Radio Africa
Music
Rare recordings from the vaults

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Orchestre National de Mauritanie    
circa 1969

1 - Saraba (Talla Amadou Diané, Wolof)
2 - Polel siery (Souleymane Koné, Fulfuldé)
3 - Oumletna (Mohamed O. Nigdhei, Hassaniya)
4 - Soyna mousso (Talla Amadou Diané, Soninké)
5 - Analé (Talla Amadou Diané, Fulfuldé
)

Click here and here for full videos of the
orchestra and here for compact disc releases
          In the 1960s and 1970s many African governments supported a national orchestra which featured the nation's top musicians. The groups were tasked with presenting repertoires of indigenous music within a modern performance setting. Borrowing from local and regional music traditions, the musicians transposed melodies to western instrumentation and contextualised lyrics and proverbs for the edification of contemporary audiences. These groups were emblematic of a nation's aspirations to promote unity through national culture while demonstrating the possibilities of new African musical styles. The role of the orchestras was significant: they were not only the voice of the state, delivering the government’s initiatives and policies through their music, but were also trend-setters in terms of culture and fashion. Their roles in developing and introducing new styles of popular African music were significant.

In the late 1960s the Mauritanian government sent their newly formed national orchestra to Guinea, where they received training from Guinea's elite musicians. Under President Sékou Touré, Guinea had pioneered the transformation of indigenous music through the cultural policy of authenticité, which was realised through funding for national annual arts competitions, the esstablishment of the Syliphone recording label, and the creation of hundreds of modern orchestras, dance troupes, theatrical groups and traditional musical ensembles throughout the nation.

These songs come from the Orchestre National de Mauritanie’s first recording session, at the Voix de la Révolution studios in Conakry. My research indicates that a second session of material was also recorded, but appears lost.

~~~~~

S. E. Rogie    
June 16 1966

1 - Miatta banya
2 - Nyaa
3 - Long live Tubman
4 - Nor look me leck datt
5 - Too many women
6 -
The secrets of Banja Tejan-sie
7 - People pikin
Here is the star of Sierra Leonean music, Sooliman Ernest Rogers, aka S. E. Rogie, recorded in Conakry in 1966. His deep country music influences are apparent on the excellent collection of his material "Palm wine guitar music: The 60s sounds", released by Cooking Vinyl. Here, however, they are much plainer and starker. "Too many women" is a stand-out, with strong blues and country idioms present.

In the 1960s many musicians toured Conakry, capital of Guinea. Sékou Touré's government was the poster-child for pan-Africanism in the region, and USA jazz musicians, Ghanaian highlife bands, ensembles from Eastern bloc nations, and many others performed for local audiences. Some of these touring artists were even recorded for Syliphone, the Guinean state-owned recording label, such as the African Khalam Orchestra, who hailed from Senegal. These recordings by S E Rogie also hail from the vaults of the Guinean archives.

~~~~~
Lalo Keba Dramé
No date  
  

1 - Jula jekeré
2 - no title
3 - Sunkariba
4 - no title
5 - Jimbasengo
6 - no title
7 - Satan madi ("Yasiminko")
Lalo Keba Dramé was born in 1926 near Kiang, a small town approximately 50km west of Banjul, The Gambia. One of the greatest kora players, he performed at the first Conference of Mande Studies in 1972. These songs featured here were recorded in Conakry.

A short biography is located at http://chantshistoiremande.free.fr/Html/lalo_keba_drame_disco.php#top1
and http://www.au-senegal.com/memorial-lalo-keba-drame,9875.html?lang=fr.

~~~~~
l'Orchestre National "B" de la République du Mali    
circa 1970

1 - no title
2 - no title
3 - no title
4 - no title
5 - no title
In the 1960s and 1970s many African nations supported a national orchestra who were tasked with presenting repertoires of "modern" African music. Borrowing from indigenous music and transposing the melodies to western instrumentation, these groups were emblematic of the nation's aspirations to promote unity through national culture while demonstrating the possibilities of new African musical styles.

The Republic of Mali created l'Orchestre National "A" de la République du Mali the day after independence, in 1960. How many nations in the world would have prioritised such a decision? The group's only official recording (by Radio Mali) was in 1970 for the  Barenreïter-Musicaphon label.

State sponsorship of orchestras in West Africa inevitably resulted in large ensembles. Guinea's Syli Orchestre National, for example, were split into two orchestras just five years after their creation, becoming Keletigui et ses Tambourinis and Balla et ses Balladins. In Mali, a second national orchestra was created, and later a third. Hence, the orchestras were named as formations A, B and C.

Presented here are very rare recordings by l'Orchestre National "B" de la République du Mali, who would later become l'Orchestre National Badema. The personnel included Ades Traoré (chef d'orchestre), Kassemady Diabaté (vocals), Madou "Guitare" Sangaré (lead guitar), and Boubacar Diallo (rhythm guitar).


Further information is at http://www.radioafrica.com.au/Discographies/Mali_Orchs.html.
 
