February 9, 2011

Bembeya Jazz National 10 Ans De Succès

In the aftermath of the Guinean Independence in 1958 and the encouragement of cultural pride,
 numerous bands sprang up throughout the country.
 The most popular was Bembeya Jazz National, formed by vocalist Aboubacar Dembar Camara in 1961. Specializing in modern arrangements of Manding classic tunes,
 Bembeya Jazz National won the first two national Biennale festivals in 1962 and 1964
 and was crowned National Orchestra in 1966. 
Initially a seven-piece group, featuring a Latin-flavored horn section of saxophone, trumpet,
 and clarinet, Bembeya Jazz National reached its apex with the addition 
of electric guitarist Sekou "Diamond Fingers" Diabate 
and lead singer Sekouba Bambino Diabate (no relation). 
Although prohibited from touring outside Guinea until the mid-'80s, Bembeya Jazz National 
continued to build a cult-like following in its home country.
 Bembeya Jazz National's most ambitious album, Regard Sur Le Passe,
 released in 1968, was a musical tribute to the memory of Samory Toure, 
who founded the Mande kingdom in 1870.
 A live album, 10 Ans De Succes, was recorded during a 1971 concert. 
A set-back for the band came in 1973 when Camara was killed in an auto accident
 on his way to a concert in Dakar. 
Although they remained together for another eight years, Bembeya Jazz National 
was unable to duplicate the success of their earliest years.
 The group disbanded in 1991 with Sekou Diabate
 and Sekouba Bambino Diabate going on to successful solo careers.

This is something very special: A live recording from Bembeya Jazz National's 
10 year jubilee concert in the "People's Palace" of Guinea's capitol, Conakry in 1971.
The band stood at the pinnacle of its career, so this is a historical record in the best sense of the word. The recording is impressive: an audience of 2500, including the Politbureau(!) in Guinea's Democracy Party, are enthusiastically in place. The band performs with full accoutrements - the rhythm section consisting of several types of drums, a complete horn section, and not least the number one guitarist, Sekou Diabate. This is an incredible disk ..................

eternal music from one of Africa's top orchestras
of all time 

thanks to RadioAfrica1

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