World music label Lusafrica kicks off its modern African music compilation series with the release of African Guitars Anthology. Though the guitar's roots in Africa date back to the 14th century, it wasn't until the late 1800s that the instrument became a major player in the continent's musical landscape, and by the dawn of the second millennium, African guitarists developed techniques and created sounds unlike anywhere else on the globe. African Guitars Anthology explores many corners of the continent, from the north (Super Rail Band slinger Djelimady Tounkara), south (township tunesmiths Mahotella Queens), and west (nimble-fingered legend Sekou Bembeya Diabate), to the islands of Cape Verde (virtuoso player and luthier Bau), and Madagascar (Malagasy folk music maestro Jaojoby) as well as destinations in between (Congolese rhumba giant Wendo "Papa Wendo" Kolosoy). A couple of surprising omissions, like Africa's east coast (for example, Kenya's popular music is dominated by guitar-centric sounds) and the vast musical offerings of Nigeria (where guitar most notably helped pave the way for what would evolve into Afrobeat) notwithstanding, African Guitars Anthology is a multifaceted look at the relationship between the instrument and its environs.
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AllMusic Review by Chrysta Cherrie