Kaloum Star is one of those bands from Guinea that has never really made into the limelight. Founded in 1969 by 'Maître' Mamadou Barry (the one with the big smile on the right) they only managed to get a couple of tracks on two lp collections and three single records on the Syliphone label.
I suspect this may be a result of their choice of repertoire. In Sékou Touré's Guinea there was a clear preference for the culture of the presidents ethnical group, the Malinké (or Mandingo). Susu, Peul (Fula) and the many other cultures of Guinea only featured in the folkloric music of ensembles instrumentaux or in ballet. Kaloum Star's strength lay in the Susu rhythms derived from the yankadi street parties.
It wasn't surprising that Maître Barry was very optimistic after the demise of Sékou Touré. "Without a policeman watching our every move you will see an explosion of musical talent in Guinea", he commented in 1986.
A year later they embarked on a European tour, which also led them to the Melkweg in Amsterdam. Their concert on May 22, 1987 was recorded by Dutch radio (to be precise by Dave van Dijk for VPRO Radio). Of these recordings here are five tracks (unfortunately I don't have the titles of these tracks).
I managed to get a copy of the promo cassette which they sent to the programming staff of the Melkweg. Recorded live in Conakry, the drive and energy of these four tracks is unbelievable, and it's the best (by far) of what I have heard of Kaloum Star.
Judge for yourself!
VA-Everyone's World from Andy Kershaw
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