Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble


22541 helsinki cotonou ensemble photo by sami mannerheimo
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About


" Weather Report meets Fela, you might say. They are good enough."

This is how Rick Sanders of fRoots magazine wrote about Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble. With their debut album Beaucoup de Piment (a lot of pepper) released in May 2013, the band demonstrated they are a sharp and ...

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Contact

Publicist
Samantha Brickler
812-339-1195

Current News

  • 06/28/201607/13/2016
  • Quebec, QC

Finn-Funky Vodun: Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble Conjure Up Musical Brotherhood on Fire, Sweat and Pastis

Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble releases Fire, Sweat and Pastis and tours Canada in July 2016.

Finnish guitarist Janne Halonen was obsessed: He couldn’t stop listening to Lionel Loueke, the guitarist in Herbie Hancock’s ensemble. He knew Loueke was from Benin, and had to know what made his music tick. 

Before he knew it, his fascination took him to Benin. The country is home to Villa Karo, a Finnish-African cultural center established fifteen years ago to promote...

Press

News

07/13/2016, Quebec, QC, Festival d’ete de Québec - Hydro-Québec Stage, 6:00 PM
06/28/201607/13/2016, Finn-Funky Vodun: Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble Conjure Up Musical Brotherhood on Fire, Sweat and Pastis
Event
07/13/2016
Event
07/13/2016
Concert Start Time
6:00 PM
Venue
Festival d’ete de Québec - Hydro-Québec Stage
Venue St. Address
683 Rue Saint-Joseph
Venue City, State
Québec, QC
Venue Zip
G1K 3C1, Canada
Ticket Price(s)
FREE - pass recommended
Ticket Phone
418-523-4540
Ticket URL
http://www.infofestival.com/Tickets/Passes/
Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble releases Fire, Sweat and Pastis and tours Canada in July 2016. Finnish guitarist Janne Halonen was obsessed: He couldn’t stop listening to Lionel Loueke, the guitarist in Herbie Hancock’s ensemble. He knew Loueke was from Benin, and had to know what made his music tick. MORE» More»

Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble releases Fire, Sweat and Pastis and tours Canada in July 2016.

Finnish guitarist Janne Halonen was obsessed: He couldn’t stop listening to Lionel Loueke, the guitarist in Herbie Hancock’s ensemble. He knew Loueke was from Benin, and had to know what made his music tick. 

Before he knew it, his fascination took him to Benin. The country is home to Villa Karo, a Finnish-African cultural center established fifteen years ago to promote exchange by writer Juha Vakkuri, who wanted to spread his passion for the continent. There, Halonen met Noël Saïzonou. The two connected and the unexpectedly perfect Finn funk-meets - Voodoo rhythms of Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble was born.

On Fire, Sweat and Pastis (release: July 7th 2016), the Ensemble’s second album available in North America, the octet of musicians experienced in jazz, funk, R&B, and traditional Beninese music intertwine the percussive rhythms of West African Vodun with funky basslines, soulful call-and-response vocals, and virtuosic brass and woodwind melodies.  They invite listeners to join them on a musical journey that is equal parts celebration and reflection.  

“Every song is a new discovery. It’s about the people, the individuals,” reflects Halonen,. “When you work with someone more, you learn what they’re all about.”

{full story below} 

Travelling to Cotonou, Benin’s most populous city, for the first time in 2009, Janne explains, “I was asking who is The Man? Who should I meet?”  Everyone pointed to vocalist and percussionist Noël Saïzonou. “The first time we met we greeted each other like old friends,” remembers Janne.  What followed was several years of songwriting sessions as Noël came multiple times to Finland. They learned about each other and crafted their sound.

In West African Vodun music, the drum gathers the ancestors, a spiritual call to action. Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble uses drums and bass as their foundation. Originally they were a quartet featuring Janne, Noël, drummer Juha Räsänen, and bassist Sampo Riskilä. Janne explains, “During the writing process we started from scratch. We met up and one of us would introduce a riff and we started to work from there.”  

In 2012, Janne Halonen finally went from Helsinki back to Benin.  A 4,000-mile flight, a flat tire, and a clandestine boat ride led Janne, Juha, and Sampo to a recording studio in Cotonou. Just two weeks later, they performed their new songs for African concert-goers that laid the foundation for Fire, Sweat and Pastis. “We wrote the songs for our second album on tour, between shows,” Janne laughs. “In the heat of the moment.”

