If you bought the Guinean edition of Syllart’s African Pearls, you’ll no doubt have been beguiled by the two gorgeous acoustic guitar instrumentals by African Virtuoses, a heady mixture incorporating lusaphone, palm wine and flamenco styles. The follow-up from Sterns serves up more of the same from the four Diabaté brothers, with Sekou Kouyaté and Abdoulaye Diabaté trading mellifluous solos over ever-shifting rhythmic support. Most tracks are from the same early ’80s album, although the final track from 1972, featuring just Papa and Sekou “Docteur” Diabaté, is an affecting, delicately nuanced example of the more traditional, reflective Guinean sound. Stunning.
This review first appeared in fRoots magazine.