A few months ago I posted the first of the two lp's on the Tempo label by the wonderful Orchestre de Danse de Gueckédou, better known as Kébendo Jazz. They are among my favourite orchestras in Guinea, and that's saying a lot considering the fierce competition (I refer you to that amazing Boum à Conakry lp I posted a few weeks ago).
I have always wondered why this orchestra was never nationalised. They were the first orchestra ever to win the 'Orchestre' competition of the Festival National des Arts et de la Culture. This was in 1963, a year before the Orchestre Bembeya Jazz from Beyla won the competition and immediately became Bembeya Jazz National.
What did they do wrong? Were they 'sidetracked' because of a lack of 'patriotism' (i.e. loyalty to the P.D.G.)? It can't have been their musical qualities, because at the time of these recordings at least they were musically far superior to Bembeya Jazz, and I have found no evidence that the quality of their music went downhill from then (on the contrary, as you will be able to judge for yourself in a later post).
This lp is brilliant, although maybe not as brilliant as the first. Personally I am great fan of the dreamy vocals of Mamady Traoré, and he has only song on this lp, "N'na gnalen". This track is of outstanding beauty, and at least as good as his two songs on Tempo LP-7013. I also love the first track "Plan triennal", the version of "Soumbayaya" (made even more famous by Jardin and by les Balladins), and the music-to-lie-down-and-gaze-at-the-sky instrumental "Yagou sagou".
What tips the scales in favour of Tempo LP-7013 however is the fact that that lp has two more tracks.....
Almon Memela in all his diversity: 78rpm sampler
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