An African experience at the Sid

Sid Williams Theatre, Friday, Aug. 28

African Guitar Summit plays the Sid Williams Theatre Friday

Doug Cox

Special to The Record

It would be difficult to name an instrument that has shaped modern music more than the guitar.

What we now know as the modern European guitar styles or the creation of styles such as the American blues or Cuban Son can all be traced back to Africa.

From deep down trance blues like John Lee Hooker to more celebratory summer dance music to the improvisational sounds leading to jazz, they can all be traced back to the motherland of Africa.

Enter the African Guitar Summit. This group  was originally put together in Toronto in 2004 to participate in a unique project for CBC Radio’s On Stage program.

In three days they created a band, rehearsing and arranging, sharing stories and experiences. On the fourth day the group debuted in a concert at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio. It was a magical evening that will be long remembered by everyone who was there, full of dazzling individual showcases and electrifying collaborations.

African Guitar Summit was released on CBC Records in November 2004, and went on to win the Juno for World Music Album of the Year. Their second album, African Guitar Summit II, garnered a 2007 Juno award nomination in the same category.

This star-studded collective currently unites the talents of five musicians, each an expert in their individual style and together creating musical magic.

The Summit features African blues guitar master Madagascar Slim; from Guinea, the smooth fire of Juno Award winner Alpha YaYa Diallo; from Madagascar, the thoughtful composer, powerful vocalist and sublime guitar player Donné Roberts; master balafon player Naby Kamara; and from Ghana, the heartbeat of drummer Kofi Ackah.

If you look at the bios of each one of these master musicians, you discover each one is worthy of their own story.

A modern slant has been applied to Malagasy music by guitar and valiha (bamboo zither) player and vocalist Madagascar Slim (born Randriamananjara Radofa Besata Jean Longin). As equally inspired by B.B. King and Jimi Hendrix as the music of his homeland, Slim has created his own distinct sound.

Alpha YaYa Diallo, who performed this past summer at Comox Valley MusicFest as part of the WorldBeat at Home Collaboration, has carved a niche for himself beside such West African luminaries as Salif Keita, Baaba Maal, Youssou N’Dour, and Ismael Lo.

Donné Roberts performs mainly in Malagasy, his mother tongue from his birthplace of Madagascar. Donné was raised and educated in Moscow, Russia and now lives in Toronto.

In Moscow, he was the first black VJ on MTV Russia.

Touring Canada, he introduces his music to new fans that might be unfamiliar with the kinds of rhythms his music conveys and his fusion of seemingly dissimilar sounds.

There is no live experience quite like this superb achievement for African music; the mix of musicians who are distinct in cultural backgrounds and languages yet sharing stories and singing each other’s praises, the inspiration of these skilled hands and voices joined in common to reach the summit.

Indulge in the sounds of the finest Canadian guitarists of African origin on Friday, Aug. 28 at the Sid Williams Theatre.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show can be purchased at the Sid William box office (Cliffe Ave., Fifth St.), by phone at 250-338-2430, or online at sidwilliamstheatre.com/

 

Just Posted

Last Simms Park concert of the season to double as a food bank fundraiser

Bring a donation for the food bank to the My Generation concert, Sunday, Aug. 25

City of Courtenay adds pickleball courts Martin Park lacrosse box

Lacrosse, pickleball, and recreational ball hockey players in the Comox Valley can… Continue reading

Stage 3 water restrictions in the Comox Valley beginning September 3

Restrictions in effect until Sept. 27 for BC Hydro scheduled maintenance

Fanny Bay Challenge asks visitors to support businesses during highway closure

Community rallies as part of Highway 19A closes for six weeks due to culvert project

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

Wife charged in husband’s death in Sechelt

Karin Fischer has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her husband, Max

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Retired Vancouver Island teacher ‘Set for Life’ after $675K lottery win

Patrick Shannon plans to buy new sails for his sailboat

Speculation tax forces sale of Greater Victoria’s iconic ‘Tulip House’

Bob and Jan Fleming selling their retirement home famous for its thousands of tulips

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Man at centre of dropped HIV-disclosure case sues province and 10 cops

Brian Carlisle of Abbotsford says Mission RCMP defamed him and were ‘negligent’ in their investigation

Most Read