Filed under: Guinea
Balla et Ses Balladins were from Guinea.
Guinea, officially the Republic of Guinea (French: République de Guinée), is a nation in West Africa, formerly known as French Guinea. It borders Guinea-Bissau and Senegal on the north, Mali on the north and north-east, the Côte d’Ivoire on the south-east, Liberia on the south, and Sierra Leone on the west. Its territory encompasses the water source for the Niger, Senegal, and Gambia rivers, with a coastline facing the Atlantic Ocean. The name Guinea (geographically assigned to most of Africa’s west coast, south of the Sahara desert and north of the Gulf of Guinea) originates from Berber and roughly translates into ‘land of the blacks.’ It is sometimes called Guinea-Conakry per its capital to differentiate it from the neighboring Guinea-Bissau (whose capital is Bissau).
Below is an attempt at translating the French liner notes from the back of the record sleeve (using the Google translator):
First national formation Guinean with launching the songs and folk dances African, “Balla et Ses Balladins” produce a more elaborate music, richer in the rhythmic fitting. Wrongly or rightly, one them called “intellectuals” of the African music of Guinea, because of the severe meticulousness which they bring to the orchestration and the execution of each title of their punished repertory. In their obsessional research of the perfection, the “Balladins” go until proposing two or three different interpretations of the same piece.
“Samba” (Face A), presents an unquestionable consonance with the “Rythm and Blues”, however it is popular very widespread in Wassoulou. The merit of the “Balladins” is to have taken it again, and especially to have left the support on the neck with Sekou Diabate – Doctor, whose guitar pluri-octave makes this sensuality melody and rhythmic of the organ electronic.
I don’t know what kind of fuzz pedals they had access to in Guinea at this time, but it doesn’t sound like anything else I’ve ever heard. Sextet Camayenne, who were also from Guinea, used a similar sounding fuzz pedal (may have even been the same guitarist) on their song “Kanimba”.
Catalog number SYL 545 on the state run Editions Syliphone Conakry, République de Guinée, released 1972.