I am finally getting 'round to posting this album. The reason for the delay is not in the lp itself, but in the video that goes with it. I have struggling to get the sound at least acceptable. Although I don't think I have succeeded I doubt I can do more to get it right. Besides, the exceptional quality of the sound of the lp should help to balance matters....
The lp is by the Super Boiro Band, and was released on the Syliphone label in Guinea, which in any case is a guarantee for a superior quality of music - and sound. The name "Boiro" was rapidly changed after the death of Sékou Touré and the fall of the Syli regime, as it carried associations to the infamous prison camp, Camp Boiro, in which a staggering estimate of fifty thousand (mainly political) prisoners were said to have died. The Super Boiro Band changed its name into Super Flambeau (flambeau = torch).
And in my opinion this is a far more suitable name given the both fiery and glowing nature of their music, - as is demonstrated especially by this record.
Justin Morel Junior mentions in his sleeve notes that the musicians of the orchestra 'pulled their act together' after visiting the "Semaine National de solfégétisation" in Conakry in 1974. My (rather aged) dictionary has no entry for "solfégétisation", but "solfège" has something to do with singing techniques, so I assume they did some vocal training. This certainly did no harm to their vocal harmonies, which are great on this lp.
But nevertheless I am more impressed by their instrumental skills. Particularly the organ on this lp is on a level of its own. Starting at 5'15 in the first track "Somono" the organist is the true master of these recordings. Highlights of his performance are the - in my opinion epic - version of "Nanibaly", in which I can picture him swaying behind his instrument, before making his dramatically restrained entrance after 3'14. The classic "Samba" is an instrumental tribute to the instrumental talents of the whole Boiro Band, again dominated by the organ.
But there is more to this record. There are 'cool' tunes, like the supercool "Gumbe". There is joy in "Sakonke" ("cuisinées à plus que 100°C"), encouragement in "Khamulan Na", and of course the usual flattery (albeit somewhat obligatory sounding!) of the P.D.G. in "Barika".
Judging by the few tracks I have heard of their work of the post-Syli era, I get the impression that the Super Flambeau managed to retain the high level they show on this wonderful album on the ever great Syliphone label. I for one would certainly like more of this.....
Syliphone SLP 58
As a bonus, and with my sincerest apologies for the crappy sound, here is a video of the song "Sakonke":