Filed Under (Beninese culture, General, Sound Clips) by Rob on 30-08-2007

Last night’s veillée continued until the early hours. The ‘service’ part ended around 11:00pm, then some folk left and others sat around in small groups up and down the road, chatting. The live band stopped at this point, and was replaced by canned music – Catholic chant sort of stuff, of a vaguely Taizé-esque nature. This music continued until about 4:00am. Then, at 6:00am, we woke with a start as a brass band was playing outside our door!!! The herse was here and the band was heralding its arrival (couldn’t it have arrived late like many things here do?!?) Interesting music, though, of Cuban influence, I’m told (a throw back to Benin’s communist days). There were renditions of ‘What a friend we have in Jesus’, ‘Nearer my God to thee’ and other similar tunes. (NB I was hoping to add YouTube video of this, but dial-up internet too slow at the moment!) Music of various kinds continued all day, and the brass band returned early evening. Here’s what they sounded like:

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Whilst I realize it is a privilege to be so closely associated with the riches of African culture, I’d feel better with a few more hours undisturbed kip! Not to worry – after all T.I.A.

3 Comments posted on "The African funeral (continued…)"
Big Al & MrsT on August 30th, 2007 at 9:18 pm #

Fascinating. Does everyone go off to work during the day then come back at night or do they take the time off their jobs? Presumably today was the last day and the final part of the funeral has happened and you will be able to get some sleep tonight – hope so!
love from

Rob on August 31st, 2007 at 3:06 pm #

Hi Claudia,

the busiest times were evenings, so I guess most folk still worked, but those who are retired or have the time could ‘hang out’ during the day. Yes, lastnight was lovely and quiet and they’re taking down the tarpaulin as I write!

Caroline Hewlett on August 31st, 2007 at 9:07 pm #

We have a lot of people at Swaledale funerals – I did one where 600 people turned up (only 1200 live here!) They go on all day too, but with lots of food, rather than music. We have 2 brass bands, but they don’t tend to play at funerals!
I am sure this place is an outpost of Africa…