January 03, 2009

More from Algiers

Judging by the comments on the first post of this concert by the legendary Syli Orchestre National from Guinea, there seems to be some uncertainty about the musicians participating.

I am certainly not qualified to express an opinion, but I can try and help. Not just by sharing this video, but also by posting some photos from another version of this same video.

The latter is from a commercial video cassette titled "Justin Morel Junior présente L'Afrique en Fête" (JMJ Video KV 1950). Unfortunately the video shows little respect for the historic value of the images, because it contains more video effects (strange whirls, zooms, cross-fades and such) than clear footage.
And it also breaks off after just over 6 minutes!

So it seems there just isn't any more left of this track than these six minutes and 12 seconds....
But these minutes are precious, as I am sure you will agree.


kissmynoose said...

Thanks so much for posting more from this marvellous concert. If I was going to pick a song from this period I would want to see performed, it would probably be "Sara". Praise be, this time the cameraman doesn't point his lense in the wrong direction when Kemo Kouyaté solos.

For the record, I accept most of Graeme's corrections to my comment on the first post. The white-suited saxophonist is playing tenor (not alto as I previously stated). More importantly, my apologies for getting Kemo Kouyaté (rhythm guitar) and Famoro Kouyaté (bass guitar) the wrong way round. I didn't intend to rob from Kemo the glory of one of the great moments in Guinean music, when he solos in "Sara". On the Balladins recording, and also in the video here, it sounds like the singers are singing his name "Kemo" before he plays. This may just be my ignorance of the Mande language, but I don't hear anything similar in Siramori Diabaté's version of the song.

I understand from Graeme, he no longer thinks that the white-suited saxophonist is Kélétigui Traoré. Kélétigui is, I'm sure, the short tenor saxophonist in the dark suit. On the Syliphone record covers he is usually carefully posed to disguise his lack of height!

The slide show you posted of the clearer footage will hopefully lead to the identification of the mystery tenor saxophonist in the white suit. There are a couple of nice clear shots of his face.

So, with the above amendments incorporated, the personnel in the "Sara" video is - from right to left:

- Famoro Kouyaté - bass guitar. Balla et ses Balladins, Quintette Guinéenne
- Kemo Kouyaté - rhythm guitar (solos in "Sara"). Balla et ses Balladins, Quintette Guinéenne
- Sekou 'Bembeya' Diabaté aka 'Diamond Fingers' - lead guitar. Bembeya Jazz
- Aboubacar Demba Camara - vocals. Bembeya Jazz
- Petit Fode Diabaté - vocal duet in "Sara". Horoya Band
- Unknown in white jacket - tenor saxophone
- Kélétigui Traoré - tenor saxophone. Kélétigui et ses Tambourinis
- Pivi Moriba - alto saxophone (he switches from the trombone he played in "O.A.U"). Balla et ses Balladins
- Momo 'Wandel' Soumah - soprano saxophone (he switches from the alto saxophone he played in "O.A.U"). Kélétigui et ses Tambourinis

- Mory 'Mangala' Condé - drums. Bembeya Jazz
- Siaka Diabaté - congas. Bembeya Jazz

Three trumpet players (from nearest to furthest from the audience):
- Mohamed 'Achken' Kaba. Bembeya Jazz
- Unknown wearing glasses
- Sekou 'Le Growl' Camara. Bembeya Jazz (addresses the audience in French and Arabic at the start)

As partial recompense for mistaking the youthful Kemo Kouyate, I would like to call attention to a video of the maturer Kemo filmed as part of the Mandekalou project. There is a scene with Kemo Kouyaté talking, and then playing ngoni with (I think) Djessou Mory Kante (guitar) and Kerfala Kante (vocals) at:


I don't know whether the bass player Famoro Kouyaté is still alive. He was recorded in 1992 in Conakry by Guenter Gretz (Famoro Kouyaté & Kike, "Assusu". CD PAM OA 204). There are a couple of photos of him in the booklet, and in the liner notes it is stated that he rejoined the Balladins in 1980.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I definitely got Keletigui wrong. He is as described and not in the white suit. Just 2 to get, then, the trumpter with glasses, which looks impossible, and the sax player in the white suit. I will try and find out the latter from the RTG staff.