Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Music And Arts Scene

African Records Review

By Kwabena Asamoah

M'MAH SYLLA: Le Rossignol De Guinee (SLP 78)
Kade Fakha' Loukhoure' 'Tiguini' / 'Salaya' 'Di La N'Gara' 'Sougue'

As we reported in our last issue, Les Amazones De Guinee the 16-piece all female group - will set foot in London for the first time for a four-day concert tour (February 26, 27, 28 and March 1, 1986) at the Shaw Theatre in Camden. Although the group has been in existence for more than 24 years, the personnel has naturally altered over the years. M'Mah Sylla, who possesses an impressive style of singing, is one of the latest recruits of Les Amazones and there are already signs that her contributions have further strengthened the already healthy image of the group.

Le Rossignol De Guinee (the nightingale of Guinea) was recorded during the 1983 French tour of Les Amazones together with Maitre Mamadou Aliou Barry, the distinguished leader of Kaloum Star Orchestra of Guinea. Listening to this debut solo album of the 28-year-old M'Mah Sylla, the picture emerges as to why it took her only a few months to gain promotion from Dirou Band of Kindia to the prestigious Les Amazones.

Bringing a new sense of hope to Guinean music, M'Mah Sylla here assembles an extraordinary catalogue of folk tunes to which she gives a personal touch under the direction of Maitre Mamadou Barry. Fatality too is a subject- matter never absent in many African song writings including M'Mah Sylla's.

She dedicates the opening 'Kade Fakha' to the late Kade Diallo (the drummer) who died in a motor accident some 50 kilo- metres from Conakry one month before the French tour of Les Amazones. Mamadou Barry's soprano sax and flute and M'Mah Sylla's lyrical voice summarizes the mood of the song. 'Loukhoure' is an appeal to ancestors while 'Tiguini Tiguini' is a perfect song for initiation and circumcision ceremonies.

The B-side has similar force of marimba, guitars and reeds. M'Mah Sylla stretches her lyrics to include social critique (Sougue'), death ('Di La N'Gara') and the orphan's misfortunes ('Salaya'). Mali's Djeli Moussa Diawara has scored a lot of successes in London and elsewhere with his Fote Mogoban album but it will certainly take a few weeks for the world to tune up with M'Mah Sylla's almost pure acoustic music on Le Rossignol De Guinee. The Shaw Theatre shows by Les Amazones is only part of the European tour and M'Mah Sylla promises to smash all records when she takes the lead vocals for Les Amazones whose Au Coeur De Paris is one of the African best-sellers. Have a foretaste of M'Mah Sylla's voice in Le Rossignol De Guinee.

DIBLO DIBALA: Ami Eh! Bougez! (CM 642)
'Etranger Amourexu' Je M'en Fous' Naleli Baleki' / 'Malika' 'Ami Eh! Bougez!'

It's rare to find a solo album of master lead guitarist Diblo Dibala but he might have already realised that it is not enough to play session for others, including showman Kanda Bongo Man. Enlisting the support of Maika (guitar), Remi Salomon (bass), Domingo Salsero (drums) and the vocal group of Fafa, Kanda Bongo Man and Niki Poto, Diblo Dibala makes a courageous attempt to put his name on the African music map.

The opening 'Etranger Amoureux" might sound almost familiar as a style but Diblo manages to put his personal touch half-way through the track with wicked guitar solos and synthesizers. Thanks to the drum beat and Denis Hekimian's Simmons drums, 'Je M'en Fous' adopts an entirely different mood and intensity. What is more likely to please ears throughout the album is the beauty of the vocals; it could almost be Youlou Mabiala & Co. or Koffi Olomide & Co.


1. MARIO Franco (CHOC) Zaire
2. ASANTEMAN Pat Thomas (JAP) Ghana
3. BOYA YE M'Bilia Bel (STERNS) Zaire
4. DIVORCE Lubaki Geant (ASWE) Congo
5. SERVICE LIBRE Eyango Ndedi (DICK'S) Cameroon
6. TRES TRES FACHE Remi Salomon (ASWE) Congo
7. ZULU JIVE VOL. 2 Various Artists (EARTHWORKS) Azania
9. 1x2=MABE Youlou Mabiala (APIA) Congo
10. XALAT Ismael Lo (CELLULOID) Senegambia
12. BARIMA NKWAN YEDEKofi Asamoah (DOMINO) Ghana
13. KEFIMBA Ousmane Kouyate (DK) Guinea
14. SO SO KYEN KYEN Dutch Benglos (YEB) Ghana
15. MAKANSENSEMU Stephen Osei Tutu (INTER) Ghana

Chart courtesy of AFROBOOM RECORDS,
1st Floor Wren Suite, 189 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16
(Mail order and distribution only.)

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