Balla et ses Balladins

February 22, 2010

Wow, I can’t believe I haven’t posted this tune yet. This is one of my favorite songs ever, from one of the coolest west African supergroups ever, Balla et ses Balladins of Guinea-Conakry. The lead guitar player, Seckou “le Docteur” Diabaté, is probably my favorite electric guitarist.
Part of the wave of national groups sponsored in the 1960s by the newly independent countries of West Africa such as Bembeya Jazz National, Keletegui et ses Tambourinis (love the name) both also of Guinea, the Rail Band of Mali, the Star Band (Etoile de Dakar) of Senegal, etc., Balla et Ses Balladins for me might just be the crème de la crème. This could be because Guinea, with their cultural policy of authenticité under President Sekou Touré, might have been the strongest in promoting and supporting the arts. It certainly was the proudest, staunchest opponent of France, being the only country to leave the French Community in the late 50s prior to independence (making the French livid and vindictive when they left the country).
In any case, Paulette certainly can’t be beat. The musicianship is of the highest caliber, and the relaxed groove gets me going like nothing else. I was going to save this post for a hot summer day, but figured it might help warm up listeners in the colder regions of the globe.

Paulette – Balla et ses Balladins

Also, here’s a youtube clip of the Syli Orchestre National (featuring members from all of the different national groups) doing a Balla song.


4 Responses to “Balla et ses Balladins”

  1. Matt Says:

    Great pick.

  2. Yann Seznec Says:

    I love how the vocal harmonies are really similar to the sax harmonies. lovely. and the guitar solo in the middle is genius. definitely one of their best tunes, which is saying a lot since their whole catalog is brilliant!

  3. Johan Neij Says:

    Thanks for this beauty and your oh so many others! I’m working my way though your back catalogue of blogsposts after discovering your blog a couple of days ago. So great to have all links active even after 4 years 🙂
    I myself stumbled upon a couple of Guinea original vinyls from the 70s at a fleamarket here in Sweden a while ago that I’ve been playing a lot recently. A comp with songs from these guys and also a killer lp from Bembeya Jazz National. Best fleamarket find in years! 🙂

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