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World Music CD Reviews Africa

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Various Artists
African Guitar Summit
CBC

By Steve Hartong

Published August 1, 2005

If African Guitar Summit confirms anything, it is that the sounds of the guitar can be as varied as the people who play them. The guitar has crossed seas, cultures and social classes. Electrified, the guitar now sits at the forefront of most genres of music. Captured here is a diverse group of competent African guitarists living in Canada, celebrating this thoroughly indigenized instrument. Showcasing traditional and contemporary African sounds and styles, this collection contains a dense thicket of influences: Guinea’s Alpha YaYa Diallo offers up an African Rumba Club sound (the opening bars of “Cette Vie” sound remarkably like the Cuban classic “Chan Chan”); the two-finger-picked traditional performances by bluesy Mighty Popo and Madagascar Slim like “Zanahary” and “Urwibutso” provide insight to the unique influence Africa has had on the guitar; and Pa Joe’s “Obaa Y Ewa” and Donne Robert’s “Malembo” reflect the influence of Western sound and culture on Africa. This project also includes interesting liner notes documenting the history of the guitar in Africa.

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