Counsel, Graeme. (2015). Music for a revolution. The sound archives of Radio Télévision Guinée. 547-586. 10.11647/OBP.0052.17.
In the era of President Sékou Touré (1958-1984) the Guinean government created some of the finest archives and libraries in West Africa. In 1985, a year after Touré’s death, an attempted coup resulted in widespread looting and ransacking of government offices. Since then, government agencies such as the Bibliothèque National de Guinée have been rebuilding Guinea’s cultural archives piece by piece. Guinea’s sound archives are located in the offices of Radio Télévision Guinée in Conakry. These archives, too, were damaged which resulted in the loss of the Syliphone archive – an archive of vinyl discs from Guinea’s recording label. My initial EAP project was to reconstruct the entire Syliphone catalogue and digitise it, and then to access the RTG archives and digitise any analogue audio reels of music held there. When granted access to the RTG sound archive I discovered close to 10,000 songs on audio reels. This chapter describes my three EAP projects which preserved what is perhaps Africa’s largest sound archive. It will also contextualise the politics of the music and relate a story of archiving in unpredictable and politically charged environments.
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