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Sous la Direction de Diaoune Hamidou
One of four albums in a series of reissues that represent a unique moment in African music, all originally released on the Guinean state-funded label Editions Syliphone Conakry. Faithfully recreated from the best original sources. In the late 1940s West Africa was bursting with energy, as first Ghana, and then, in 1958, Guinea, gained their independence. In the case of Guinea, its birth was sudden and dramatic; France, the colonial power at the time, withdrew within one month of the vote for independence, famously taking "everything including the lightbulbs." Guinea had to start from scratch, not least in its approach to the arts, which the new state wanted to modernize while still remaining true to tradition. This policy was called authenticité. Music was its focus and Syliphone its record label, and Guinean music soon became a shining example for other emerging African nations. It even attracted artists and activists such as Miriam Makeba and her then-husband, ex-Black Panther Stokely Carmichael who, harassed by the CIA, moved to Guinea in 1968. Under authenticité, musicians were employed by the state, given instruments, and encouraged to create a new but traditionally-rooted music. A whole system of regional and national bands was established, with regular competitions to establish precedence. It's also worth noting that from the Guinean perspective, this "tradition" included Latin music, the African roots of which were considered so obvious as to be beyond debate. Very quickly, three bands rose to the top: Orchestre Paillote, later to become Keletigui et ses Tambourinis (SLP 001LP); Orchestre du Jardin de Guinée, later to become Balla et ses Balladins (SLP 002LP); and, perhaps the strongest of them all, Bembeya Jazz. This is the first reissue of the first full-length album recording from Bembeya Jazz, faithfully recreated as originally presented, sequenced, and released in 1967.