Saturday, 26 March 2016

Amazones de Guinee - au Coeur de Paris (K7)

update 2016.Mar.31: biography and added sleeve notes

The unclear "Paradiso" catchings are finished (thought I had one more, from a Senegalese artist, but can't find it anywhere), so let's continue now with a K7, the famous "Les Amazones de Guinee" recorded live at a show in Paris. Bought this one in 1993/94 in Guinee, after I heard them on the Super Selection K7 posted earlier. Still really really love this one and as written before the introduction gives me GOOSEBUMPS everytime. Not so much of how and what the announcer (anybody knows who?) is saying, but mostly the exited ROARs by the audience, and then the first notes from SAMBA!!!!! Absolutely Brilliant!! Manguetique!!

Also still treasure the sight of my daughters, at kindergarten / early primary school age, dancing through the house when I played this K7. Unfortunately now that they're some 10 years older, they consider this music "not hip" for their taste, so mostly ask me to turn down the volume. Hopefully when they've 'really grown up', they'll be able to appreciate this wonderful music again, we'll have to wait and see.

Short biography of 'Les Amazones de Guinee'

main infos used: justinmorel - radioafrica - musiques-afrique
The band started in 1961, after Guinee became an independent country, playing only acoustic string instruments and percussion as 'l'Orchestre Féminin de la Gendarmerie de Guinée'. In 1965 they started using electric guitars, wind instruments and drumkit and renamed themselves to 'Les Amazones de Guinee'. As an all-women band, with all members recruited from the Guinean "Gendarmerie", i.e.Police Force, they were the symbol of the emancipation of Guinean women. Les Amazones performed in various African countries and represented Guinea at various occasions throughout the 1960s and 1970s, their highest achievement being their participation at the FESTAC festival in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1977 (recording see under / Ebony Magazine about Festac '77).
In 1979 they performed at the art festival 'Horizonte '79' in Berlin, together with their fellow Guinean orchestra Sily National (see short flash at ca.2:10 in this video, any body has more??).
In 1983, they travelled to Paris for the 1983.Apr.06 concert, which was recorded and released as their first album (of which this K7 is a pirate? copy). One month later they also performed at a festival in Angouleme.
In 1986 they went on a tour through Europe, see review in Sounds, of which also recordings have been made in the Netherlands (beeldengeluid: id-4072484 and id-4072504 - anybody has this??) and in 1993 they performed at the famous Sfinks Festival in Belgium.
After that not much was heard from Les Amazones, untill in 2006 they recorded their second album (, which in 2008 was released on CD as 'Wamato' by Stern's.
In time some members left the band, as they didn't want to be a part of the Guinean police, and started solo careers, like for example  Sona Diabate, M'Mah Sylla and Sayon Bamba. But with new recrutes 'Les Amazones' kept performing here and there, mostly in Guinee, and are still going as strong as they can be.

Listen to the Introduction and Samba

Les AMAZONES de GUINEE - Au cœur de Paris - 1983.Avr.06 (K7, #371)

a0.Introduction / a1.Samba / a2.Tayesala / a3.Sougouroun Baya / (a4.Samba = same as a1) //
b1.Salimou / b2.P.D.G. / b3.I Tele Ke / b4.Sona

Some parts of LP sleeve notes (corrected google translation):

original written in French by Justin Morel Jr. - justinmorel/syliphon
This disc restores the amazonic feeling experienced by the Parisian spectators on 1983 April 06 at the ‘Théâtre de la Mutualité’, in the very heart of Paris.
An outstanding disc offered to us by the new Guinean record company "Enimas", at the tip of the revival of Guinean music, with the kind participation by the branches of Bolibana in Paris. Twenty-two years later (1961-83). It really is as if everything is starting now.
a1.Samba (5:36)
The colourful and burlesque life of a man who does not know what he wants and where he goes. Solid arrangements by the "Amazones" with tenor sax bursts propelled by the vibrating music. Superb singing by Sonia Diabate.
a2.Tayesala (6:00)
"Let’s extinguish the flames! / That lights the fire of love / That scorch false desires / and satisfies lovers hearts."
Salématou Diallo clads with calm and charm the frantic chords on her bass guitar.
a3.Soungouroun Baya (6:15)
"In your youth, my sister / Avoid bad moods / Just listen to your heart / Only see your happiness / About you, they will say a thousand things / If you rely on the truth / Your life will always be rosy.''
Mah Sylla engages with "lost heart" in solo vocals. Admirable flexibility! From guitars to contagious joy!
b1.Salimou (6:33)
The true story of an alcoholic who sang in his delusions: "When I take my bottle! / I have really nothing like it''!
The "Amazones" resume the melody, change the lyrics and go to war against drugs and alcohol. Lyrics: "Whoever chooses alcohol / undertakes on a crazy road."
Mah Sylla, the new singer of the "Amazones", plays with her impressive voice.
b2.P.D.G. (3:56)
Dedicates the knowledge of the liberating party of Guinea, the P.D.G., which teaches: "The first for women is their work."
The queen of the "Amazones" Nyépou Habas is dazzling on solo guitar.
b3.I Ke Tele: (5:46)
The man who wants to make history, the song tells us, must mark his time. Mark his time in a positive way, this is the pledge of eternity. Zenab Bah, very lyrical tenor-saxophone.
b4.Sona (5:27)
When the love of a woman leads a man to death. Balake, the innocent fiancé of Sona, is accused of murder by a "gambler" blinded by his libido and who, to enjoy impunity of the maiden, leads her favourite to death. But death can not kill true love.
Sentimental Nyépou Habas on solo guitar - Kanko Camara sings with all her heart.

Discography of Les Amazones de Guinee

1983: Au cœur de Paris - 6 avril 1983 (LP, Syliphone #SLP.76)
           reissued in 1991 on CD with additional tracks by M’Mah Sylla from SLP.78
2008: Wamato (CD, Stern's #STCD1106)

Several recordings in the Syliphone RTG archive:
rec.1963.Nov.08: 11 tracks, starting with 02.Yatty (3:42)
rec.1964.Nov.07: untitled track (3:22)
rec.1968.Mar.12: 12 tracks, starting with 01.Bandankoro (3:11)
rec.1970.Jul.30: 13 tracks, starting with 01.Sona (6:21)
rec.1970.Jul.30: Shake Shake (4:36)
rec.1973.Dec.13: 4 untitled tracks, starting with this one (5:55)
rec.1977.Jan.23 at Festac '77, Lagos: performance (28:57)

Enjoy the music!! And while listening, EAT THEM RAW!!

PS: if somebody has recordings and/or footage of the 1979/83/86 tours, I'm very curious to hear and/or watch some........


  1. Thank you very much, I will compare with the CD (and its informative booklet), but it would be more interesting to do with the LP if any.
    I suggest a visit to the videos of Radio Africa.

  2. =>NGONI
    Have only my K7, but just found the LP sleevenotes (in french) here:
    Translating now, think I'll update my texts about Les Amazones soon! (they played in 1979 in Berlin!)

    1. PS: who wrote the text in the CD booklet?

  3. @ mangue
    About the booklet text is the same as Justin Morel, only it differs in the cut introduction, the length of the songs, and the extra text of the "gift songs".
    I have to listen a little more, but it seems much more emotive the audio K7, it is very different.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. updated biography and added parts of original LP sleeve notes