Formed in 1959, the Syli Orchestre National contained Guinea's elite musicians. The orchestra represented Guinea at international festivals, including Helsinki (1962), Algiers (1969), and Tunis (1973), as well as performing in Berlin, Lagos and Cuba. The first chef d'orchestre was Kanfory Sanoussi (accordion, banjo and vibraphone), with other musicians at the time including Kerfala “Papa” Diabaté (guitar), Balla Onivogui (trumpet), Kélétigui Traoré (tenor saxophone), Clement Dorego (tenor saxophone), Honore Coppet (alto saxophone), Momo Wandel (alto saxophone), Pivi Moriba (trombone), Kerfala Camara (bass), and Jean Fanga (drums). In later years the orchestre included Demba Camara (vocals) and Sékou "Bembeya" Diabaté (lead guitar). In 1962 they were disbanded, as they were too many musicians, though the orchestra were reformed for special occasions for many years to come. At the Premier Festival Culturel Panafricain held in Algiers in 1969 the Syli Orchestre Nationale performed "Regard sur le passé", by Bembeya Jazz, "Sara", by Balla et ses Balladins, and other material from Guinean orchestras. They were rewarded with a silver medal in the "Orchestre moderne" section.Graeme Counsel (here)
Here is a video from the concert in 1969, featuring the legendary singer Aboubacar Demba Camara, and Sekou Diabaté 'le Docteur' (Balladins) and a young Sekou Diabaté 'Bembeya' on guitar, and Sekou Legrow (he's the one with the silly walk at the beginning), Balla, Kélétigui, Pivi and lots of other superb musicians.
The energy, the drive, the music, the voice: this is top of the league music from Guinea!*
*"O.U.A." (referring to the Organisation of African Unity) is a version of a track by the Orchestre de Beyla (i.e. Bembeya Jazz) on Syliphone SLP 5.