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Bembeya Jazz National

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Biography

Formed by singer Aboubacar Dembar Camara in 1961, Bembeya Jazz National launched themselves onto the Guinean jazz scene when they were named National Orchestra in 1966. Following Guinea's independence of 1958, private orchestras were banned and in their place were formed state-supported groups like Bembeya Jazz National. Their debut album, 'Bembeya Jazz', was released in 1968 and was quickly followed by 'Regard Sue Le Passe' in 1970.

In 1973, Camara was killed in a car accident. Though the band remained active, they never achieved the same success without Camara. They officially disbanded in 1991 after guitarist Sekou Diabaté and singer Sekouba Mabino Diabate left to pursue solo projects. They reformed briefly in the late '90s to release an album of greatest hits.