~~~~~

Soundioulou Cissokho

1 Soundioulou Cissokho & Sidikiba Sékou Diabaté - Lamban

2 Soundioulou Cissokho, Sidikiba Sékou Diabaté & Maïmouna Galissa Kouyaté - Alalaké
3 Soundioulou Cissokho & Maïmouna Galissa Kouyaté - Mariama (1967)
4 Soundioulou Cissokho & Batrou Sékou Kouyaté - solo de kora (no date)

5 Soundioulou Cissokho & Batrou Sékou Kouyaté - solo de kora (
no date)

6 Soundioulou Cissokho & Batrou Sékou Kouyaté - solo de kora (
no date)

7 Soundioulou Cissokho & Batrou Sékou Kouyaté - solo de kora (
no date)

8 Soundioulou Cissokho & Batrou Sékou Kouyaté - solo de kora (
no date)

9 Soundioulou Cissokho & Batrou Sékou Kouyaté - solo de kora (
no date)

10 Soundioulou Cissokho & Batrou Sékou Kouyaté - No title (1986)

11 Soundioulou Cissokho & Batrou Sékou Kouyaté - No title (1986)

12 Soundioulou Cissokho & Batrou Sékou Kouyaté - No title (1986)


13 Soundioulou Cissokho & Batrou Sékou Kouyaté - No title (1986)

14 Soundioulou Cissokho & Batrou Sékou Kouyaté - No title (1986)

15 Soundioulou Cissokho & Batrou Sékou Kouyaté - No title (1986)

16 Soundioulou Cissokho - 1
17 Soundioulou Cissokho - 2

18 Soundioulou Cissokho - 3
19 Soundioulou Cissokho - 4
20 Soundioulou Cissokho - 5


Soundioulou Cissokho was born in Ziguinchor, Senegal. A master musician, he attained the title of "The king of the kora", and recorded several LPs including one for the N'Dardisc label.

A biography has been published by Josée Lapeyrère: "Soundioulou Cissokho - King of the kora" (Allalaké - Dakar, 2000), with further information on his life is available at http://chantshistoiremande.free.fr/Html/soundioulou_cissokho2.php/a.com.

Track 3 has an interesting introduction by the Radio Guinée announcer and, along with track 2, represents a rare recording of Maïmouna Galissa Kouyaté, one of Soundioulou's wives. He was more widely recorded with another wife, Mahawa Kouyaté.

Tracks 16-20 appear to be from a different recording session from that of tracks 10-15, yet were on the same tape.
 
I don't have all of Soundioulou's recordings, so some tracks here may have been commercially released.




~~~~~~

Kani Soumano
August 2 1977

1 Soundiata
2 Lamban
3 Kaïra
4 Toutou diarra


              Kani Soumano - "la Grande Cantatrice de Gambie" - was a favourite of former Gambian president Dawda Jawara. She is accompanied here by l'Ensemble Instrumental de la RV, which is likely l'Ensemble Instrumental de la RTG, as the tracks presented here were recorded in Conakry at the Radio Television Guinee (RTG) studios. These songs represent Soumano's only known recordings, with the exception of one track, "Kura", which appeared on Jali Nyama Suso's "Gambie. L'art de la kora", where she is accompanied by her husband, Abdulai Samba, on konting.

From left to right: Kani Soumano, Nyama Suso, Abdulai Samba. Photo courtesy of Roderic Knight (1970).