Radio Africa

Horoya Band National - live in Conakry 1978
Graeme Counsel  © Copyright

Made for Yugoslavian television as part of the series “Africa: between yesterday and tomorrow”, here is Kankan’s famous group, the Horoya Band National. It represents a very rare example of one of the great Guinean orchestras recorded in concert during the Sékou Touré era.

Originally named "Milo Jazz", after the tributary of the Niger river which runs through Kankan, the orchestra were formed in 1960. Shortly thereafter they changed their name to the "Horoya Band" to reflect the new climate of the independence era. "Horoya" means "freedom" in the local Maninka language. The Horoya Band commenced recording for Guinea's Syliphone recording label in the mid 1960s. They won the best orchestra prize at Guinea's Arts Festivals in 1967, 1968 and 1971, and were bestowed the title of “National” orchestra in December 1971. They were one of only seven orchestras to receive this honour during Guinea’s 1st Republic (1958-1984).

The Horoya Band National recorded extensively for the Syliphone label and toured Russia, Cuba, China and the Philippines. Here the group are performing in Conakry, at their venue “la Minière”.

I was fortunate to meet and interview
Métoura Traoré, the chef d'orchestre of the Horoya Band, whose encouragement and knowledge set me forth on my journey. Later, I met Lamine Camara, the orchestra's conga player and now chef d'orchestre, whose efforts to keep the group going are applauded.

A discography of the Horoya Band National is found within the
Syliphone discography.

Horoya Band National
Live in Conakry, 1978