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Wamato

Les Amazones De Guinee
Release Date: 01/20/2015 
Label:  Sterns Africa   Catalog #: 1106  
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

In the early 60s, this group played 'unplugged': mandolin, violins, double-bass, bongos and congas were the tools of their trade...that is, when they weren't carrying rifles, pistols and machine guns. Because 'Les Amazones de Guinée' were originally 'l'Orchestre féminin de la Gendarmerie de Guinée' and as such were all serving officers and soldiers of the Guinean militia. They still are. By the late 60s they had added electric guitars, drum kits and a horn section and, now officially known as 'Les Amazones de Guinée', were touring all over Africa bringing their particular type of joy to the cause of African women's emancipation. They triumphed at the legendary 'Festac' of 1997 held in Lagos and, five years later, Read more recorded their 2nd album (1st as 'Les Amazones'), 'Ou coeur de Paris'. Between that and 'Wamato' is a cool 25 years but things move slowing in Guinea and, as is the way of these things, there have been retirements and deaths, notably of original saxophonist Fatou Souman and 'La Reine des Amazones', guitarist Nyépou Haba. But 'Les Amzones' are nothing if not tenacious and bolstered by new blood and under the direction of bass-player, Commandant Salématou Diallo, the surviving members took the long mini-bus trek from Conakry to Guinea to Bamako in Mali, there to lay down their guns and record in the same studio as Ali Farka Touré, Damon Albarn, Oumou Sangaré and many more. The flowing, loping rhythms so particular to Guinea; the harmonic cycles that mesmerize and seduce; the vocals, sometimes sweet, sometimes strident but always full of conviction; is there any other band like 'Les Amazones'? As they cry at the beginning of this album attests ' 'Retour en force des Amazones!' (The Amazones - back with a vengeance!) - these women demand to be heard. All woman, all-army, all-African: 'Les Amazones de Guinée' are utterly unique. Formed 46 years ago, they are an enduring symbol of African woman's emancipation. A national institution, yet 'Wamato' is only their 3rd recording - only their 2nd under the name 'Les Amazones de Guinée'. Tight yet fluid, after 25 years it is an amazing return as 'Les Amazones de Guinée' are indeed 'back with a vengeance'. Read less

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