Janne describes the origin of “Minin Vodjo”, the album’s third track. “That means do the right thing. Encouraging people to think positively and set aside things like jealousy and hatred.”  

The lyrics are collaborative, Noël composing in Goun, his mother tongue.  Onstage he banters with the audience, playing the role of conductor. While on tour in Africa, Janne encouraged Noël to speak to the audience.  “He would ask people to listen to the lyrics.  When there was something really specific in the lyrics people like, they’d applaud,” explains Janne.  

Fire, Sweat & Pastis is an energetic statement bursting with the desire to celebrate and share their music. And composer Janne Halonen has crafted a complete journey. An album that knows exactly when to change pace, like stopping to rest your tired feet at just the right moment.  “Interlude Part 1” and “Interlude Part 2” feature thumb-plucked Kalimba, melodic acoustic guitar, rolling Fender Rhodes, galloping hand drumming, and thumping bass in casual conversation with each other.

“Minin Vodjo” opens with light percussion, as Sampo’s buoyant, funky bassline is grounded by Visa Oscar’s sustained keyboard harmonies.  Noël leads the band with his assured verse, singing in counterpoint to the ensemble’s refrain.  Then the horn section comes bounding in, featuring Mikko Pettinen on trumpet and Joakim Berghäll on saxophone. Aided by Sampo and Juha’s interactive bass and drums, the song builds in intensity to the finale like a cresting wave crashing into a rocky shore.

“Light  is fading, the road is long,” sings Noël on the opening track. “Feet are aching, but we carry on.”  On this road, Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble celebrate every step.  Listening to each song on Fire, Sweat & Pastis is like stopping at a sleepy, roadside town, only to discover it is the place you’ve always longed to be.

Event
07/13/2016

07/12/2016, Toronto, ON, Lula Lounge, 8:00 PM
06/28/201607/12/2016, Finn-Funky Vodun: Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble Conjure Up Musical Brotherhood on Fire, Sweat and Pastis
Event
07/12/2016
Event
07/12/2016
Doors Open
7:00 PM
Concert Start Time
8:00 PM
Venue
Lula Lounge
Venue St. Address
1585 Dundas St W
Venue City, State
Toronto, ON
Venue Zip
M6J 1T9, Canada
Ticket Price(s)
$10.00
Ticket Phone
416-588-0307
Ticket URL
http://www.opentable.com/lula-lounge-reservations-toronto?rid=75154&restref=75154&m=0&t=single&p=2&d=07/12/16%2007:00:00%20PM&rtype=ism_mod
Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble releases Fire, Sweat and Pastis and tours Canada in July 2016. Finnish guitarist Janne Halonen was obsessed: He couldn’t stop listening to Lionel Loueke, the guitarist in Herbie Hancock’s ensemble. He knew Loueke was from Benin, and had to know what made his music tick. MORE» More»

Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble releases Fire, Sweat and Pastis and tours Canada in July 2016.

Finnish guitarist Janne Halonen was obsessed: He couldn’t stop listening to Lionel Loueke, the guitarist in Herbie Hancock’s ensemble. He knew Loueke was from Benin, and had to know what made his music tick. 

Before he knew it, his fascination took him to Benin. The country is home to Villa Karo, a Finnish-African cultural center established fifteen years ago to promote exchange by writer Juha Vakkuri, who wanted to spread his passion for the continent. There, Halonen met Noël Saïzonou. The two connected and the unexpectedly perfect Finn funk-meets - Voodoo rhythms of Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble was born.

On Fire, Sweat and Pastis (release: July 7th 2016), the Ensemble’s second album available in North America, the octet of musicians experienced in jazz, funk, R&B, and traditional Beninese music intertwine the percussive rhythms of West African Vodun with funky basslines, soulful call-and-response vocals, and virtuosic brass and woodwind melodies.  They invite listeners to join them on a musical journey that is equal parts celebration and reflection.  

“Every song is a new discovery. It’s about the people, the individuals,” reflects Halonen,. “When you work with someone more, you learn what they’re all about.”

{full story below} 

Travelling to Cotonou, Benin’s most populous city, for the first time in 2009, Janne explains, “I was asking who is The Man? Who should I meet?”  Everyone pointed to vocalist and percussionist Noël Saïzonou. “The first time we met we greeted each other like old friends,” remembers Janne.  What followed was several years of songwriting sessions as Noël came multiple times to Finland. They learned about each other and crafted their sound.

