1947 - 1950s
The Fiesta label for 78 rpm shellac discs was initiated by Fonior / Decca France in 1947. At the outset it specialized in artists from North Africa with Ahmed Hachelef as artistic director. Around 1950 the label also began to record artists from France’s Sub-Saharan colonies Senegal, Soudan français (Mali), Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Togo, Dahomey (Bénin), Cameroun and Congo.
As a Fonior / Decca France sub-label it predates Fonior’s pressing plant constructed 1954-1955 in the Belgian Congo. Given Fonior’s partnership with Decca in Great Britain and the geographical limitations found in British Decca’s West African series, only to include artists from Britain’s West African colonies, a quiet understanding seems to have been reached between British Decca and Fonior / Decca France not to compete against each other on the African record market. Seen from this perspective one could see the Fiesta shellac label as a parallel to Decca’s WA/GWA/NWA series.
However, in the early 1950s the Fiesta label soon found itself in stiff competition on the African market with new shellac series introduced by several other French labels Le Chant du Monde, Africavox, Pathé, Philips (France) and the Congolese based Ngoma and Opika labels. By the mid-1950s Fiesta seems to have given up on releasing new recordings with Sub-Saharan artists.