Radio Africa

African classics: Syliphone SLP 29


Reviews of classic recordings from Africa


As with Syliphone SLP 28, "L'arbre eternel", this LP illuminates a dark period in Guinea's history. On the 22nd of November 1970 a naval force invaded Conakry.  It was led by Portuguese soldiers and included Guinea Bissauan infantry and exiled Guineans. Their attack on the Presidential palace and attempted coup failed, with most of the invading force either killed or taken prisoner by locals. A military trial was held with many of the insurgents receiving death sentences. 91 of the prisoners were publicly hanged in Guinea's major towns and capital city. The events of November 22 galvanised Guineans, with the date giving rise to the orchestra "22 Band de Kankan".

On Syliphone LP 29 the Ensemble Instrumental et Choral de la Radiodiffusion Nationale perform "Victoire a la révolution", a song which honours the Parti Démocratique de Guinée, Guinea's ruling party. Kouyaté Sory Kandia also leads the group in a performance of "Sur le grande route". President Touré's poem "Adieu les traitres", written a few weeks before the sentences were carried out, is on the back cover of the LP. The final stanza reads:

  Goodbye stateless ones, goodbye renegades! 
  Of your dreams, the knell has sounded 
  Which consecrates our bright victory. 
  The Revolution is triumphant 
  In galvanizing the mass population. 
  It is the total failure of the torturers 
  It is the total victory of the anti-colonialist front. 
  Goodbye, goodbye traitors, goodbye opportunists! 
  Welcome to the tomb of the imperialists!


Graeme Counsel © Copyright