Alpha Yaya Diallo's West African Summit at the Rio Theatre

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Talk about bang for your buck. Juno Award–winning guitarist and singer Alpha Yaya Diallo has made a career out of transporting the locals in his adopted city of Vancouver to sun-baked West Africa, where he grew up. On Saturday (December 1), he kicks things up to an entirely new level at the Rio Theatre, launching his West African Summit tour. Calling this a concert is a little like calling a two-week luxury safari a camping trip; yes, there will be music, but the 90-minute production also offers dance and a steady stream of West African greats rolling out the kind of exotic instruments you normally don’t see unless you cross the Atlantic. Directed by choreographer Alejandro Ronceria, the West African Summit tour will spotlight, among others, Naby Camara on balafon, Prince Diabaté on kora, and Mabinty Sylla of the National Ballet of the Republic of Guinea. Those names mean nothing to you? They sure as hell will after this hot-ticket no-brainer, to the point where you’ll be banging down the door of Highlife Records on Sunday morning and then buying everything filed under Guinea, Senegal, and Mali. Be there. And prepare to sweat.

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