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El Rego

Pioneering Benin funk and soul musician Théophile Do-Rego, known to most as “El Rego,” was born on May 3, 1936 in Porto-Novo, Dahomey. He began his career in music in Burkina Faso as a member of the L’Harmonie Voltaique orchestra. After returning to Dahomey (now Benin) in 1961, Rego formed his first band, La Filda, and then formed his definitive unit, the Commandos, five years later in 1966. Drawing on hard R&B, soul, and funk, Rego & the Commandos blended these American forms with rumba trappings, Latin percussion, wah-wah guitar, a whole lot of wild accordion, thick basslines, and traditional tribal rhythms to form the musical template that many African bands would follow in ensuing years. In all, Rego and his bands produced some eight SPs (a 7” format), four LPs, four cassette tape albums, and five CDs, and of course played countless dances, concerts, and clubs during a 50-year run. In 2011 Daptone Records released El Rego, which collected a dozen of Rego's best 45s from the mid-'60s to the early '70s, as selected by Afro-soul collector and DJ Frank Gossner. ~ Steve Leggett
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