Syllart Productions' Via series began auspiciously with the illustriously annotated, gorgeously presented double-disc sets Afro Latin Via Dakar (capital city of Senegal) and Afro Latin Via Kinshasa (capital and largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Both of these volumes showcased the transcultural exchange between the music of Cuba and the Caribbean, and the Atlantic Coast of the African continent. While these two regions were the most obvious places to begin, Syllart continues its exposition here in Via Conakry, the capital city of Guinea. Without going into too much history, Guinea benefitted from President Sekou Toure's decree that closed down all private orchestras which played music with a strictly Western repertoire. As national orchestras with a more regional focus began to take shape, local cafes, hotels, shops, and whatnot began to accumulate 78 rpm recordings from Cuban sailors who either acted as DJs or swapped them out for local spending money. It wasn't long before Cuban music began to infiltrate the minds and playing techniques of orchestra musicians. Various popular Cuban tunes were covered in pidgin Spanish, but further, Conakry's players began to find real affinities between the rhythms and styles of Cuban music and their own. By the early '60s through the middle of the '70s, the Orchestre del la Garde Repbublicain was employing cha chas, merengues, and rhumbas in its own music, and certain groups began to spin off. Many of those are included here. The two most famous groups, Kebendo Jazz (four-time gold medalists of the National Festival) and Bembeya Jazz (check out their very special version of "Guantanamera") are represented here; the latter more than the former due to the fact that the Bembeya Jazz actually toured Cuba and exported their new sound for Fidel Castro, reportedly bringing him to tears. A selection of Orchestre del la Garde Repbublicain is among the 35 tracks found here, as are the stellar Horoya Band, Orchestre Paillote, and the killer grooves of the Keletigui et Ses Tambourinis. Some of the earlier music is quaint, but most of the stuff is hardcore Afro-Cuban fusion at its finest: Cuban and African rhythms combined with Latin horn charts and labyrinthine guitars make for irresistible popular art. Syllart has devoted itself to excellent sound reproduction as well as scholarly liner notes, which read better in their original French than they do in translation. That said, there is more than enough info for an education, while the music itself is literally mind blowing. Pick up the entire series, you won't be sorry.