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by World Music Network January 02, 2013


Obituary: Mélomé Clément

Mélomé Clément, aged sixty-seven, passed away following a heart attack on 17 December. He will be greatly missed by audiences around the world. As conductor and saxophonist of Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo, he was a brilliant and highly influential musician.

Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo started their career in 1968, and since their founding, Mélomé Clément managed to keep the group's flame alive by hiring the best musicians around. Having been there from the beginning, Mélomé Clément was still there leading the band through their 2009 revival, when they returned to the front of the local and international art scene.

With Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo back in the spotlight, they went on to bring their stunning combination of funk, soul, and Afrobeat to stages around the world, including in the USA, Canada, Brazil, England, and France. This culminated with Mélomé Clément giving his last concerts this summer in France and Finland, on the same stage as Björk.

Managing for years to avoid succumbing to political changes, and paving the way for other West-African artists to begin international careers, Mélomé Clément and his work with Orchestre Poly-Rhythmo will be sorely missed by the musical community.