In West African Vodun music, the drum gathers the ancestors, a spiritual call to action. Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble uses drums and bass as their foundation. Originally they were a quartet featuring Janne, Noël, drummer Juha Räsänen, and bassist Sampo Riskilä. Janne explains, “During the writing process we started from scratch. We met up and one of us would introduce a riff and we started to work from there.”  

In 2012, Janne Halonen finally went from Helsinki back to Benin.  A 4,000-mile flight, a flat tire, and a clandestine boat ride led Janne, Juha, and Sampo to a recording studio in Cotonou. Just two weeks later, they performed their new songs for African concert-goers that laid the foundation for Fire, Sweat and Pastis. “We wrote the songs for our second album on tour, between shows,” Janne laughs. “In the heat of the moment.”

Janne describes the origin of “Minin Vodjo”, the album’s third track. “That means do the right thing. Encouraging people to think positively and set aside things like jealousy and hatred.”  

The lyrics are collaborative, Noël composing in Goun, his mother tongue.  Onstage he banters with the audience, playing the role of conductor. While on tour in Africa, Janne encouraged Noël to speak to the audience.  “He would ask people to listen to the lyrics.  When there was something really specific in the lyrics people like, they’d applaud,” explains Janne.  

Fire, Sweat & Pastis is an energetic statement bursting with the desire to celebrate and share their music. And composer Janne Halonen has crafted a complete journey. An album that knows exactly when to change pace, like stopping to rest your tired feet at just the right moment.  “Interlude Part 1” and “Interlude Part 2” feature thumb-plucked Kalimba, melodic acoustic guitar, rolling Fender Rhodes, galloping hand drumming, and thumping bass in casual conversation with each other.

“Minin Vodjo” opens with light percussion, as Sampo’s buoyant, funky bassline is grounded by Visa Oscar’s sustained keyboard harmonies.  Noël leads the band with his assured verse, singing in counterpoint to the ensemble’s refrain.  Then the horn section comes bounding in, featuring Mikko Pettinen on trumpet and Joakim Berghäll on saxophone. Aided by Sampo and Juha’s interactive bass and drums, the song builds in intensity to the finale like a cresting wave crashing into a rocky shore.

“Light  is fading, the road is long,” sings Noël on the opening track. “Feet are aching, but we carry on.”  On this road, Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble celebrate every step.  Listening to each song on Fire, Sweat & Pastis is like stopping at a sleepy, roadside town, only to discover it is the place you’ve always longed to be.

Event
07/12/2016

07/10/2016, Kitchener, ON, Kultrún Festival , 8:00 PM
06/28/201607/10/2016, Finn-Funky Vodun: Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble Conjure Up Musical Brotherhood on Fire, Sweat and Pastis
Event
07/10/2016
Event
07/10/2016
Concert Start Time
8:00 PM
Venue
Kultrún Festival
Venue St. Address
57 Jubilee Drive
Venue City, State
Kitchener, ON Canada
Venue Zip
N2G
Ticket Price(s)
FREE
Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble releases Fire, Sweat and Pastis and tours Canada in July 2016. Finnish guitarist Janne Halonen was obsessed: He couldn’t stop listening to Lionel Loueke, the guitarist in Herbie Hancock’s ensemble. He knew Loueke was from Benin, and had to know what made his music tick. MORE» More»

Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble releases Fire, Sweat and Pastis and tours Canada in July 2016.

Finnish guitarist Janne Halonen was obsessed: He couldn’t stop listening to Lionel Loueke, the guitarist in Herbie Hancock’s ensemble. He knew Loueke was from Benin, and had to know what made his music tick. 

Before he knew it, his fascination took him to Benin. The country is home to Villa Karo, a Finnish-African cultural center established fifteen years ago to promote exchange by writer Juha Vakkuri, who wanted to spread his passion for the continent. There, Halonen met Noël Saïzonou. The two connected and the unexpectedly perfect Finn funk-meets - Voodoo rhythms of Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble was born.

