Radio Africa

The Radio Télévision Guinée sound archive


In 2008, 2009 and 2012-2013 I received Major Research Project Awards through the Endangered Archive Programme in partnership with The British Library to archive, digitise and preserve
the Radio Télévision Guinée (RTG) sound archive in Conakry. The archive consisted of thousands of audio reels on 1/4" magnetic tape, u-Matic videos and 24mm film.

9,410 songs were archived, spanning the years from 1960 to 2000, with the bulk recorded between 1967 to 1984 at the height of Guinea's Cultural Revolution.
I have assembled the recordings into a
spreadsheet of the catalogue, which can be sorted by performer, date, song title etc, and also published "A guide to the Syliphone archive", which suggests good places to start exploring the archive's holdings.

The archive is essentially divided into two sections: The Syliphone vinyl discography (songs commencing with the catalogue entry "Syliphone1", e.g. Syliphone1-003-01) and music recorded on 1/4" magnetic tapes which were, in the main, potential Syliphone releases. These songs commence with the catalogue entry Syliphone2, Syliphone3 and Syliphone4 (e.g. Syliphone3-143-02).

Hard copies of the Syliphone1 recordings are available at the Bibliothèque National de Guinée on compact disc format. The entire archival collection is also available there and from the RTG offices, though the RTG limites access to the public.

The collection is also available in the British Library's Reading Room through its Sound and Moving Image Catalogue and (from early 2016) all songs can be accessed through the internet via the British Library Sounds website.

I am indebted to the Endangered Archives Programme which provided the project funding. The first decade of the Endangered Archives Programme's projects was celebrated in the publication From dust to digital: Ten years of the Endangered Archives Programme. The book contains my chapter on the RTG projects - "Music for a revolution: The sound archives of Radio Télévision Guinée" - and the pdf file has 22 songs from the archive embedded and linked to sound files.

Personal reports on each project are also available at these links -
EAP 187: "Syliphone – an early African recording label" (2008) 
EAP 327: "Guinea's Syliphone archives" (2009)
EAP 608: "Guinea's Syliphone archives II" (2012-2013)


The Syliphone archive catalogue

At this web page I will include notes on particular recordings. I also ask for your own input, so if you have something to add which could contribute to the knowledge of a particular recording then please contact me.


Syliphone 2-068 - Orchestre Mamadi Kourouma

As per the hand-written cover of the reel, I archived this recording as "Orchestre Honoré Coppet". Linké Condé, the chef d'orchestre Keletigui et ses Tambourinis, assured me that the orchestra was in fact the "Orchestre Mamadi Kourouma", after the group's alto sax player. I can also add these personnel to the songs:

Syliphone 2-068-01 - Mamadi Kourouma (flute), Linké Condé (guitar), Jean Fanga (drums)

Syliphone 2-068-02 - Mamadi Kourouma (alto sax), Djigui Touré (trumpet)

Syliphone 2-068-03 - Honoré Coppet (1st solo - sax)


Syliphone 3-248 - the Syli Orchestre Nationale
recorded in 1961 or 1962
Syliphone 3-248-01 - Angeline Daffy (vocals), Vieux Sayon Camara (clarinet solo)
Syliphone 3-248-02 - Ahmed N'Diaye (vocals)

Syliphone 3-248-03 - Kerfala "Grand Papa" Diabaté (guitar solo); Djigui Touré, Balla Onivogui and Jack Young (trumpets)
Syliphone 3-248-04 - Honoré Coppet (clarinet solo), Kerfala "Grand Papa" Diabaté (guitar solo)
Syliphone 3-248-05 - Kerfala "Grand Papa" Diabaté (guitar solo)
Syliphone 3-248-06 - Fatou Dokhodi (vocals)

Syliphone 3-248-07 - Fatou Dokhodi (vocals)
Syliphone 3-248-08
- Fatou Dokhodi (vocals)
Syliphone 3-248-09
- Kerfala "Grand Papa" Diabaté (guitar solo)
Syliphone 3-248-10
- Kerfala "Grand Papa" Diabaté (guitar solo)


The "EAP187 - Collection 1" recordings (digital catalogue numbers Syliphone1-001 to Syliphone1-159) refer to the 2008 project whereby the complete Syliphone catalogue was re-created from the vinyl originals.


The "EAP187 - Collection 2" recordings (digital catalogue numbers Syliphone2-001 to Syliphone2-129) refer to the 2008 project which commenced the digitisation of the audio reels held at the RTG.


The "EAP327" recordings (digital catalogue numbers Syliphone3-001 to Syliphone3-335) refer to the 2009 project which continued the digitisation of the audio reels held at the RTG.

The "EAP608" recordings (digital catalogue numbers Syliphone4-001 to Syliphone4-827) refer to the 2012-2013 project which completed the digitisation of the audio reels held at the RTG.