The Story of Bembeya Jazz

Guinea’s legendary dance band, Bembeya Jazz, are a pillar of modern West African history.  Begun in 1961 in the flush of Guinea’s independence and Sekou Toure’s maverick presidency, the band played under the inspired leadership of guitar giant Sekou “Bembeya” Diabate.  This program delves into Bembeya history with a focus on the band’s 60s and 70s heyday, right up to recent solo work by Sekou Diabate. In the current age of hip hop and digital production that is helping to supplant dance bands across the continent, Bembeya’s music stands the test of time for its rich mesh of tradition and swing band drive.