On Fire, Sweat and Pastis (release: July 7th 2016), the Ensemble’s second album available in North America, the octet of musicians experienced in jazz, funk, R&B, and traditional Beninese music intertwine the percussive rhythms of West African Vodun with funky basslines, soulful call-and-response vocals, and virtuosic brass and woodwind melodies.  They invite listeners to join them on a musical journey that is equal parts celebration and reflection.  

“Every song is a new discovery. It’s about the people, the individuals,” reflects Halonen,. “When you work with someone more, you learn what they’re all about.”

{full story below} 

Travelling to Cotonou, Benin’s most populous city, for the first time in 2009, Janne explains, “I was asking who is The Man? Who should I meet?”  Everyone pointed to vocalist and percussionist Noël Saïzonou. “The first time we met we greeted each other like old friends,” remembers Janne.  What followed was several years of songwriting sessions as Noël came multiple times to Finland. They learned about each other and crafted their sound.

In West African Vodun music, the drum gathers the ancestors, a spiritual call to action. Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble uses drums and bass as their foundation. Originally they were a quartet featuring Janne, Noël, drummer Juha Räsänen, and bassist Sampo Riskilä. Janne explains, “During the writing process we started from scratch. We met up and one of us would introduce a riff and we started to work from there.”  

In 2012, Janne Halonen finally went from Helsinki back to Benin.  A 4,000-mile flight, a flat tire, and a clandestine boat ride led Janne, Juha, and Sampo to a recording studio in Cotonou. Just two weeks later, they performed their new songs for African concert-goers that laid the foundation for Fire, Sweat and Pastis. “We wrote the songs for our second album on tour, between shows,” Janne laughs. “In the heat of the moment.”

Janne describes the origin of “Minin Vodjo”, the album’s third track. “That means do the right thing. Encouraging people to think positively and set aside things like jealousy and hatred.”  

The lyrics are collaborative, Noël composing in Goun, his mother tongue.  Onstage he banters with the audience, playing the role of conductor. While on tour in Africa, Janne encouraged Noël to speak to the audience.  “He would ask people to listen to the lyrics.  When there was something really specific in the lyrics people like, they’d applaud,” explains Janne.  

Fire, Sweat & Pastis is an energetic statement bursting with the desire to celebrate and share their music. And composer Janne Halonen has crafted a complete journey. An album that knows exactly when to change pace, like stopping to rest your tired feet at just the right moment.  “Interlude Part 1” and “Interlude Part 2” feature thumb-plucked Kalimba, melodic acoustic guitar, rolling Fender Rhodes, galloping hand drumming, and thumping bass in casual conversation with each other.

“Minin Vodjo” opens with light percussion, as Sampo’s buoyant, funky bassline is grounded by Visa Oscar’s sustained keyboard harmonies.  Noël leads the band with his assured verse, singing in counterpoint to the ensemble’s refrain.  Then the horn section comes bounding in, featuring Mikko Pettinen on trumpet and Joakim Berghäll on saxophone. Aided by Sampo and Juha’s interactive bass and drums, the song builds in intensity to the finale like a cresting wave crashing into a rocky shore.

“Light  is fading, the road is long,” sings Noël on the opening track. “Feet are aching, but we carry on.”  On this road, Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble celebrate every step.  Listening to each song on Fire, Sweat & Pastis is like stopping at a sleepy, roadside town, only to discover it is the place you’ve always longed to be.

Event
07/10/2016

07/08/2016, London, ON, SunFest, 10:00 PM and 8:30 PM
06/28/201607/08/2016, Finn-Funky Vodun: Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble Conjure Up Musical Brotherhood on Fire, Sweat and Pastis
Event
07/08/2016
Event
07/08/2016
Concert Start Time
10:00 PM and 8:30 PM
Venue
SunFest
Venue St. Address
580 Clarence St
Venue City, State
London, ON Canada
Venue Zip
N6A 3N1
Event Notes
Performing 7/8/16 at 10pm on the Stingray Stage and on 7/9/16 at 8:30pm TD Bandshell stage
Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble releases Fire, Sweat and Pastis and tours Canada in July 2016. Finnish guitarist Janne Halonen was obsessed: He couldn’t stop listening to Lionel Loueke, the guitarist in Herbie Hancock’s ensemble. He knew Loueke was from Benin, and had to know what made his music tick. MORE» More»

Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble releases Fire, Sweat and Pastis and tours Canada in July 2016.

