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World Music CD Reviews Africa

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African Guitar Summit
African Guitar Summit 2
CBC

By Matt Cibula

Published April 27, 2007

The nine members of this talented Canadian ensemble come from all over sub-Saharan Africa. It is fascinating to see how they all work together to recreate styles like Malagasy soul and Mdundingo soukous. There are certainly moments where things catch fire, like in the second half of “Reheme,” where the sleepy ballad bursts into lovely highlife. The excellently-monikered Madagascar Slim contributes a sexy song called “Sangisangy,” about how a guitar can be playful, and then backs it up with precise and playful picking. And Alpha YaYa Diallo’s impassioned Susu-language vocal on his Afro-Latin “Teme” shows the others how things should be done. But it is all just a little too polite, especially for a band with five guitar masters in it. Maybe they should have listened back to the swinging second track, “Apotrobodwe,” which reminds us that it is always better to be hot or cold rather than just lukewarm.

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