Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ghana - Togo - Benin

April 10th 2008

I'm currently on another long record digging trip. I started out in Ghana last month and a few days ago arrived in Benin after crossing through Togo. Arriving at the Benin border, our taxi driver told us that we'd have to switch vehicles. Even though he had at first assured us he would take is straight to Grand Popo, it suddenly came to his mind that he didn't have the necessary papers to cross the border... on top of it, he asked us twice the price that we had first agreed on. Luckily, my friend Francois lives only about 15 km from the border post. He was there within half an hour, set our crooked driver straight and helped us carry our luggage into Benin by foot.

So far I've been extremely lucky as I managed to cross off most of the records that still remained on the top of my wantlist. I can already promise that the next mix will be a real tough one.

This time I'm being followed around by a documentary film maker and we're very happy with the stuff we managed to shoot so far. I sacrificed a chicken in a Voodoo shrine by Grand Popo yesterday and Vodun Agbo agreed to give us his support as we were assured by the priest who had consulted the Fa for us: A Kola nut is split in four pieces and thrown onto a plate after asking a question to the Vodun. The Vodun then answers with certain different combinations of how the pieces of Kola nut come to rest. As a reminder, we left a Poly Rythmo 45 in the shrine.

The morning after the ceremony, I had my biggest single find of African 45s so far. Amongst others I found Fela's "beautiful dancer", Orlando Julius' "James Brown ride on"/"psychedelic afro shop" and a whole bunch of rare Poly Rythmo picture sleeve 45s in great condition.

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