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Gnonnas Pedro (1943-2004)
(Benin)
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Gnonnas Pedro has been one of those grand old men in African music. He has been known as one of the best salseros of Africa, and he had several hits popular all over (francophone) Africa, such as « Dadjè von o von non », « Azo Nkplondoun Ndé », « La Musica en vérité » and « Irma Koï ».
Originating from Lokossa in the South-West of Benin, he has also modernised agbadja music, the music of his native region. In the mid-1960s, he created his first band Pedro y Sus Panchos, he sung with Orchestre Poly-Rythmo during the early 1970s, and continued with Ses Dadjes as his own group again. Gnonnas recorded albums regularly until 1985, after which a periode of relative calm started. His stardom rose again after he was asked to replace Pape Seck in Africando in 1996. With Africando he recorded a few of his old hits such as « Irma Koï », the songs he composed and sung for Africando were successful. He loved the stage and was a gifted dancer. In recent years, his own work became more available after the release of a few CD compilations.

Towards the end of 2003, health problems occurred and the terrible diagnosis of prostate cancer would remain known only to few close friends, Gnonnas didn't want the world to know. Even few months before his death, he participated in Africando's world tour and danced as ever before. A North American tour planned for August 2004 had to be cancelled though, due to his illness. After three surgeries in 2004, the doctors finally gave up on 7 August. Gnonnas wanted to be with his family and returned to Cotonou on 11 August, where he died a day later.


Born: 10 January 1943, in Cotonou, as Gnonnas Sousou Pierre Kwasivi. Died 12 August 2004 in Cotonou.

Style: afro-salsa, agbadja, highlife.





Discography:

Title Year Label Remarks
The Best of Gnonnas Pedro 2003 African Songs CDAS89715 CD
Irma Koi 2000 Sono CDS7070 CD, compilation of SYL 8302 & SYL 8311
Agbadja 1999 Syllart SYL9657 CD
La Compilation - Musique Afro-Cubaine Vol.2 1999 Ledoux/Mélodie 79560-2 CD
La Compilation - Musique Afro-Cubaine Vol.1 1999 Ledoux/Mélodie 79556-2 CD
Les femmes d'abord 1985 Syllart SYL 8311 LP - with ses Djadjes
Mimi Pinson 1982 Syllart SYL 8302 LP - with ses Djadjes
Sweet Combine 198? EGK LP
El Cochechivo 1981 Ledoux Records ASL 7031 LP
Salsa 1981 Ledoux Records ASL 7022 LP
Atimawuin dagamasi 1980 Ledoux Records ASL 7010 LP, French reissue of the Discostock LP
La musica en verité 1980 Ledoux Records ASL 7009 LP, reissue of Kalapchap
I feel alright 1980 World Wide Music 4L Gnonnas Pedro and his Dadjes Band
African Discotheque Kalapchap 1979 World Wide Music 1L Gnonnas Pedro and his Dadjes Band
Gnonnas Pedro 1979 Disco Stock LP, Ivorian pressing, compilation of Nigerian recordings
La combinacion de Gnonnas Pedro 1978 Ledoux Records ASL 7003 Gnonnas Pedro & his Djadjes vol. 4
Africa Tei Cuba 197? Editions Gnoinsope
The band of Africa: Vol. 3 1977 African Songs ltd AS62-L Gnonnas Pedro and his Dadjes Band
The band of Africa: Vol. 2 1976 African Songs ltd AS52-L Gnonnas Pedro and his Dadjes Band
The band of Africa: Vol. 1 1975 African Songs ltd AS42-L Gnonnas Pedro and his Dadjes Band


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