Let me begin by apologising: this is probably the worst cassette of the Horoya Band I have. The sound is somewhere between medium wave and shortwave radio, including some of the wave effects.
But the music...
The bootlegger responsible for this cassette, which was bought in Guinea in 1988, has made a few minor errors (nothing compared to what some of the 'reputable' European producers have conjured up) in writing down the titles, because the first track is clearly "Sasilon", which can be found on Discothèque 74 (SLP 48). But the title of the second track is not "Keme Bourema", but "Wara" (lion). And this is one of these rare tracks that will last you a lifetime. Even after over twenty years this brilliant interpretation of this malinké classic by this exceptional orchestra from Kankan still manages to grab me straight by the throat, right from that majestic beginning to the tragically sudden fade-out, after nearly twelve minutes of pure bliss. I particularly would like to draw your attention to the exemplary rhythm guitar playing.
And it doesn't stop there.
The B-side opens with another classic: "Baninde" (child of the Bani river). Another proof that the border between Guinea and Mali is not a cultural border, because this is a song from the repertoire of the griots of Kela, and more specifically a song generally associated with the legendary Siramori Diabaté. Judging by the fact Horoya also covered her "Kanimba", this can't be a coincidence.
You have to fill in the sound of the fantastic horn section from memory*, but this is certainly one of my favourite versions of "Baninde", and certainly more 'majestic' than the mid-tempo(but also great!) version by Les Messagers.
The second track, "Famadenke", is another malinké classic. The link to Sékou Touré is even more apparent in this song, as it is an ode to Samory Touré's son. This site (or English) not only gives an explanation of the song, but also a translation.
The last track again features on one of the Syliphone collections, in this case Discothèque 75 (SLP 49). Going by the overall sound I think all of the tracks of this cassettes are roughly from the same period (the mid-1970s). And this brings me to the main mystery behind this cassette: what happened to the three tracks (i.e. "Wara", "Baninde" and "Famadenke")? Why were these brilliant songs never released on the Syliphone label?
GD 7051 cassette
* for those with a sudden attack of memory loss, and those who have erroneously purchased the Syllart re-editions, here are "Sasilon" and "Artistes" from SLP 48 and SLP 49.
Can You Take It (1977)
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