They’re aged 13 to 17 ; they live in in two rural villages in southern benin, hlodo and sagon, and they dream of being school teachers, doctors, custom officials, diplomats or artists .They could be your average Benin scoolchildren, but Génération Gogohoun are instead embracing an all singing and dancing future, literally.
Gogohoun is a group of 30 school children who sing and dance about issues they encounter in everyday life such as emigration, AIDS, child labour or unemployment. If it doesn’t sound all that upbeat, wait till you hear them sing ( we dare you not to wiggle, clap or tap ! ) or even speak : « You can do anything with culture, » they’ll tell you. « it’s always difficult with work, but you must never give up.
Their songs are all based on Adja rhythms, ancestral, rhythmic beats used in traditional ceremonies in the Zou and Mono areas…originally called Aglahoun and characterised by its jerky buttock moves, it was adapted as a slightly less raunchy dance and renamed Gogohoun – although women in the villages will be keen to show you how it’s really done !
Génération Gogohoun is the product of not-for- profit Franco- Beninese artists’ group Cacy-Albatros-Tingo Gars, whose aim is to promote a better and fairer society though art. The message is definitely getting through and the Gogohoun write and choreograph all their songs themselves. Professionnal choreographers and stage directors funded by the NGO and occasional grants from international donors help them with the professional finish during school holidays.
In 2008, Génération Gogohoun did their first tour of Bénin and played their show, Fiers d’etre Villageois » ( Proud to Be a villager), in Boukoumbé, Parakou, Lokossa, and the CCF in Cotonou. More tours and shows are planned in 2009 and 2010, grants allowing. Check the website for updates.