The idea of organizing a Finnish-African night first saw the daylight during another project of filming a documentary of a famous Beninese musician, Gnonnas Pedro, and his son, Gil Gnonnas.
Gnonnas Pedro was very popular in Benin and performed more than once in the Villa Karo, already at the opening concert. He became famous for his group Africando which regrouped well-known African artists playing salsa from several places, such as Guinea, Senegal and Benin. The music of Africando was a blend of the main regional rhythms of the Mono-Couffo (from Grand-Popo to Lokossa) and modern instruments. Gnonnas Pedro was called maestro for his work and talent in arranging Africando’s music and the main creator of Agbadja World Beat System.
According to Georges Agbazahou, who is filming the documentary, it is almost as if the father is born again in the son, and the documentary film is a homage for the father and the son. For this documentary in question a team consisting of Georges, Gil, Antti Sundberg (who was in residence in Villa Karo and in charge of filming) and the Villa Karo CIMO trainee Taru took off on a Sunday to the town of Lokossa in which Gnonnas Pedro’s house, which has now been turned into a museum, is located.
After passing the day together the idea of continuing the Finnish-African collaboration in the form of a musical get-together and concert event was put forward as Gil Gnonnas and his band play as residents in a cultural corner and bar in Cotonou called Yes Papa. This was seen as possible win-win situation in giving variety to Yes Papa’s concerts and offerings and on the side of the Villa Karo in increasing its sphere of influence as well as people’s awareness of its existence even outside of Grand-Popo. The aim was to create a new tradition for mutual benefit and hopefully increasing the possibilities of Finnish residing artists to create contacts during their stay in the Villa Karo.