Live now

Sounds Of Resistance: Editions Syliphone Conakry

Conakry, 15.01.23

A special hour on Editions Syliphone Conakry, the Guinean state-funded record label that ran from 1967 to 1986, across the tenure of President Sékou Touré. The purpose of the label was to support and promote Guinean traditional and national music, at home and abroad.

Since its independence from France in 1958, Guinea's artists had been radicalised by an official cultural policy that sought to modernise the arts while still being faithful to the traditional roots. It was a policy called authenticité, and music was its prime focus. Under the policy each region in Guinea, some 34 in total, were represented by artistic troupes. These consisted of an orchestra, a traditional music ensemble, a choir, and a theatrical group. The government purchased new musical instruments for the orchestras, at a huge cost, and encouraged the groups to write songs about topics such as African nationalism, anti-colonialism, and anti-imperialism.

The Syliphone label thus captured a moment in African history when a new nation asserted its voice and placed music at the forefront of its cultural identity. Their’s is a story that is intertwined with the political struggle for independence in Africa.