has been one of those grand old men in African music. He has been known
as one of the best salseros of Africa, and he had several hits popular all over (francophone) Africa, such as
« Dadjè von o von non »
« Azo Nkplondoun Ndé »
« La Musica en vérité »
« Irma Koï »
Originating from Lokossa in the South-West of Benin, he has also modernised agbadja music, the music of his native region.
In the mid-1960s, he created his first band Pedro y Sus Panchos
, he sung with
during the early 1970s, and continued with
as his own group again. Gnonnas recorded albums regularly until 1985, after which a periode of
relative calm started. His stardom rose again after he was asked to replace Pape Seck
With Africando he recorded a few of his old hits such as « Irma Koï »
the songs he composed and sung for Africando were successful. He loved the stage and was a gifted dancer. In recent years,
his own work became available again after the release of a few CD compilations.
Towards the end of 2003, health problems occurred and the terrible diagnosis of prostate cancer would remain
known only to few close friends, Gnonnas didn't want the world to know. Even few months before his death, he participated
in Africando's world tour and danced as ever before. A North American tour planned for August 2004 had to be cancelled
though, due to his illness. After three surgeries in 2004, the doctors finally gave up on 7 August. Gnonnas
wanted to be with his family and returned to Cotonou on 11 August, where he died a day later.