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The Syliphone Years

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Editors’ Notes

Seminal African pop combo the Bembeya Jazz National were unusual for their time; a state-sponsored band closely associated with Guinea’s idealistic socialist regime of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the Bembeya Jazz National set out to create a Guinean folk idiom out of whole cloth, drawing on Cuban Son ballads, Rhumba rhythms and West African highlife, and helmed by the incomparable guitar work of Sekou Diabate, The Bembeya Jazz National created gently propulsive, dreamy dance music that sounds like little else being made in Africa at the time. While Fela Kuti’s relentless rhythms would soon sweep the African continent, the Bembeya Jazz National specialized in developing slow-burning musical themes that subtly teased out the close kinship between African and Latin rhythms to often intoxicating effect. The Syliphone Years is, simply put, the definitive collection of the Bembeya Jazz National’s music and should be in the library of anyone with an interest in the history of African popular music.

Customer Reviews

My biggest suprise on iTunes!

The songs on this album remind me of my childhood in guinea. Bembeya Jazz of Guinea was one the best african group of the 60's. Unfortunatly the lead singer, Aboubacar Demba died in an automobile accident in 1973 (I believe). .. This album is a gold mine for anyone who enjoys guinean or african classics.


Formed: 1961

Genre: World

Years Active: '60s

In the aftermath of the Guinean Independence in 1958 and the encouragement of cultural pride, numerous bands sprang up throughout the African 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...
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The Syliphone Years, Bembeya Jazz National
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