June 3rd, 2013 at 2:00 pm (UTC-4)
2 comments

Dedication of a vodoun temple in Agbagnizoun, Benin. The costumed figure is an Egun. Photo by David Ludman.

The group’s latest album “Yokpole” (2007).

Compared to other African countries, Benin has a small land mass. But the West African nation is a giant in music traditions and innovation. Jomion and the Uklos are a fabulous example of Beninese music with this live performance for Music Time in Africa. Jomion and his brothers come from Cotonou, the nation’s largest city. They formed as a musical group (the Uklos) after singing and playing for years in church, under the pastorship of their father.

In church, traditional vodoo rhythms and music practices blend with catholic hymns and harmonies to make a beautiful, distinctly Beninese sound. Jomion, whose primary instrument is trumpet, has a long history of playing across world stages for African music greats such as Angelique Kidjo, Lionel Loueke, Black Santiagoand others.

Jomion and the Uklos in Studio 4 for Music Time in Africa with Heather Maxwell. May 24th 2013 at the Voice of America, Washington D.C.

From the fusion of Jomion’s experiences and remarkable  talent with his family affair in church, a stunning music has evolved that sounds like no other. Some call it Afro-Cuban-influenced jazz,others call it traditional Beninese.

The group recently performed and conducted master classes at Harvard University and continued with a tour in the northeastern U.S. Here they are with me at the Voice of America studios in Washington.

 

Heather Maxwell
Heather Maxwell produces and hosts the award winning radio program "Music Time in Africa" and is the African Music Editor for the Voice of America. Heather is an ethnomusicologist with a Ph.D. from Indiana University specializing in African Music. She is also an accomplished jazz and Afrojazz/Afrosoul vocalist and has been working, researching, and performing in Africa and the U.S. since 1987.

2 Responses to “Vodoo Rhythms and Angelic Harmonies: Beninese Brothers Jomion and the Uklos”

  1. aabedje says:

    Another nice blog, Heather — after reading it, I already feel like an expert on Benin music.

  2. I’ve learn several excellent stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you set to create one of these great informative web site.

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Heather Maxwell produces and hosts the award-winning radio program “Music Time in Africa” and is the African Music Editor for the Voice of America. Heather is an ethnomusicologist with Doctorate and Master’s degrees from Indiana University specializing in African Music. She is also an accomplished jazz and Afrojazz/Afrosoul vocalist and has been working, researching, and performing in Africa and the U.S. since 1987.

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