Pivi et les Balladins
Pivi et les Balladins
Balla et ses Balladins was one of the most popular bands from these initiatives. The group was named after their leader, trumpeter Balla Onivogui, who was born in 1938 in Macenta, a small town in south-eastern Guinea. Bala had been a student at the Music Academy in Senegal before being recruited to play in the celebrations of the Independence of Guinea in 1959. He quickly became a member & leader of the Syli Orchestre National.
One of the Orchestre National responsibilities was working with musicians throughout Guinea to train young bands playing traditional Guineén music. In 1962, to expand this program, the government split the Orchestre National into smaller units. One was under the direction of Balla Onivogui. This band became known as Balla et ses Balladins. They took up residency at Conakry Jardin de Guinée.
(The other group resulting from the division was the famous Kélétigui et ses Tambourinis.) Much of ses & les Balladins' success lies in the instrumentation: both leaders, Balla & Pivi are horn players rather than guitarists or singers. They were both serious musicologists, deeply into folkloric research. In 1970, government interference with the bands personnel forced the transfer of several band members to be part of Miriam Makeba’s back-up band while she was living in Guinea. A new singer was assigned to the band.
Balla had a falling-out with some government officials over their interference. He was briefly replaced as leader by his friend & trombone player Pivi Moriba, to be restored following the intervention of President Ahned Sékou Touré himself. Following the death of President Ahmed Sékou Touré in 1984, the Syliphone record label closed down. Balla continued with the band until his retirement in the late 90s. Although they have an all new line-up, the band still performs in Conarky to this day.
Balla Onivogui died from a heart attack on March 15, 2011 in Conakry at the age of 75. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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