Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Kékélé: Rumba Congo [Sterns Africa, 2001]
Led by the now ailing guitar legend Papa Noel, eight well-grizzled veterans of the soukous wars sit around the kitchen of the heart and play some songs they've been working on. As long on lilt as it is devoid of drive, the abiding quietude is irrelevant to an up-and-at-'em mood. But when nothing seems sweeter than home, it's a blessed comfort--the harmonies whispering, the drums twining, the groove massaging each overtaxed muscle until the blood can do its work there and flow on. A-