The recording industry in Togo

In Togo, the music industry is still in its infancy. Few Togolese artists have positioned themselves on the international music scene despite the numerous local talents. The new generation of music promoters is, however, active in boosting the professionalization of the industry.

Karlos Danklou in his studio/ Source: All That Production Facebook page
Karlos Danklou in his studio/ Source: All That Production Facebook page

The Togolese music industry has been associated with the Disques Akue label since the 1960s. The label belongs to Gérard Akueson, former instrumentalist (drummer) who became a manager, then producer as well as the first African to open a record company in France in 1962.

His studio hosted the Togolese diva Bella Bellow and the famous Beninese GG Vikey. The label was renamed Bade Stars Music in1982 and Akueson Worldwide in 1994 and has been managed by Gérard Akueson's son since 2011.

Labels and promoters

There was a lack of professional producers for many years in Togo. The country does not have adequate structures to invest in the career of artists. Those that do invest are generally relatives or close friends without much knowledge of showbiz.

Poq Industrie

Poq Industrie is a media production label. Its team is made up of composers, directors, scenographers, film and art directors. Based in Adidogomé ( the southwest suburb of Lomé), the label is managed by Kareem Malaïka and launched several Togolese artists namely the young Papou from the Elinam band and Keeli. (1)

Armel Production

Armel Production is a top production house for hip-hop artists. Its very first experience in the industry was a real success. Prince Mo, who signed with the label in 2015, won Best Hip Hop Artist at the All Music Award, the most prestigious Togo award ceremony, in the same year. Armel Production also works with Fuga Boy and Cyntish, two rising stars of Togolese rap. (2)

Fanga Music

Fanga Music is one of the rare Togolese production houses which propel Togolese artists on the international market. Almok, the top female artist of Togo is one of the most successful achievements of the production house, established in 2004 by Tamandja Akim Toutou.

Fanga Music manages almost all the stages of music production (production/coproduction, management, booking, partnerships and concerts, festivals, tours, promotion, shows, planning and career management, press attaché, edition and distribution, studio/live recording and programming, merchandising, legal advice, audio creation: music composition, video and advertising, corporate films, background music for websites...).The label also accompanies stand-up comedians and urban music singers. Omar B, 109 Connexion, Almok, Dub N Flezz, Kanoman, Gbadagog, Folo, Blaise and Daouda le sentimental have all worked with Fanga Music. (3)

All That Production

All That production  is a media house and sound engineering training centre. The label, based in Adigome, has composed, arranged and produced several songs of famous Togolese artists like Toto Patrick and Mirlinda, the faces of zouk dance in Togo.

Senza, the former member of The Seed band who began a promising solo career, and Naida Sambo, winner of the first edition of 228 T factor, the biggest TV musical event of Togo. (4)

Malick Ayeva

Malick Ayeva, a cultural promoter, prefers to be called ‘a talent digger’. His agency Cap 2000 was awarded best music promotion label in 2000 at the first edition of the Togo Music Awards.

Behind the scenes, the business and marketing graduate helped several Togolese artists such as the lateJulie Akofa Akoussah, Monia Tchangai, Ali Bawa, Renya, Mirlinda, Charl’ozzo, Toto Patrick, Yawo Attivor and Samuel Zimba Junior. Today, Ayeva manages Vivamalix, providing support to young entrepreneurs.

Recording studios

In Togo, the popularity of recording studios generally depends on the reputation of its arrangers. Rovers Record is a popular studio managed by the arranger Joël Wandène Kombate nicknamed Joël Azetor (Joël the wizard). He has collaborated with many prestigious Togolese artists like King Mensah, Adjo' a Sika, Bibish Mola, Jey Liba band and Shalom Voice among others. (5)

All That Production is also known for its mastering of live and studio recording. Equipped with the latest technology, the studio owned by the young talented arranger and sound engineer Karlos Danklou hostedToto Patrick, Senza, Mirlinda, Naida Sambo and KRM.

Several studios specialize in specific music genres. Filozofik Music managed by the arranger and beat maker Parfait Avossé, works exclusively with rappers. The kings of Togolese hip-hop music, Mic Flammez and Prince Mo, both signed with the studio.

Koreg Recordsspecializes in the recording of religious songs. The studio team collaborates with many Togolese gospel artists like GuiRodrigue, Precious, Vaida and Erno(Horn of Praise).

Tubland Record,created by Toofan, focuses on Afropop music. Its arranger Master Just worked on several songs of the band and those of the female artist Almok. Tubland Record is based in the heart of Lomé in the district of Tokoin.

Other noteworthy studios include Lumumba Studio, Blaxound, Everlast Musik and Colibri.

Despite the determination, the Togolese music industry faces many challenges.Piracy, increased by the development ofICT is far from being policed by the Togolese authorities. The lack of a proper distribution channel is another issue. The environment discouragesinvestments into the industry.
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(1) poqindustrie.com
(2) https://www.facebook.com/Armel-Production-642366842532996/?fref=ts)
(3) Fanga-Music-Officiel-252818068137255/?fref=ts )
(4) www.facebook.com/allthatprod/?fref=ts )
(5) https://www.facebook.com/allthatprod/?fref=ts

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