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I surmised that these were the master tapes for potential Syliphone releases.
Of all of Africa’s major recording labels we held Syliphone in very high regard.
As my Syliphone collection began to grow, so did my efforts to re-create the complete discography.
I returned to West Africa on subsequent occasions to continue my research, and each time I sought Syliphone recordings.
A lot of care had gone into their production: the cover art was high quality glossy colour; the lyrics of the songs were often provided; the musicians were named; and lengthy annotations providing a musicological analysis were featured on many of the back covers.
Another remarkable feature was the excellent quality of the audio.
The building had been bombed by artillery and the collection of Syliphone discs was lost.
I was shown some audio recordings on reel-to-reel magnetic tape that consisted of unreleased recordings by Guinean orchestras of the Syliphone era.
I was compelled to go to West Africa because of my interest in the origins of the Blues, and my research led me on a journey to trace its roots via the trans-Atlantic slave trade from Africa to the New World., and this inspired my broader enquiries into the music of the region.
The Mandé are one of the largest ethnic groups in West Africa.
Upon returning to Australia, I discovered that not only was scholarly research concerning the music of Guinea almost non-existent, but that of the few published discographies of West African music none could produce a complete list of Syliphone recordings.
It became apparent that the only way to discover more about Syliphone was to obtain more of its catalogue.
The sound engineer’s positioning of the microphones, the subtle use of echo effects, and the fidelity of the production were of the most exceptional standard when compared with recordings of a similar type.