Vintage Afropop

06/08/2017The British Library Reveals Close To 8,000 Recordings From Guinea's Syliphone Archive

While this may not come as news to some of you, we just stumbled upon the amazing sound archive of The British Library, home to some "90,000 selected recordings of music, spoken word and human and natural environments" to be explored/streamed at will, if time permits. Among this vast collection is a segment dedicated to world and traditional music, "available for non-commercial research, study and private enjoyment".

Moving deeper into the proverbial thicket, we were initially tipped off by a tweet via Open Culture, pointing us in the direction of close to 8,000 Vintage Afropop Recordings Digitized & Made Available by The British Library, hailing from the archives of Radio Télévision Guinée, "created in the Republic of Guinea under the Presidency of Sékou Touré (1958-1984) following independence from France". The sound database is accompanied by an 8-page PDF guide, "created by project holder Dr Graeme Counsel, which gives a history of the archive alongside some recommended listenings".

"Sékou Touré saw the development of a national identity as key to the progress of his nation. The development of culture was thus central to his government. State-sponsored orchestras were created and the government bought them their musical instruments, paid them a wage, and created national arts festivals in which their groups performed. Foreign music was banned from the radio, and here the government filled the gap by building a state of the art recording studio and creating its own recording label, Syliphone."

So without further ado, feast your ears on this rich collection of sounds from Guinea, to be browsed by language, performer, recording title or recordist. Or move on to other sections. Your choice. In any case, you can't go wrong.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom