Formed in Guinea in 1964, the original seven-piece line-up of this government-sponsored group had previously been part of a 25-piece ensemble that split into two groups (the other being Keletigue And His Tambourinis).
Led by trumpeter Balla Onivogui, the group also featured trombonist/saxophonist Pivi Moriba (Onivogui and Moriba were both teachers who had studied music in Senegal together and were known as the ‘Intellectuels de la Musique Folklorique’), and singer Kanté Manfila (the cousin of the better known Guinean singer/guitarist of the same name). By 1967 the group, which was based at Jardin de Guinee in Conakry, was 15 strong. At this point seven members left to work with Miriam Makeba. Balla recruited new musicians and within three months the Balladins were playing live again. In 1970 Onivogui was stripped of his title of band leader by the minister responsible for the government funded groups, following an argument over money. However, Guinean President Sekou Toure, who was a fan of the group, insisted on Balla’s reinstatement as leader having heard them announced on the radio as Pivi Et Ses Balladins. In 1984 the Balladins disbanded owing to the removal of government funding. Reminiscin’ In Tempo With Balla Et Ses Balladins compiles tracks from various eras of the group’s history, all infused with the glorious relaxed swing which was their trademark.