February 20, 2011

Four mysteries

I am hoping someone can shed some light on these four mystery tracks.

The mystery is not in who is singing. The singer is clearly and recognisably the great Aboubacar Demba Camara. This limits the options when it comes to the orchestra accompanying the man: it is either the Syli Orchestre National or Bembeya Jazz.
My guess would be the latter, but both is also a possibility (with the first two songs by Syli National and the last two by Bembeya) .

The mystery lies mainly in the origin of these recordings. I have so far been unable to trace when, where and by whom they were made. And the titles are just guesswork, because they were missing on the source cassette (In fact, there was nothing at all on the cassette to indicate its content).

By the inclusion of the two Cuban (or at least latin) songs I am inclined to date these recordings shortly after Demba's trip to Cuba. He went there, as he told in an interview with the R.T.G., in December 1965 and met Cuban legend Abelardo Barroso. This must have inspired him to do some more Cuban songs....

So please feel free to speculate. And if you have some expert knowledge, please step forward!

4 songs from the sixties

EDIT February 21, 2011: Although all four tracks are from the same cassette, the last two appear to be a bit fast. I am adding two attempts at correcting this. Please let me know which one you think is correct.
The corrections are all in this file (new link May 28, 2011).


reservatory said...

No expert knowledge here, just heartfelt thanks for these rarities. Sounds like Diamond Fingers in the first two, but who knows? Another thing, the latter two sound more human with a bit of pitch adjustment (down). At any rate, whatever these are, they're greatly appreciated!

Anonymous said...

my turn for thanks and speculations.
I would vote for Syli Orchestre National more than Bembeya,maybe is the "full orchestra" sound of the first two tracks that (mis)leads me to this.I can also guess that they can be 2 separate recordings-the first two songs live-the space ambiance is almost audible, and the next two in studio ,from a another date and possibly with different members or orchestras.
If they are recorded with S.O.N. then we can presume a date between December 65 and 69 approximately.
just speculations,but now I'm also curious to see what other readers have to say,may the truth shine here!
thank you again for this pleasurable puzzle!

WrldServ said...

@reservatory: I agree with you about the pitch of the last two tracks. This doesn't mean that I am able to accurately reconstruct the original pitch. However I am adding two attempts to the post (see EDIT). I am inclined to correct the tempo with the same amount, as these are usually errors in copying. In the first attempt I have slowed down the tempo by 3%, and in the second by 6%.
I am tempted to chose the first as the correct one, but this may be influenced by the fact that the faster version is stuck in my memory.

@nauma: I would be very surprised if any of these tracks are from a later date than 1969, whether they are by Bembeya or Syli National.

WrldServ said...

Ngoni has mailed me to point out that the song which I have titled "Una Cosa Pa'Gozar" is an early version of "Montuno de la Sierra" (Syl 510). I agree.
A first step towards solving the mystery....

reservatory said...

I fiddled with the Pitch and Tempo controls in Audacity and came up with another even slower 'version'. The technical aspects of changing Pitch w/o changing Tempo and vice versa is all serious digital voodoo to me, but, following Ngoni's tip, I tried to get Una Cosa Pa' Gozar to match up with Montuno de la Sierra and went from there. I lowered the pitch on tracks 1 and 2 just a bit as an experiment and liked the results there, too. Kind of scary, I know, taking such liberties, but...?

Anonymous said...

I really like the result of reservatory work for the songs 3 and 4, I too had tried to reduce the pitch and tempo to 88%, but did not dare to decouple the tempo and pitch because I do not understand how they work.

Since then my version fails in an unnatural voice but I prefer it if I concentrate listening to the rhythm and sound of "guiro".

Anonymous said...

I take this earlier post to balance the scales, finding that some members of the Bembeya are in good health and in particular the fingers of Sekou Bembeya,that are found in top form, you can share
the Bembeya 2010 end-year party in Dakar here:

Ps. Stenfan could you explain the process that leading the cd´s to disintegrate?