African Guitar Summit Features Acclaimed Virtuosos

African Guitar Summit Features Acclaimed Virtuosos

SOCORRO, N.M. – The New Mexico Tech Performing Arts Series presents the critically-acclaimed African Guitar Summit on stage at Macey Center at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24.

Concert-goers are invited to join Tech Club Macey for African goulash before the show. The themed-appetizer is free for members and $5 for non-members.


The African Guitar Summit will take the stage Friday, Feb. 24, at Macey Center on campus in Socorro.


Indulge in the sounds of the finest Canadian guitarists of African origin – 2005 Juno Award winners for World Music Album of the Year – African Guitar Summit. This star-studded collective unites the talents of five musicians, each an expert in their individual style and together creating musical magic with African Guitar Summit.

Experience live this superb and unique 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 … a truly incredible experience!

African Guitar Summit features the smooth fire of Juno Award winner Alpha YaYa Diallo from Guinea; from Madagascar, the quicksilver guitars and harmonies of Donne Roberts and multiple Juno-Award-winner, Madagascar Slim, and the heartbeat of drummer Kofi Ackah from Ghana. They are backed by electric bass and balafon, the African marimba played by Naby Camara from Guinea.

Their debut CD “African Guitar Summit” was honored with a Juno as World Music Album of the Year at the 2005 Juno Awards. Their second album, “African Guitar Summit II,” garnered a 2007 Juno award nomination in the same category.

Members of the Band:

  Donne Roberts

Donné Roberts

Guitarist (groove master) and singer from Madagascar lives in Toronto. Donné Roberts is a passionate performer. When he hits the stage he carries with him an energy that immediately exhilarates the crowd - even if they've never heard his music before. Donné performs mainly in Malagasy.

Donné Roberts came to wider recognition after he released two great albums “Rhythm Was Born” and “Internation” and for his contribution to the African Guitar Summit project. Donné was raised and educated in Moscow, Russia and now lives in Toronto. He was the first black VJ on MTV Russia. He sang back-up vocals for the Swedish pop group the “Ace Of Bace.” He is actively touring Canada as a solo, duo, trio and full Donné Roberts Band sharing happy music from Madagascar.

  Madagascar Slim

Madagascar Slim

Born Randriamananjara Radofa Besata Jean Longin, Madagascar Slim is the youngest son in the family and has three brothers and two sisters. Two of his brothers and one sister play guitar and his parents were both musicians although they did not play professionally.

His brothers played in a local band and they were into one of the most popular styles of dance music of Madagascar called “Salegy.” As the youngest brother, he wasn’t allowed to be in their rehearsal room, but he would closely observe his brother’s technique and try to emulate his playing on his guitar.

His parents sent him to Canada in 1979 to further his studies and get a good education. He quickly learned English so he could sing the kind of songs he had fallen in love with when younger.


Alpha Yaya Diallo


Alpha Yaya Diallo

Guitarist and singer Alpha Yaya Diallo, from Guinea in West Africa, is one of the hottest players on the current world music scene. Now based in Vancouver, Canada, he's earned a matchless reputation internationally for the excellence of his musicianship and the excitement of his live shows – whether performing solo or with his band. Diallo is a uniquely multi-talented artist.

His dexterous acoustic and electric guitar-playing, with its fluid melodic lines and compelling grooves, places him in the front ranks of African axemen. In addition he is a skilled and experienced performer on a variety of percussion instruments, and on the balafon (traditional wooden xylphone). To complete the abundance of riches Diallo writes his own compositions, and sings with a supple and beautifully modulated voice.

By successfully uniting the traditional and the contemporary, Diallo has carved a niche for himself beside such West African luminaries as Salif Keita, Baaba Maal, Youssou N'Dour, and Ismael Lo. But, if anything, the blend of musical elements to be found in Diallo's work is even richer and more diverse, a heritage from his childhood years. His father worked as a doctor-surgeon, frequently on the move with his family.

A self-taught musician, Diallo possesses a fine ear and quickly learned how to transpose for his guitar the melodic and rhythmic patterns he heard played on indigenous Guinean instruments. He was already in great demand as a musician while at school and university, performing with such bands as The Sons of Ra'is, and Syli Authentique. Eventually Diallo found the opportunity to move to Europe, and became a member of Fatala - a group of West African musicians recording for Peter Gabriel's Real World label.

  Kofi Ackah

Kofi Ackah

Master percussionist Kofi Ackah, son of Jewel Ackah, was born into a musical family in the town of Ema, Ghana. His father is known as the King of Highlife in Ghana, one of the best Highlife musicians in the world. His father was his mentor. The first band he played with was his father’s, known as The Butterfly Six band. After that Kofi moved to Canada in 1992 and joined The Highlife Stars with Pat Thomas and Theo Yao Boakye. He also joined the Afronubians band of Tarig Abubakar in 1993. He contributed in recordings, and toured across Canada 1993 and 1994.

In 1995 He joined the Tikisa Band of Adam Solomon, and toured across Canada and parts of the U.S. He also contributed in their recordings, which resulted as the double TAMA Awards Winners. (Toronto Africa Music Awards, best release Safari CD 1997, best band Tikisa). Kofi also was involved in school programs, teaching traditional Ghanian hand drumming, and singing. Kofi Ackah plays with his band Afrafranto playing Highlife music, in clubs, and festivals.

Local sponsors of the performance are the Betty Clark Memorial, Western States Arts Federation (Westaf), KUNM-FM Public Radio, the National Endowment for the Arts, Van H. Gilbert Architect and the NMT Graduate Student Association.

Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for senior citizens 65 and over, and $8 for youths 17 and under, and FREE for current Tech students. Tickets are available online at www.nmtpas.org, at the Cashier’s Office (second floor of Fidel Center), Socorro County Chamber of Commerce (10am-3pm, M-F), Sofia’s Kitchen Drive-up, by calling 575-835-5688 or at the door.

– NMT –