The Anthem of the last African Emperor

Almamì Samorì Toure of the Wassoulou Empire, has been passed down orally over many years by Mandingo Griots. In 1969, on the wave of enthusiasm for the independence just achieved by the majority of states in the black continent, the Bembeya Jazz National, probably the greatest African orchestra of all time, made this epic into an unforgetteable musical suite, dedicated to the then president of Guinea, Sekou Toure, Almamy’s own nephew.
“Regard Sur Le Passé” is of a rare beauty and style, as well as being of unparalleled historical and artistic value and represents a milestone in the tradition of the vast people descended from the ancient Empire of Mali. Through song and music, the work tells of the heroic deeds of the leader Samory Toure, who at the end of the 19th Century was able to resist the advances of the French troops for over twenty years, representing the last bulwark before the final colonization of West Africa.

The idea shines with anthropological brilliance as the European musicians draw from their native classical tradition to reinterpret the epic musical of Samory Toure, the last African Emperor.
The Classica Orchestra Afrobeat has undertaken an enormous task – that of bringing to light a world cultural heritage of African oral culture. Directed by Marco Zanotti from Ravenna, Italy, the chamber ensemble is composed of a number of acclaimed and locally resident musicans who use instruments from European Classical and Baroque music, as well as that of the Italian folk tradition. to offer their own arrangement and peformance of this “epic musical”. In so doing, a common territory is created, where greatly differing concepts of “orchestra” may meet to offer a shared expression of the artistic community.
In commemorating the exploits of a leader to free his own land and people from the invador, we are inevitrably reminded of a number of European Epics, also passed down through the oral or written tradition. The clashing of the two “costituent” categories of a society such as the “native” and the “foreigner”, inevitably generates tensions, suffering, art. And in this sense both the bow of the viola da gamba as well as that of the African lute are witnesses to the narration of stories, tales of love and tragedy.

Sekouba Bambino Diabate - vocals
Baba Sissoko - storyteller, tamani, kamalen’goni,

Alessandro Bonetti: Violin, Mandolin
Anna Palumbo: Percussions, Accordion, Balafon
Cristiano Buffolino: Percussions
Cristina Adamo: Flute, Piccolo
Elide Melchioni: Bassoon, Ocarina, Italian Bagpipe
Fabio Gaddoni: Cello
Francesco Giampaoli: Double Bass, Bass
Marco Zanotti: Drums
Rosita Ippolito: Viola da gamba
Silvia Turtura: Oboe, English Horn
Tim Trevor-Briscoe: Clarinet
Valeria Montanari: Harpsichord

Traditional Chant: “Keme Bourema”
Original Orchestration: Bembeya Jazz National, Guinee Conakry, 1969
Arrangements: Marco Zanotti, Valeria Montanari
Direction: Marco Zanotti
Illustrations and visuals: Fabrizio di Baldo and Matteo Zanotti

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