Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2012-01-13

2012-01-13

Femi Kuti: Africa for Africa (Knitting Factory, 2011) Still too entitled, still too grand, at long last a little smarter ("Obasanjo Don Play Yoy Wayo," "Politics in Africa") *

Seun Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80: From Africa With Fury: Rise (Knitting Factory, 2011) Heir apparent with less to prove and nothing new to prove it with--except, uh-oh, new musicians ("African Soldier," "Mr. Big Thief") **

Sia Tolno: My Life (Lusafrica, 2012) She's from Sierra Leone, she's trilingual, and it sounds more like her career than her life to me ("Blamah Blamah," "Ayiboh") *

Sidi Touré & Friends: Sahel Folk (Thrill Jockey, 2011) Pretty much what the title would lead you to figure, which is far from everything you'd hope ("Haallah," "Waya zarrabo 'Women Madness'") *

Boubacar Traoré: Mali Denhou (Lusafrica, 2011) When you're pushing 70 and your voice sounds it, you earn fewer charm and texture points in Bambara than in English ("Mali Denhou," "N'Dianamogo") **

Afro-Beat Airways (Analog Africa, 2010) Best proof yet that there was Afrobeat beyond Fela--though no frontmen like Fela, and some of it's kinda highlife, and some of it's from Togo, and there's loads of organ throughout (K. Frimpong & His Cubano Fiestas, "Me Yee Owu Den"; Orchestre Abass, "Awula Bo Fee Ene") ***

The Rough Guide to African Guitar Legends (World Music Network, 2011) Less than the sum of its oft-familiar parts, several of which you can do without a lot easier than you can Syran M'Benza's bonus Franco album (Eric Agyeman, "Nea Abe Beto"; Henry Makobi, "Omulanga Wamuka") ***

Yes We Can: Songs About Leaving Africa (Out Here, 2010) The new Afropop reality--a continent's worth of emigre Afrorap (Afrikan Boy, "Lidl"; Matador Feat. Gor Mak, "Xippol Xol") ***

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