Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Tal National: Tantabara [Fat Cat, 2018]
It was a good idea to juice the title opener with some talking drum, a "kazagué" (?) I can't pick out of the hectic mix, and--especially--mouthy Zara Moussa, a Nigerien who has long rapped under the handle ZM although here she only sings. Another good idea was the lead solo one of three named guitarists takes on the so-called "Entente"--really, this uncompromising thing is an entente? Unrelentingness having been the specialty of this shifting cast of male Nigeriens for three CDs now--14 are credited, including six singers and four drummers--both effects render them somewhat more accommodating while remaining dead set on directing your attention to nonstop rhythm music. If Youssou seems too calm and unflappable even live these days, try this. It will not let you be. A-