Radio Africa

The Radio Télévision Guinée sound archive


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

In partnership with the British Library - and in Guinea with the Ministère de la Culture des Arts et Loisirs, the Ministère de la Communication, Radio Télévision Guinée staff, and many musicians - 9,410 songs were archived, preserved and digitised in the project "The Syliphone archive". The collection consists of over 55,000 minutes of recordings of Guinean music from 1960 to 2000, with the bulk of the material recorded between 1967 and 1984, at the height of Guinea's Cultural Revolution.

I have assembled the archived recordings into a spreadsheet of the catalogue, which can be sorted by performer, date, song title etc. I have also published "A guide to the Syliphone archive", which provides background and suggested starting points to explore the collection.

The archived materials form two sections:
 - the Syliphone vinyl recordings, digistised, which commence with the catalogue entry "Syliphone1" (for example, Syliphone1-003-01), and
 - the music from 1/4" magnetic tapes, which were, in the main, recorded in the Voix de la Révolution studios and were potential Syliphone vinyl releases. These songs commence with the catalogue entry "Syliphone2", "Syliphone3" and "Syliphone4" (for example, Syliphone3-143-02).

Hard copies of the Syliphone1 recordings (all Syliphone vinyl pressings) are available at the Bibliothèque National de Guinée on compact disc format. The entire archival collection is  also available there on digital format, and also at the RTG offices, upon request (via the Ministry of Communication).

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


I express my gratitude to the Endangered Archives Programme for providing the project funding, and to all agencies, their staff, musicians and friends for making the project possible.

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 sound archive projects - "Music for a revolution: The sound archives of Radio Télévision Guinée", and it features embedded links to 22 songs from the archival collection which can be accessesd via YouTube or personal computer.



The Syliphone archive catalogue

Click on the link above to access an Excel spreadsheet of the catalogue of "The Syliphone archive". It includes personal notes on particular recordings. some of which are below.


I also ask for your own input, so if you have something to add to the catalogue which could contribute to the knowledge of a particular recording or artist, then please contact me.


Updates to the Excel spreadsheet of the catalogue of "The Syliphone archive":


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,

   indicated that the orchestra was in fact the "Orchestre Mamadi Kourouma", named 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 sound archive.


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 sound archive.

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 sound archive.