Thursday, 31 March 2016

Africa Soli - Salia (1992, CD)

Searching info about Les Amazones found a small advert for their 1986.March concert in Amsterdam, as their support act was listed Africa Soli. That reminded me that I have some music from them. In the mid 1990's I got a K7 copy from their 1992 album Salia, a local CD release in Holland. They were a group of Guinean musicians living (in exile) in The Netherlands. I really liked (and still like) their music which has it's roots in the Ballets des Africaines (de Guinee). Later in the early 2000s I came across a CD titled 'Voices of Africa 3', whick looked like some fake African compilation, but when inspecting it closely it appeared to be an international rerelease of the Africa Soli album, by some sort of cheap record company. The packaging is some "kitch" African pictures thrown together, without having any relation to Guinee, except the continent itself, I mean rhinoceros in Guinee, give me a break!! But the music is great, and that's the main thing which counts here!!
About the group Africa Soli I could not find any further info, so direct to the music.
original 1992 CD cover

Listen to: Africa Soli - Bawama (1992 live)

AFRICA SOLI 1992 - Salia

1.Salia (5:40) / 2.Bandafeleko (4:56) / 3.Concert de Percussion (4:05) / 4.Lalaba (5:59) / 5.Diya (5:16) / 6.Balaphone du Griot (3:43) / 7.Youwale (4:56) / 8.Sougue (6:02) / 9.Sofa (7:18) / 10.Feraba (6:03)

Arafan Touré - djembe solo, shekere, background vocals
Momo Toure - doundoum, bote, background vocals
Kaloga Traore - djembe, background vocals
Soriba Kouyate - balaphone, background vocals
Dameyetiti Camara - lead vocals, background vocals
Kadiatou Sylla - background vocals

About Arafan Toure (Africa Soli's main musician)

sources: -
Arafan Toure was born in Conakry in 1937. He grew up playing rhythms on tin cans and wooden boxes on the streets. After achool he listened to the adults playing, this is how Arafan learned the music of Guinea and of neighbour countries. The director of the popular performing group "Djole Club" saw Arafan play and recruited him as soloist. Arafan was 20 years old at the time and toured with them to the Ivory Coast. It was during this time that he played two djembes simultaneously for the first time and became famous for being the first person to do it.
Arafan's father was opposed to Arafan's dedicating his life to music and got him a job as a mechanic. While Arafan was repairing a car, a delegation from the Ministry of Culture summoned him to join Les Ballets Africains!
picture from 1962 program
Arafan was the youngest player in the group, but created lots of new rhythms for the ballet and toured with them for 26 years until 1985 (here the German 1962-63 tour program). His role with the ballet included soloist, composer, arranger, recruiter and trainer of new musicians. Arafan played djembe, dununba, siko, calabash and krin. his constant flow of new compositions earned him the nickname, "Docteur de Rhythme".
In 1985 Arafan joined the groups Fatala (discovered by Peter Gabriel) and "Africa Soli". In 1986 he moved permanently to the Netherlands and did performances all over West-Europe. Furthermore gave he lessons and workshops to percussion students in the Netherlands, France, Sweden and Ireland. 
Arafan died unexpectedly in 2003 in Arnhem, The Netherlands. At his funeral in Guinea on 2003 June 06 at the Cemetery Cameroun in Conakry, his body was carried by ex-members of Les Ballets Africains and Ballet Djoliba.

2003.Aug.29 the Dutch radio 'Concertzender' made a special In Memoriam program for Arafan (info) and repeated a 2000 concert from his band (info).
2008.Nov.15 the same station broadcasted a 'Mariama Special - Arafan Touré' (info here - info), to which you can still listen here -
This seems to be a repeat of the 2003 In Memoriam, but that's not mentioned.
Playlist: Fatala 1988 - Sohko / Arafan 2001 live - Double Djembe / Fatala 1989 - Yoky (from Passion Sources) / Arafan Group 1997 live - Bawama / Africa Soli 1992 live - Bawama / Fatala 1988 - Timini and Maane / Africa Soli 1992 - Sofa / Arafan Djembe Lessons / Arafan Group 2000 live - Salia

Discography of Arafan Toure

1988: Fatala - Fatala (LP, Womad Records) at rhythmconnection
1989: tracknr.11.Fatala - Yoky (on 'VA-Passion Sources')
1992: Africa Soli - Salia (CD, the Netherlands, Sango Music)
          reissued titled 'Voices of Africa 3 - Africa Soli - Guinea' (1998, CD)
          and as 'Africa Soli - Greetings from Guinea' (1998, CD)
1998: tracknr.10.Arafan Toure Ensemble - Bawama ('VA-de ConcertZender LIVE')
2000: Arafan & Group - Concert Melkweg (2CD) info
2003: e_Mixation (, last recs of Arafan) info

Enjoy the Music! Always EAT


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