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Bembeya Jazz National: ‘Regard sur le passé’, an epic anthem honouring Guinea’s Sékou Touré

In depth
This article is part of the dossier: Mythical African songs that made history

By Léo Pajon
Posted on Friday, 25 June 2021 09:45, updated on Wednesday, 30 June 2021 19:17

Born in 1961, the Bembeya Jazz National is the Guinean veteran of West African orchestras. BOURRON/MAX PPP

Recorded in 1969, the long musical epic poem that pays tribute to the country’s late president, Sékou Touré has been imitated far and wide.

This is part 4 of a 6-part series

‘Regard sur le passé’ also tells the story of Samory Touré, a Guinean resistance hero who challenged French colonial rule. “Culture is a better means of domination than the gun,” he once said.

After Guinea gained independence on 2 October 1958, its new president used artists as a way to consolidate power, promote patriotism and turn historical figures like Samory Touré into national heroes.

A tribute to bravery

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