Bembeya Jazz

Bembeya Jazz was (and still is) the most famous orchestra of Guinea. It was founded in 1961 as Orchestre de Beyla, named after their home town in the South-East part of Guinea, far from the capital.
After a first album in 1962, they became known as Bembeya Jazz National and singers Aboubacar Demba Camara and Salifou Kaba joined the band. They won the first price at the national arts festivals in 1964 and 1965, subsequently, Bembeya became a National Orchestra in 1966.

Blending Guinean mandingo musical traditions with Cuban and Congolese influences, the outstanding voice of Demba Camara, and the guitar hero Sekou "Bembeya" Diabaté were the ingredients that contributed to their fame. Bembeya toured throughout Africa, and they visited Cuba as well as Russia in the 1960s and 1970s. They were the first in Africa to make a musical « Régard sur le passé » about the struggle of leader Almamy Samory Touré against imminent colonial rule in Guinea.
The tragic death of the lead singer Demba Camara on April 5, 1973 created a shock both to the African public and to the other band members. For three years, Bembeya didn't perform at all.

Around 1976, Bembeya started to perform and record again, with singers Youssouf Bah, Mory Kouyaté and Sekouba Bambino Diabaté. Until the second half of the 1980s, Bembeya was again very successful with songs like « Telegramme » and « Wa Kele ». Towards the end of the 1980s, things became more and more difficult for the band, and several band members started solo careers. Although the band was never dissolved, they performed only occasionally in Guinea.

In 1998, they were invited in Guinea to perform again at the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Samory Touré's death. Four years later, they performed on the Musiques Métisses Festival and recorded a first new album after nearly 14 years.

Musicians on « Bembeya » (2002) album (Bembeya Jazz reformation):
Sekou "Bembeya" Diabaté solo guitar, arrangements
Mohamed Achken Kaba trumpet, chef d'orchestre
Koita Aboubacar tenor sax
Doré Clément alt sax
Condé Mory Mangala drums
Papa Kouyaté percussion
Kaba Salifou vocals
Youssouf Bah vocals (lead on tracks 4, 5, 7, 8)
Doumbouya Alseny vocals (lead on tracks 2, 3, 6)
Condé Mamady bass
Kouyaté Mamady rhythm guitar
Kova Bavogui rhythm guitar

Demba Camara
 Aboubacar Demba Camara 

Formed: 1961 in Beyla, East Guinea
Style: modern Guinean music / mandingo music

Title Year Label Remarks
Belle époque vol.2 2011 Syllart 2CD compilation
Belle époque vol.1 2011 Syllart 2CD compilation
The Syliphone Years 2007 Stern's STCD3029-30 2 CD compilation, new edition
Classic Titles 2006 Cantos Compilation
The Syliphone Years 2004 Stern's STCD3021-22 2 CD compilation
Bembeya 2002 Marabi Production 46802-2 New recordings
Hommage à Demba Camara 2000 Syllart 38222-2 CD reissue
Authenticité 73 - Parade africaine 2000 Syllart 38221-2 CD reissue
Défi & Continuité 2000 Syllart 38217-2 CD reissue
10 Ans de succès 1999 Syllart 38207-2 CD reissue
Regard sur le passé 1999 Syllart 38206-2 CD reissue
Wa Kele 1989 Sonodisc ESP 8460
Sabu 1987 Sonodisc ESP 8442
Yekeke 1986 Sonodisc ESP 8431
Moussokoro 1986 Sonodisc ESP 8430
Télégramme 1985 Sonodisc ESP 8418
Spécial recueil-souvenir
(Mémoire de Aboubacar Demba Camara)
1977 Syliphone SLP 65 re-issue of SLP 44
with tracks Boiro & Doni Doni
Regard sur le passé:
Le premier grand concert musical guinéen
1977 Syliphone SLP 64 re-issue of SLP 10
La Continuité 1977 Syliphone SLP 61
Le défi 1976 Syliphone SLP 59
Spécial recueil-souvenir
(Mémoire de Aboubacar Demba Camara)
1974 Syliphone SLP 44 with tracks Armée guinéenne & N'wato M'barale
Authenticité 73 - Parade africaine 1973 Syliphone SLP 39
Regard sur le passé:
Le premier grand concert musical guinéen
1972 Syliphone SLP 34 re-issue of SLP 10
Live 10 ans de succès:
Gala d'anniversaire en direct du Palais du Peuple
1971 Syliphone SLP 24
Regard sur le passé:
Le premier grand concert musical guinéen
1969 Syliphone SLP 10
Sous la direction de Diaoune Hamidou 1967 Syliphone SLP 4


Page added September 2001