Finnish guitarist Janne Halonen was obsessed: He couldn’t stop listening to Lionel Loueke, the guitarist in Herbie Hancock’s ensemble. He knew Loueke was from Benin, and had to know what made his music tick. 

Before he knew it, his fascination took him to Benin. The country is home to Villa Karo, a Finnish-African cultural center established fifteen years ago to promote exchange by writer Juha Vakkuri, who wanted to spread his passion for the continent. There, Halonen met Noël Saïzonou. The two connected and the unexpectedly perfect Finn funk-meets - Voodoo rhythms of Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble was born.

On Fire, Sweat and Pastis (release: July 7th 2016), the Ensemble’s second album available in North America, the octet of musicians experienced in jazz, funk, R&B, and traditional Beninese music intertwine the percussive rhythms of West African Vodun with funky basslines, soulful call-and-response vocals, and virtuosic brass and woodwind melodies.  They invite listeners to join them on a musical journey that is equal parts celebration and reflection.  

“Every song is a new discovery. It’s about the people, the individuals,” reflects Halonen,. “When you work with someone more, you learn what they’re all about.”

{full story below} 

Travelling to Cotonou, Benin’s most populous city, for the first time in 2009, Janne explains, “I was asking who is The Man? Who should I meet?”  Everyone pointed to vocalist and percussionist Noël Saïzonou. “The first time we met we greeted each other like old friends,” remembers Janne.  What followed was several years of songwriting sessions as Noël came multiple times to Finland. They learned about each other and crafted their sound.

In West African Vodun music, the drum gathers the ancestors, a spiritual call to action. Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble uses drums and bass as their foundation. Originally they were a quartet featuring Janne, Noël, drummer Juha Räsänen, and bassist Sampo Riskilä. Janne explains, “During the writing process we started from scratch. We met up and one of us would introduce a riff and we started to work from there.”  

In 2012, Janne Halonen finally went from Helsinki back to Benin.  A 4,000-mile flight, a flat tire, and a clandestine boat ride led Janne, Juha, and Sampo to a recording studio in Cotonou. Just two weeks later, they performed their new songs for African concert-goers that laid the foundation for Fire, Sweat and Pastis. “We wrote the songs for our second album on tour, between shows,” Janne laughs. “In the heat of the moment.”

Janne describes the origin of “Minin Vodjo”, the album’s third track. “That means do the right thing. Encouraging people to think positively and set aside things like jealousy and hatred.”  

The lyrics are collaborative, Noël composing in Goun, his mother tongue.  Onstage he banters with the audience, playing the role of conductor. While on tour in Africa, Janne encouraged Noël to speak to the audience.  “He would ask people to listen to the lyrics.  When there was something really specific in the lyrics people like, they’d applaud,” explains Janne.  

Fire, Sweat & Pastis is an energetic statement bursting with the desire to celebrate and share their music. And composer Janne Halonen has crafted a complete journey. An album that knows exactly when to change pace, like stopping to rest your tired feet at just the right moment.  “Interlude Part 1” and “Interlude Part 2” feature thumb-plucked Kalimba, melodic acoustic guitar, rolling Fender Rhodes, galloping hand drumming, and thumping bass in casual conversation with each other.

“Minin Vodjo” opens with light percussion, as Sampo’s buoyant, funky bassline is grounded by Visa Oscar’s sustained keyboard harmonies.  Noël leads the band with his assured verse, singing in counterpoint to the ensemble’s refrain.  Then the horn section comes bounding in, featuring Mikko Pettinen on trumpet and Joakim Berghäll on saxophone. Aided by Sampo and Juha’s interactive bass and drums, the song builds in intensity to the finale like a cresting wave crashing into a rocky shore.

“Light  is fading, the road is long,” sings Noël on the opening track. “Feet are aching, but we carry on.”  On this road, Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble celebrate every step.  Listening to each song on Fire, Sweat & Pastis is like stopping at a sleepy, roadside town, only to discover it is the place you’ve always longed to be.

Event
07/08/2016

07/07/2016, Album Release, "Fire, Sweat and Pastis"
06/14/201607/07/2016, Finn-Funky Vodun: Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble Conjure Up Musical Brotherhood on Fire, Sweat and Pastis
Release
07/07/2016
Release
07/07/2016
Release Title
Fire, Sweat and Pastis
Release Format
Album
Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble releases Fire, Sweat and Pastis and tours Canada in July 2016. Finnish guitarist Janne Halonen was obsessed: He couldn’t stop listening to Lionel Loueke, the guitarist in Herbie Hancock’s ensemble. He knew Loueke was from Benin, and had to know what made his music tick. MORE» More»

Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble releases Fire, Sweat and Pastis and tours Canada in July 2016.

