The Star Feminine Band formed in 2016. The members are seven girls from Natitingou, Benin, aged between 10 and 17. They responded to a local radio call to take part in music training sessions.
The Star Feminine Band
When the girl group started four years ago, they had no music training.
Nor did they own any musical instrument.
All this changed when they started training under a local musician, André Balaguemon. He wanted to put together a female band that took on women’s problems. He says, “Girls have no opportunities to get ahead. I just wanted to show how important women are in the society of North Benin by founding a female orchestra.
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The Star Feminine Band and André Balaguemon.
André Balaguemon taught the band members to play the guitar, drums, and keyboards. The mayor of their city gave the girls a studio where they could rehearse regularly. They got started right away. The band made fast progress in the intensive workshops and rehearsals. The following line-up emerged:
Angelique and Urrice play the drum and sing.
Marguerite plays the drum.
Sandrine plays the electric piano.
Grace plays the electric piano and sings.
Julienne plays the bass guitar.
Anne plays the guitar.
The song “Femme Africaine” uniquely combines many African musical styles. It calls out to African women to be powerful and become independent.
Femme Africaine is French for “African woman”.
The band sings:
“Oh black woman, get up, don't sleep
You can become, president of the republic
You can become, prime minister of the country
Get up, something must be done”
(Lyrics translated from French)
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The Star Feminine Band members:
Marguerite, Julienne, Grace, Urrice, Angélique, Anne, and Sandrine.
The girls rehearse several times a week and continue to attend school. The band has now played at dozens of concerts in the region. They have many local fans, including women, parents of young children, and the elderly.
The Star Feminine Band's lyrics are not only in French, but also in Waama and Ditamari languages from the north of Benin. The girls sing in Bariba and Fon, too, which are the main languages of Benin. Singing in more than one language helps more people understand them, André Balaguemon says. He composes the songs but all seven band members bring their own ideas.
The Star Feminine Band joined Born Bad Records after the label founder Jean-Baptiste Guillot heard their music. They recorded the first songs of their album in the extension of a museum in Natitingou.
The album Star Feminine Band.
Buy the music album Star Feminine Band on Bandcamp.
Follow Star Feminine Band on Instagram: @starfeminineband