Crazy Jazzmen of Africa: BYG and the 1969 Pan‑African music festival in Algeria


Episode 3: BYG Records, an adventurous label, released a series of albums in the autumn of 1969 which became legendary when they invited the cream of American free jazz back from the Pan-African Festival in Algiers. A historic moment. August 1969, was Paris burning? Our story begins when a band of jazz musicians has just disembarked from Algiers to record a series of albums that would become legendary: BYG! The label chose this acronym as its name, using the initials of their three founding fathers (Fernand) Boruso, (Jean-Luc) Young and Jean Georgakarakos, better known as Karakos. It all started in the spring by the Champs- Élysées. … In order to achieve this, he got backing from Claude Delcloo, a French drummer connected with the African American scene, and Jacques Bisceglia, a young jazz photographer. The first – editor-in-chief of the avant-garde music magazine Actuel – asked the second – who was leaving for the Pan-African festival in Algiers at the end of July – to recruit musicians and bring them back to Paris. It was July 1969, and the city had become the capital of alternative movements. Summer on the other side of the Mediterranean promised to be a scorcher. The Black Panthers were spearheading their movement and had taken up residence in the white city, which had become ‘Mecca for revolutionaries’. In Algiers, where Eldridge Cleaver (the Black Panthers’ information minister who was wanted by the FBI and the CIA) had taken refuge, the Boumediène government, having seized power in a coup d’état four years earlier, planned to improve its image by organising a huge cultural festival, reflecting post-colonial politics. It would be the Pan-African Festival of Algiers, where many activists, from both sides of the Atlantic, would meet. Intellectuals such as the Senegalese anthropologist Cheikh Anta Diop gave lectures alongside the great leaders of African liberation movements such as Amílcar Cabral and Agostinho Neto. There were African American civil rights poets like Maya Angelou and Ted Joans. Barry White, Nina Simone, and Manu Dibango were also there celebrating. But they weren’t the only ones in the overheating capital. …”
Pan African
W – Yasmina, a Black Woman
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: Yasmina Lp (1969) Pt 1 41:22

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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