Amazones de Guinée

Les Amazones de Guinée are unique in various ways. Most of all because they are an all-women band, but also because typically all members are part of the Guinean « Gendarmerie ».
In existence since 1961, they used at first acoustic instruments, such as mandolin, various percussion instruments (bongos, congas), as well as violins. Around 1965, the band adopted electric guitars, saxophones and a drum kit. By that time, their name was changed into Les Amazones de Guinée, named after the all-women warriors of Fon king Béhanzin in Dahomey, present-day Benin, who even gave the French troops a hard time during the last decade of the 19th century.

Les Amazones performed in various African countries and represented Guinea at various occasions throughout the 1960s and 1970s, their highest achievement being their participation in the FESTAC festival in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1977. Only in 1983, they travelled to Paris for a concert, and a first album was recorded and released. Over the years, things became quiet around Les Amazones. Kade Diallo died in a car accident the same year as their French tour, and « La reine des Amazones », Nyépou Haba, died in 2004 after illness. Also Fatou Soumah is no longer among us, and others retired from the Army and thus from the Amazones.

In 2006, an old dream became true as the Amazones could record a new album, with a few new recruits, and the help of guest singers Fatou Nylon Barry (from the Ensemble Instrumental et Choral National), Aminata Kamissoko and the dancers-singers from Zawagui. It was the first album by Les Amazones in more than 20 years since their Paris concert and album. The new album was recorded in Bamako (studio Bogolan) and was met with positive critical reviews.

Amazones de Guinée
 Amazones de Guinée 
Current band members:
Commandant Salématou Diallo chef d'orchestre, bass
Commandant Djenabou Bah tenor sax
Capitaine Elisabeth Camara conga
Capitaine Mato Camara timbales
Lieutenant M'Mah Sylla vocal
Lieutenant Fatoumata N'Gady Keita vocal
Daloba Keita vocal
Yaya Kouyaté solo guitar
N'Sira Tounkara rhythm guitar
Mariama Camara alto sax
Mamade Cissé drums
Band members around 1983:
Salématou Diallo bass
Sona Diabaté vocals
M'Mah Sylla vocals
Condette Kouyaté vocals
Fatou Soumah (†) alto sax
Nyépou Haba († 3 April 2004) guitar
Kade Diallo († 25th February 1983) percussion
Zénab Bah tenor sax
and others

Formed: 1961, as l'Orchestre féminin de la Gendarmerie de Guinée
Style: modern Guinean music / mandingo music

Title Year Label Remarks
Wamato 2008 Stern's STCD1106 Syllart/Discograph
Au coeur de Paris [1990] Bolibana 42076-2 CD release of the 1983 album, plus a few songs by M'mah Sylla
Au coeur de Paris 1983 Production Enimas SLP 76 Subtitle: Spécial show au Théâtre
de la Mutualité, Paris - 6 avril 1983

Sources [external link].

Page added February 2012