Ben Fadi & Hyenah – Kumang (Don’t Accept) [Afro House 2022 / Rise Berlin]

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“I don’t want to witness the death of my language and culture. That would make me complicit, …” says Senegalese Benoit Fader Keita aka Beni Fadi in an interview with The Guardian, shortly after he left Senegal for Europe for the very first time to play at RISE x ElectrAfrique shows. The 36-year-old comes from the Bedik minority of south-east Senegal. Mënik, his mother tongue, is spoken by fewer than 4,000 people. Unesco classifies it as one of nearly 2,500 endangered languages around the world. A few years ago Benoit started out in Dakar, recording music in private and soon he was getting radio play and people began to take him seriously. He believes his music could be key to saving his beloved language from extinction. The EP’s title “Farkoko” (Mënik for “chameleon”) brings him one step closer to his goal. The animal is a strong symbol for the Bedik – adapting to a constantly evolving world.The songs were created deep in Bedik country, close to the Senegalese border with Mali, when RISE and ElectrAfrique joined forces and came to visit Benoit and his community in Bandafassi. The result is this EP, showcasing 3 different ways to make the Mënik language heard. Partners in this project are: Beni Fadi & Passa Beatz & DJ Cortega – “Kedoba” Cortega, a Dakar-based DJ and co-founder of ElectrAfrique, a collective that’s been pushing pan-African electronic music for over ten years. He teamed up with Passa Beatz, a Senegalese music producer known as the sensei of beat making. He is Deedo Dakar Studio’s sound boss and one of the most versatile producers in the country. Together with Bedik musicians they produce a track that blends Afro house and trap with traditional sounds. Beni Fadi & Ukai Ndame & Walter Griot – “Matcha-Matcha” Walter Griot is a Berlin based DJ with Senegalese roots who has been pushing the Afro House movement in Germany for over a decade. He grew up in a traditional Griot family and this project gave him the opportunity to explore a new side of Senegal. He teamed up with Ukai, who was born in Angola and grew up in South Africa. She is known in Berlin for her stylish blends of music and fashion.Ben Fadi & Hyenah – “Kumang” (Don’t Accept)Hyenah: visiting Senegal for the first time, wrote Kumang together with Beni Fadi somewhere between the Bandafassi village and the Deedo Dakar Studio. Most of the song was done during a 14 hour van ride. We hope that the Farkoko EP will make the Mënik language known beyond borders and share knowledge about the life and wisdom of the Bedik community.

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About Axel Wilson:

Economist, esthetician and avid collector of vinyls and clothing. Instagram: _livsmedel_