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World Music CD Reviews Africa

Various Artists

By Bruce Miller
Published January 16, 2008

Authenticité: The Syliphone Years
Stern's Africa

As Guinea emerged from colonialism under Sekou Toure’s leadership, it was playing catch-up with the rest of the world and dealing with the fact that it was a nation of tribes and tradition. Toure encouraged the arts by insisting that all 34 regions of the country have artistic troupes, including orchestras that played their asses off while denouncing colonialism and preaching nationalism. Along with this came the Syliphone label, which recorded the amazing Balla et ses Balladins, Super Boiro Band, Horoya Band and others, forming perhaps one of the most amazing bodies of contemporary African music ever. This collection, which adds to the recent Bembeya Jazz National set, documents the music as it shrugs off Afro-Cuban influences and embraces a deeper, much more local aesthetic. All the above-named bands, as well as many others, make appearances on a first-rate collection of music that holds its own against highlife and Afrobeat.