Is nostalgia the longing for a past one has personally experienced, or is it possible to yearn for events of which one was completely unaware at the time when they happened? I ask this, because I experience an extreme attack of nostalgia whenever I read about the 9th Festival National des Arts et de la Culture. The event took place from March 4 to 22, 1973, in Conakry, the capital of Guinea.
I have a strong tendency to burst out in tears even when I only read the programme:
● the 7 nationals orchestras*
● 30 federal orchestras
● the Tout Puissant O.K. Jazz (in 1973!!)
● Myriam Makeba and the Quintette Guineen
● Orquesta Aragon from Cuba.
Of the "inoubliable show global" of the T.P. O.K. Jazz not even a memory remains in present-day Guinea (and I am still hoping someone proves me wrong!). But luckily there is this great album on the Syliphone label which gives us at least a glimpse of the Greatness of this 9th Festival. Although it "only" features tracks from the regional orchestras, it is still one of my favourite lp's on the Syliphone label.
The album contains some brilliant contributions from Nimba Jazz (later known as "Le Nimba de N’zérékoré"), from Kébali Jazz from Dinguiraye, Niandan Jazz from Kissidougou (two tracks), Kakandé Jazz from Boké, Télé-Jazz from Télémélé, Kalum Star from Conakry I, "22 Novembre" Band from Kankan, Dirou Band from Kindia and Palm Jazz from Macenta. There are no "weaker" tracks on this lp. Tracks which may seem 'inferior' initially will grow after hearing them a few times.
But this said, I do have some favourites: "Wara" (Nimba Jazz) with the great interaction between guitars and balafon; Kakandé Jazz's uptempo "Nkhama Gnakha" with its enthusiastic horns; "Djarama Sinta" by Télé Jazz, a favourite for late-night car journeys; Kalum Star's "Lalaba" with its catchy rhythm and great monomaniac rhythm guitar; the "22 Novembre" Band and its "Kouma", I could easily listen to a few albums filled with just that superb band.
Listening to this album I can't help being overwhelmed by a strong sense of nostalgia.
Syliphone SLP 42
* I have no idea what the seventh orchestra was, after (1) Bembeya, (2) Keletigui, (3) Balla, (4) Amazones, (5) Horoya and (6) Boiro Band. Was the Orchestré de la Garde Républicaine 2ème formation still in existence in 1973?
Ramblers International Decca West Africa 1977
7 hours ago