Sory Kandia Kouyaté was born into a prominent family of musicians and storytellers in pre-independence Guinea. He moved from the royal court of a local ruler to the urbane company of revolutionary artists and future politicians until in 1958, the year of Guinea’s independence, his strong, resonant voice was at its peak. The president and the new government of Guinea knew how important Sory Kandia was as a cultural ambassador to Guinea and he in turn understood and supported the revolution. The ‘Voice of the Revolution’ represented Guinea at the United Nations, throughout Africa and behind the Iron Curtain.
“With a voice that could cut hair at a hundred paces, he bridges the gap between the pre-recording era of singers we can only know about in stories, and those such as Salif Keita and Mory Kanté who live in our digital files of today.” – Sterns Music
Sory Kandia Kouyaté has one of the most powerful voices I have ever heard. The Independent writes “this is shivers-down-the-spine stuff.” Here is a singer whose voice is so powerful, the microphones back in the late 50’s had trouble handling his range. It is no wonder that Sory Kandia is considered one of the most important West African griots to have ever lived. While there is little information about this master available online, the good folks at Sterns Music have been busy reissuing his material and today will release a two-disc set of Sory Kandia Kouyaté’s music entitled La Voix de la Révolution. The material ranges from the contemporary to the traditional. This is your chance to get more familiar with a musical legend from Guinea, whose music is timeless. Take a listen to “Souaressi” from this new release below.