Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble

In january 2012 three musicians from Helsinki, Finland followed their dream and travelled to Benin, West-Africa. They hooked up with virtuoso singer/percussionist Noël Saïzonou, called up the best musicians from Cotonou, and so was Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble born.
During the period of six weeks, the group went through some incredible adventures in the homeland of Voodoo, rehearsed daily, played three shows and recorded an album. Later the album was completed and mixed in Finland, and it's release on May 7th 2013 was followed by a tour of 19 concerts in Finland’s major festivals.

HCE's music is all written by the band's guitarist Janne Halonen and percussionist/ lead vocalist Noël Saïzonou. The writing process started as early as 2009, when Halonen first travelled to Benin to learn the traditional rhythms of Voodoo. For three years Halonen and Saïzonou bounced ideas and searched for the right people for their project.
When Saïzonou visited Finland in 2011, drummer Juha Räsänen and bassist Sampo Riskilä joined the project. The quartet became the core of HCE, and it was to be strengthened with local super musicians, whether the band operated on European or African soil. The current line up of HCE is listed below.

Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble impresses it's listener not only with intense moods and joyful yet virtuoso performances, but also with fresh and carefully crafted songwriting. As composers Saïzonou and Halonen are enough far apart to make the cocktail something completely new, yet they both possess enough musicianship to complement each other's works.

Like fRoots magazine put it in their review: "Weather Report meets Fela, you might say. They are good enough."

Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble's Live line-up:

Noël Saïzonou (aka Noel Saizonou) - vocals,percussion
Janne Halonen - guitar, vocals
Sampo Riskilä - bass Juha Räsänen - drums
Menard Mponda -percussion,vocals
Visa Oscar - keyboards
Joakim Berghäll - saxophones,vocals
Mikko Pettinen - trumpet,vocals


Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble Discography Tracks


NPMO1 Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble - Beaucoup De Piment! album art Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble Beaucoup De Piment!(CD, Album) Osuuskunta No Problem! Music NPMO1 Finland 2013 Sell This Version
Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble - Fire, Sweat & Pastis album art Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble Fire, Sweat & Pastis (Album) Osuuskunta No Problem! Music Finland 2014 Sell This Version
NPM03 Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble - The Road Is Long - Live At Savoy Theatre album art Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble The Road Is Long - Live At Savoy Theatre(LP, Album) Osuuskunta No Problem! Music NPM03 Finland 2016 Sell This Version


889211008018 Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble - Djigbo album art Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble Djigbo(File, AAC, MP3, WAV) Osuuskunta No Problem! 889211008018 Finland 2014