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The Classic Guinean Guitar Group

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iTunes Review

The Stern’s Africa imprint once again prove themselves to be amongst the most dedicated and scholarly of the new crop of labels dedicated to reissuing vintage African pop by presenting the public with this phenomenal set of recordings from the Classic Guinean Guitar Group, a trio composed entirely of members of the famous Diabate clan of guitar virtuosos. The selections here were culled from a series of early-‘80s sessions cut in Sierra Leone, but finds the Diabates clan, led by Sidiki and Sekou Diabate of the Bembeya Jazz National, playing in a bewildering array of styles that seem to encompass almost every aspect of West African music, from lilting Son influenced ballads to Nigerian Highlife. The eighteen-minute “Solo Virtuose” finds Sidiki Diabate playing unaccompanied in an unrestrained display of technical brilliance that ought to leave the most jaded guitarist at a loss for words. African Virtuoses offers listeners the rare chance to hear these phenomenal players cut loose from the restraints of a full band setting, and should be sought out by anyone with an interest in Guinean music.

The Classic Guinean Guitar Group, African Virtuoses
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