LAURENT HOUNSAVI is a singer whose remarkable voice and uplifting style have rocked fans throughout the world. He was born in the West African nation of Benin—homeland of the Yoruba, Dahomey (Fon) and Goun, among others, whose rhythms were transplanted during slavery to the European colonies such as Cuba, Haiti and Brazil.
Hounsavi began his singing career in Cotonou, Benin at the age of 7. He then went on to win several accolades including the Red Cross Prize and the title of Best Young Talent in 1989, at age 15 in his homeland. The ambitious Hounsavi ventured to Paris in 1990 to pursue his studies, and in the process performed on a regular basis in the Underground, bars and cafés to make ends meet, singing trendy songs of Bob Marley, Roberto Torres or Georges Brassens. His hard work eventually paid off. His first single, “Te garder,” released in 2000 won over the French public with thousands of copies moved in few months.
That same year the Cotonou-born star’s performance at Benin's famous "Stade de l'Amitié” drew a crowd of nearly 50,000. Hounsavi's debut album, “Paris-Cubano,” has continued to receive critical acclaim since its release in 2004. With lyrics in several Beninese languages (Fon, Yoruba, Goun), as well as Spanish and French, the African crooner has featured in various international music festivals, sharing the stage with some of the greatest legends and famous groups of African and Afro-Latin music, including Seun and Femi Kuti, Manu Dibango, Salif Keita, Koffi Olomide, Ernesto “Tito” Puente, Africando, Orquesta Aragón of Cuba, and Kassav’—to name but a few… His songs are regularly played on radio programs and have been marketed in more than 100 countries throughout Europe, the US, Africa and Asia.