Finnish guitarist Janne Halonen was obsessed: He couldn’t stop listening to Lionel Loueke, the guitarist in Herbie Hancock’s ensemble. He knew Loueke was from Benin, and had to know what made his music tick. 

Before he knew it, his fascination took him to Benin. The country is home to Villa Karo, a Finnish-African cultural center established fifteen years ago to promote exchange by writer Juha Vakkuri, who wanted to spread his passion for the continent. There, Halonen met Noël Saïzonou. The two connected and the unexpectedly perfect Finn funk-meets - Voodoo rhythms of Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble was born.

On Fire, Sweat and Pastis (release: July 7th 2016), the Ensemble’s second album available in North America, the octet of musicians experienced in jazz, funk, R&B, and traditional Beninese music intertwine the percussive rhythms of West African Vodun with funky basslines, soulful call-and-response vocals, and virtuosic brass and woodwind melodies.  They invite listeners to join them on a musical journey that is equal parts celebration and reflection.  

“Every song is a new discovery. It’s about the people, the individuals,” reflects Halonen,. “When you work with someone more, you learn what they’re all about.”

{full story below} 

Travelling to Cotonou, Benin’s most populous city, for the first time in 2009, Janne explains, “I was asking who is The Man? Who should I meet?”  Everyone pointed to vocalist and percussionist Noël Saïzonou. “The first time we met we greeted each other like old friends,” remembers Janne.  What followed was several years of songwriting sessions as Noël came multiple times to Finland. They learned about each other and crafted their sound.

In West African Vodun music, the drum gathers the ancestors, a spiritual call to action. Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble uses drums and bass as their foundation. Originally they were a quartet featuring Janne, Noël, drummer Juha Räsänen, and bassist Sampo Riskilä. Janne explains, “During the writing process we started from scratch. We met up and one of us would introduce a riff and we started to work from there.”  

In 2012, Janne Halonen finally went from Helsinki back to Benin.  A 4,000-mile flight, a flat tire, and a clandestine boat ride led Janne, Juha, and Sampo to a recording studio in Cotonou. Just two weeks later, they performed their new songs for African concert-goers that laid the foundation for Fire, Sweat and Pastis. “We wrote the songs for our second album on tour, between shows,” Janne laughs. “In the heat of the moment.”

Janne describes the origin of “Minin Vodjo”, the album’s third track. “That means do the right thing. Encouraging people to think positively and set aside things like jealousy and hatred.”  

The lyrics are collaborative, Noël composing in Goun, his mother tongue.  Onstage he banters with the audience, playing the role of conductor. While on tour in Africa, Janne encouraged Noël to speak to the audience.  “He would ask people to listen to the lyrics.  When there was something really specific in the lyrics people like, they’d applaud,” explains Janne.  

Fire, Sweat & Pastis is an energetic statement bursting with the desire to celebrate and share their music. And composer Janne Halonen has crafted a complete journey. An album that knows exactly when to change pace, like stopping to rest your tired feet at just the right moment.  “Interlude Part 1” and “Interlude Part 2” feature thumb-plucked Kalimba, melodic acoustic guitar, rolling Fender Rhodes, galloping hand drumming, and thumping bass in casual conversation with each other.

“Minin Vodjo” opens with light percussion, as Sampo’s buoyant, funky bassline is grounded by Visa Oscar’s sustained keyboard harmonies.  Noël leads the band with his assured verse, singing in counterpoint to the ensemble’s refrain.  Then the horn section comes bounding in, featuring Mikko Pettinen on trumpet and Joakim Berghäll on saxophone. Aided by Sampo and Juha’s interactive bass and drums, the song builds in intensity to the finale like a cresting wave crashing into a rocky shore.

“Light  is fading, the road is long,” sings Noël on the opening track. “Feet are aching, but we carry on.”  On this road, Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble celebrate every step.  Listening to each song on Fire, Sweat & Pastis is like stopping at a sleepy, roadside town, only to discover it is the place you’ve always longed to be.

Release
07/07/2016