Afro Latin Via Conakry

SYLLART 3246972 SYLLART 3246972

Syllart presents another chapter in their Via compilation series, celebrating African music from '60s and '70s West Africa. This edition focuses on Conakry, the capital of Guinea. In the first half of the 20th century, the carving up of much of Africa by the European powers imposed modernity across the continent. With the boom in maritime transport, the American 78s brought back by Latin-American and in particular Cuban sailors, as well as by soldiers and the European settlers, had a lasting influence on new musical trends along Africa's coastlines. With the notable exception of Mali and Ethiopia, most coastal countries were experiencing deep changes where music was concerned, while inland countries -- owing perhaps to a lack of flagship artists, the absence of any (even embryonic) structured record industry, a sparse population, a lesser cultural influence or the combination of several or all of these factors -- favored other forms of expression. The impact of Cuban music -- one of the first non-Western genres to have been disseminated throughout the world thanks to records -- has been crucial in the emergence of popular forms of African music. Because of the exodus of African slaves to the Caribbean and America, strong linkages exist between the Afro-Cuban population and culture and African countries on the Atlantic coast, especially in West Africa. From town to town and port to port, Syllart's Via collection aims to explain the different musical fusions that happened between Cuban and African styles of music. From Dakar to Kinshasa, Conakry to Abidjan, Bamako, Cotonou and Brazzaville, Via speaks of permanently-evolving musical scenes, touched by candor, depth and spontaneity. Following Guinea's declaration of independence in 1958, President Sékou Touré banned the previously-popular French chanson and set up a national music school, headed up by Honoré Coppet, a behind-the-scenes musician who had a lasting influence on the spread of West Indian and Afro-Cuban rhythms in Guinea. As is clear from the covers depicting the type of clothing the artists wore, Guinean bands -- like most African ensembles -- were heavily influenced by Afro-Cuban music in all its forms, be it rumbas, cha-cha-chas, boleros, sons, guajiras, but also West Indian biguines, Trinidad calypsos or Haitian/Dominican merengues. Claves, maracas and vocals in pidgin Spanish formed the basis of many bands' repertoire. However, by 1971, as previously for French chanson, Sékou Touré prohibited Syliphone from releasing Cuban-style songs, on the grounds of national pride and an evident distrust of the Castro regime. So Cuban-style instruments were gradually replaced by rhythmic guitars, brass instruments and rhythm'n'blues tones whereas the balafon and the kora were reminders of the Mandingo culture to which most Guinean musicians belonged. Featuring artists such as Keletigui Et Ses Tambourinis, Bembeya Jazz, Jardin De Guinée, Kebendo Jazz and many more. Includes a booklet with liner notes in English and French by Florent Mazzoleni. Produced by Ibrahima Sylla.