Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Baaba Maal: Missing You . . . Mi Yeewnii [Palm, 2001]
"Recorded after dark in the village of Nbunk, Senegal" with "guidance" from old postpunk hand John Leckie, this isn't as ecstatic as 1984's folkloric Djam Leelii or 1999's jamming Live at the Royal Festival Hall. But like both it avoids the intelligent compromises with which Maal has attracted some non-African listeners and disoriented others, and the concept works. Ambient sounds, traditional tunes, modern rhythms, choruses of women, working bandmates, and old colleagues all sound rooted to a place. The fairest recording ever of all the music this thwarted visionary has in him. Ecstasy can wait. A-