Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Khaira Arby: New York Live [Clermont Music, 2021]
New York doesn't mean Central Park, the Beacon, even Webster Hall. It's Annandale-on-Hudson, home of Bard College and just south of her American benefactors at Germantown's high-principled Clermont Music label. Arby is the the Timbuktu-based Tuareg-Songhai powerhouse who courageously headlined the 2012 Festival au Desert as jihadists bore down on her hometown, was exiled in Bamako before returning home in 2015, then died at only 58 in 2018. As the Festival records suggest, she put out live with an intensity she wasn't moved to match in the studio, so this is a treasure. What a foghorn. What a believer. What a band to push her all the way, with special props to guitarist Dramane Toure, who wrecks one called "Salou." A-