Les Amazones de Guinée

Les Amazones de Guinée are not only their country's first all-female group, they are also among the longest-running. The group formed in 1961 when a number of officers in Guinea's military police discovered one another's musical talents. It was not long before a few became a big band, performing the lively Afro-pop style that enjoyed sweeping popularity throughout the late '60s and beyond. The Guinean government soon discovered the gem in their midst and added Les Amazones to its roster of state-supported groups. The band dazzled audiences with its high-energy live performances throughout the '70s and into the early '80s, when group members began to push for a debut record release. In 1983 the musicians traveled to Paris for the recording. Already touted throughout the African continent and across Europe as one of Guinea's artistic triumphs, Les Amazones de Guinée were introduced to listeners worldwide thanks to Au Coeur de Paris. The women of Les Amazones continued to perform internationally, enduring several personnel changes and fluctuations in musical style. After nearly 24 years of waiting, fans were treated to a second installment in Les Amazones' discography: Wamato was released in 2008 by Stern's Africa to positive critical reviews. The record debuted in the Top Five on World Music Charts Europe, where it stayed for three months. Even at over 40 years of age, Les Amazones de Guinée proved one of West Africa's leading artistic protagonists, enjoying a second wave of fame and an entirely new generation of fans. ~ Evan C. Gutierrez

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