Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Orchestra Baobab: On Verra Ça [World Circuit, 1992]
Rarely does Afropop's Cuban connection come out and kiss you on the cheek the way it does on "El Son de Llama," the trad. arr. charanga that sets the mood. Consciously polyglot, the band bends Mandinka and Wolof traditions toward Togo, and Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal's Cassamance as well as Cuba. But these 1978 Paris recordings are suffused with presalsa's elegant charm--the unostentatiously gorgeous arrangements make the less derivative Dakar-'82 Pirates Choice sound too off-the-cuff. Special thanks to guitarist Barthelemy Attisso for the extra melodies and saxophonist Issa Cissako for the messages from earth. A-