Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Sho Madjozi: Limpopo Champions League [Flourish and Multiply, 2018]
Although she signed with U.S. Epic in 2020, this 29-year-old biracial and multilingual Tsonga speaker from northern South Africa released her prize-winning debut album almost three years ago. Culturally, she's a worldly sophisticate--both parents worked for NGOs and she nabbed a Holyoke scholarship after growing up in Tanzania. But as a musician she's made the syncretic most of her nation of origin. As an Afropop fan I fret about being less than knocked out by so many current Euro-African fusions, but well before I was aware of her bio I knew this was a sureshot exception. While invoking the shoulder-rolling upper-body twists of a Durban dance called gqom, Madjozi's music generates the exhilarating release that highlife and rumba and mbalax and mbaqanga and so many other musics I couldn't begin to dance to myself stick in oppression's face. Pray Epic understands what a miracle it's got in its clutches. Pray Madjozi does too. A-