Radio Africa

Métoura Traoré 1938-2021
- in memoriam

 Nabi Camara, Métoura "Papa paya-paya" Traoré, Yepe Traoré.
Syliphone 45 rpm, SYL561.

Métoura "Papa paya-paya" Traoré
has passed away. He died in Conakry on 11 April 2021.

In 1960, Métoura was a founding member of Milo Jazz, a popular orchestra in his home town of Kankan that took its name from the Milo river, a tributary of the Niger. In the early 1960s the band renamed itself as "Horoya Jazz" and then as the "Horoya Band". "Horoya" is a Maninka word for "freedom", indeed Guinea's newspaper during the Sékou Touré era was of the same name. The Horoya Band won the best orchestra prize at the 1967, 1968 and 1971 Quinzaine Artistiques. They were thus nationalised on 7 December 1971, and became Horoya Band National. They toured China, Russia, the Philipines and Cuba.

Métoura "Papa paya-paya" Traoré was the chef d'orchestre from the group's inception to his retirement in the late 1990s, due to poor health. Métoura's tenor sax was inventive and drove the Horoya Band's strong Mandé roots. Lamine Camara took over the leadership of the group in the 2000s and he continues to keep the musicians together though the orchestra lacks full instrumentation.

Métoura was one of the first Guinean musicians I met. I used to visit him at his house in Kaporo, which was high on a hilltop overlooking the ocean. He was most friendly and helpful, and gave me a lot of confidence to continue my research. I am very grateful for his patience and hospitality. He had a good sense of humour, too, and often ended his sentences with a little chuckle. That's how I remember him, a gentleman who was kind and generous.

My condolescences to his family and friends, and ma
y he rest in peace.

 Here is a video of Métoura "Papa paya-paya" Traoré performing Djalabati with the Horoya Band.