Monday, October 31, 2011

Bembeya Jazz National

On the Syliphone label from the 80's I imagine. A delightful example of the music of Guinea in West Africa .

The Leopard Man says -

"Bembeya Jazz National is Guinea's most famous band and a giant in West African music.The band was active right up until 1991 and the modern bandleader
Bambino Diabate began here.
Like Rail Band, Bembeya Jazz National received economic government support.It was started in 1961 as Bembeya Jazz and won first prize in two national band competitions in 1962 and 1964, and in 1966 awarded the distinction of "National Orchestra". There was at this time a strong bond between Guinea's President Sekou Toure and Fidel Castro, and in 1965 Bembeya Jazz embarked on a famous tour to Cuba. The acclaimed Cuban singer Abelardo Barroso was moved to tears by Bembeya Jazz's vocalist, Aboubacar Camara. Camara was killed in a car accident in 1973, on route to a concert in Dakar, an event that provoked national mourning in Guinea. Camara's death, combined with political and economic problems in the country, meant that Bembeya Jazz never managed to regain their status of the 1960s, even though they were active and released several disks in the 1970s and 1980s.
Bembeya Jazz National plays strongly Cuban-influenced music.This Cuban-influence in West African music came about because the slaves sent to Cuba came, in all likelihood, from the Manding area of Guinea and Mali. The rhythmic patterns of the music lie close to each other and Cuban music is hugely popular in West Africa to this day. As Salif Keita once said: "I used to sing in Spanish - or at least something I thought was Spanish, for I didn't speak it. I love Cuban music and, more than that, I see it as a duty of all Mali’s people to love Cuban music, for it was through it that we were introduced to modern instruments."
To hear Bembeya Jazz National is an inspiring journey through an exciting musical landscape. Many rate Bembeya Jazz National as one of Africa's best ever bands.
At the beginning of the new millenium the band is up and going again, with most of the old members revitalised."

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