Radio Africa

Syli Orchestre National: "Sékou Touré l'histoire de Guinée tu sera reconnaissante"
Graeme Counsel  © Copyright

A few years ago I was sent a rare LP, "République de Guinée. Un peuple une musique. Volume 1", issued by the Guinean government in circa 1964/1965, pre-Syliphone. A collection of early Guinean orchestras, its disc label featured an icon of "M 33" (see below) with a matrix number of "12-1003". No recording label was apparent. More recently I received a copy of the ultra rare "Dansons à Conakry!" with the same disc label and a matrix number of "12-1002". This "M 33" icon was thus a clue, and it is also found on the disc labels of "Les Ballets Africains de la République de Guinée. A chaque peuple, sa culture. Volumes 1 - 4", which are 10" discs issued by "Editions Infoguinée".

Where "Dansons à Conakry!" names the orchestras and songs, "République de Guinée. Un peuple une musique. Volume 1" only named the songs, but the era is the same and the orchestras presented are similar and include Orchestre Feminine Gendarmerie Nationale (who shortly thereafter were renamed as Les Amazones de Guinee) and the pre-formations of Kélétigui et ses Tambourinis and Balla et ses Balladins.

"Dansons à Conakry!", with its sub-title "La Guinée: Un pays a vocation musicale", was the predecessor of "République de Guinée. Un peuple une musique. Volume 1" and contains tracks by "Orchestre de la Pailotte" (Kélétigui et ses Tambourinis), "Orchestre du Jardin de Guinee" (Balla et ses Balladins) and "Orchestre de Gueckedou" (Kébendo Jazz). The last track on Side B is by the "Sily Orchestre [National]" who perform "Sékou Touré l'histoire de Guinée tu sera reconnaissante". I had heard this track somewhere before, with its beautiful and understated melody...

So I searched all day through the RTG catalogue but came to no avail. I then used Shazam (!) and lo and behold it identified the song as from the CD "Afrolatin via Conakry", performed by Les Ballets Africains!!

Dear readers, Les Ballets Africains were not an orchestra and did not play electric guitars or feature a horn section. Given the often appalling "research" that is grafted from the net and presented in similar CDs as "fact", I thought I'd draw the line with this one, particularly as it is a very rare track by Guinean's premiere orchestra.

There are other errors in "Afrolatin via Conakry" which I have corrected, below. Many of the songs on its 2 x CDs are from early Syliphone discs but also featured are rare tracks from "Boum à Conakry".

I doubt whether "République de Guinée. Un peuple une musique. Volume 1" and "Dansons à Conakry!" were released to the public. It is likely that they were "promotional" recordings with pressings well under 1000 and perhaps under 100. The only copies I know of have come from the private collections of VIPs of the era. Guinea's presence at the New York World's Fair 1964-1965 also looms large as a raison d'etre for their release.

Dansons a Conakry!
Sily Orchestre National: Sékou Touré l'histoire de Guinée tu sera reconnaissante
Corrections to "Afrolatin via Conakry" (Syllart, 2011, 3246972, 2 x compact discs), including original vinyl releases

CD 1
01. Kebendo Jazz – Woulignewa (Syliphone SLP 19)
02. Bembeya Jazz – Bembeyako (Syliphone SLP 4)
Jardin De Guinée - N'na Saba  Jardin De Guinée - N'na Soba (Syliphone SLP 2)
04. Balla Et Ses Balladins – Sakhodougou (Syliphone SLP 35)
05. Bembeya Jazz – Dagna (Syliphone SLP 35)
06. Balla Et Ses Balladins – Diaraby (Syliphone SLP 8)
07. Bembeya Jazz - Festival National (Syliphone SYL 528)
08. Orchestre de La Paillote - N'djiguinira (Syliphone SLP 1)
Horoya Band – Sabougnouma  Orchestre de Beyla – OUA (Syliphone SLP 5)
10. Bembeya Jazz – Guantanamera (Syliphone SYL 509)
11. Jardin De Guinée – Soumbouyaya (Syliphone SLP 2)
Orchestre L'Auberge - Boum À Conakry  Orchestre de la Paillote - Boum à Conakry (Boum à Conakry)
Orchestre de La Paillote – Yamalele  Orchestre de la Bonne Auberge – Yamaré lé (Boum à Conakry)
Les Ballets Africains - L'histoire De Guinée Te Sera Reconnaissante  Syli Orchestre National - Sékou Touré l'histoire de Guinée tu sera reconnaissante (Dansons à Conakry)
15. Bembeya Jazz - Montuno De La Sierra (Syliphone SYL 510)
16. Keletigui Et Ses Tambourini – Nosotros (Syliphone SYL 501)
17. Orchestre de La Paillote - Yo Vine Pave (Boum à Conakry)

CD 2
01. Bembeya Jazz – Bembeya (Syliphone SLP 24)
Horoya Band – Keloufa  Orchestre de Dabola - Mamadou Bitiqui (Syliphone SLP 5)
03. Keletigui Et Ses Tambourini - Gerona Son (Syliphone SYL 544)
04. Bembeya Jazz - Sabor De Guajira (Syliphone SYL 503)
Orchestre De L'auberge – Chechere  Orchestre de la Paillote - El checheré (Boum à Conakry)
Horoya Band – Niama  Orchestre de Dabola – Sokho (Syliphone SLP 5)
Orchestre La Paillote - Yafa Nema  Orchestre du Jardin de Guinee - N'nakandè (Boum à Conakry)
08. Orchestre De La Garde Républicaine – Sabouya (Syliphone SLP 6)
09. Horaya Band – Takoulata (Syliphone SYL 511)
10. Orchestre Paillote - Cheri Iwato Min (Syliphone SLP 3)
11. Orchestre De La Garde Républicaine – Quinzan (Syliphone SLP 6)
12. Orchestre Paillote - Fruita Guinée (Syliphone SLP 3)
Orchestre De L'auberge - Kindia Bara Tongo  Orchestre de la Paillote - Kindiakayé bara tongo (Boum à Conakry)
14. Keletigui Et Ses Tambourinis - Cigarettes Allumettes (Syliphone YL 502)
15. Orchestre Paillote – Sabouya (Syliphone SLP 3)
16. Keletigui Et Ses Tambourinis - Guajira Con Tumbao (Syliphone SYL 519)
17. Balla Et Ses Balladins - Kognö Kouro (Syliphone SLP 40)
18. Keletigui Et Ses Tambourinis - Sax Parade (Syliphone SYL 514)
Horoya Band – Fassouloukou  Horoya Band – Touba (Syliphone SLP 25)
20. Niandan Jazz – Facely Kanté (Syliphone SLP 25)