Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide by Review Date: 2013-01-11

2013-01-11

Sékouba Bambino: The Griot's Craft (Sterns Africa, 2012) Doesn't get his groove on as often as his craft, which as with all griots is best understood in its native language(s?) ("Diatiguya," "Moya Kankoun") **

Zani Diabaté & les Héritiers: Tientalaw (Sterns Africa, 2012) Underrecorded Malian guitarist's final album goes long on balafon and doesn't corral the singers he deserves ("Soubagaya," "Moussolankolo") ***

Juju: Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara: In Trance (RCA/Roswell, 2012) You'd never know there was only one African on this rocking piece of Sahel high-energy--Camara, sing-shouting hoarsely and making a racket on his self-fabricated one-string violin ("Djanfa Moja," "Deep Sahara") ***

Sory Kandia Kouyaté: La Voix de la Révolution (Sterns Africa, 2012) Projecting quite a lot of voix and not all that much révolution, Guinean paladin is less overbearing in his acoustic manifestation ("Fouba," "Namatimbaye") **

Gnonnas Pedro: Volume 1 (Syllart, 2012) Two discs worth of the Baobab of Benin, or so 'twas claimed--a little too dependent on Other People's Clave, I'd say ("Las Melodias," "Atimawuin Dagamasi") *

Sotho Sounds: Junk Funk (Riverboat, 2012) Roots revival fully worthy of the concept's primitivist conceit--Lesotho shepherds piece together their own guitars, fiddles, and drums ("Ha Kele Monateng," "Jerusalem") **

African Blues (Putumayo World Music, 2012) World-music easy-listening specialists achieve enjoyable as opposed to the usual saccharine (Mali Latino, "Ni Koh Bedy"; Issa Bagayogo, "Djigui") *

Sofrito: International Soundclash (Strut, 2012) Pokier and more clackety than the first, second rare-Afrogrooves-international comp is heavy on Caribbean Francophonie (Luis Kalaff y Su Alegres Dominicanos, "Agarraio Que Eso Es Tuyo"; Grupo Canalon, "La Zorra y El Perol") **

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