Bembeya Jazz National - band/ensemble from Guinea.
The year 2002 was a significant one,it marks the first new recording from Guinea's Bembeya Jazz in 14 years. It is also the started an exciting new chapter in the life of one of Africa's greatest dance bands. Bembeya Jazz's signature four-guitar section is crowned by the sterling lead guitar work of Sekou Bembeya Diabaté-a.k.a. Diamond Fingers. The band's three singers still deliver timeless vocal harmonies topped by the sweet, high tenor of Salifou Kaba. Two of the three players in Bembeya's punchy brass section-Dory Clement on tenor sax, and chef d'orchestre Mohamed Kaba on trumpet-joined Bembeya back in the 1960s, and their lines still blare with the pride and enthusiasm of Guinea's first decade of independence. Nailing down the band's sensational, hard-swinging rhythm section is drummer Conde Mory Mangala, who has served as Bembeya Jazz's beating heart from the very beginning. The authenticity, spirit, groove and singular creativity of this powerhouse group remains fully intact.
In 1961, Guinea's visionary first president Sekou Touré had already begun his program of creating regional and national performance arts groups to promote the African spirit of a new nation. This was the year that a band was formed in Beyla, a remote town in Guinea's far south-east corner, near the border with Cote D'Ivoire. At the time, Sekou Diabaté had left the home of his musical griot family and was making a bit of a reputation for himself as a guitarist in Conakry and Kankan. When his uncle found him and told him he was being recruited to play in a new band in faraway Beyla, Sekou at first refused. I said, 'No, I'm not going.' My uncle said to me, 'Sekou, I am going to tell you. I am the young brother of your father. If you do not come with me, I am going to report this to Kankan. You know our laws. I am capable of obliging you to come.' So I prepared my things and we went to Beyla.