This band comes from Guinea and is composed of 14 musicians and dancers. They are all Soussou (Mandingo ethnic group), they come from Coronthie, a popular neighbourhood of Conakry, and begun to play to together since they were young... a long musical trip from 1st Conakry "nijas" (musicians word corresponding to improvised concerts done in as many clubs as possible in the same night) to west african and european tours...
Guinean music is based on mandingo traditions and knew several breakdowns during last 50 years. One of these evolutions, known as "Antenthicité", impulsed (and controlled) by Sekou Touré government from late 60s to beg of 80s, allowed to modernize traditionnal mandingo rhythms integrating electric guitars and keyboards. These virtuosos and innovative musicians created a golden age of Guinean music, whose most famous band may be Bembeya Jazz National.
Les Espoirs de Coronthie deliver their own "Authenticité" musical approach as another ramification of mandingo music evolution: going back to the roots of traditionnal music, same rhythms and instruments (kora, balafon, bata, gongoma, bolon, calbasse and percussions; actually, kora and balafon players come from griot families, so received musical instruction from their fathers). But where the the old traditional griots sung histories and praises of the ancestors from Soundiata Keita, Les Espoirs' lyrics deal with more popular subjects and dayily life in Conakry.
This mixture contributed to their huge popular succes in Guinea (wide acceptance by all the population, contrary to reggae and hiphop not perceived so positively by older people), as a traditional music not focused on past but open on present and future (3 albums realized, they had also recording collaborations with some actual hip hop and reggae artists).
Les Espoirs are not specifically politically engaged, although their concert begins with 'Tinkhinyi', track composed during 2007 troubles in Conakry and messages adressed to the power representatives ("Tinkhinyi" means "honesty" in Soussou language)
Les Espoirs de Coronthie - Tinkhinyi (2009):
Chant leader: Boubacar Camara (Manguê)
Chant leader: Machété Sory Dondo Touré (Machété)
Chant leader: Aly Sylla (Sanso)
Balafon / Guitare : Mohamed Camara (Djélikè)
Kora / Chant : Sory Kandia Kouyaté (Kandia)
Bata / Calbasse : Nouha Camara (Colga)
Percussions : Mohamed Camara (Kizano)
Gongoma-harmonica : Mohamed Camara (Boy)
Bolon / chant : Amara Camara (Eric)
Danse : Souleymane Fofana (Kassa)
Guitare / Chant : Antoine Amigues
Vocal / Gongoma : Boy
A for those who have opportunity to go to Conakry, you can meet Les Espoirs at their club called FuguFugu FagaFaga (name coming from the sound of birds group when taking off).