Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  Expert Witness
Books:
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Writings:
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Playboy
  Blender
  Rolling Stone
  Billboard
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
  Recyclables
  Newsprint
  Lists
  Miscellany
Bibliography
NPR
Web Site:
  Home
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
  Archive
Venues:
  Noisey
CG Search:
Google Search:
Twitter:

Consumer Guide Album

Mbuki Mvuki [Original Music, 1993]
Formally, this is more sampler than compilation--23 tastes of an Afrocentric catalogue that's long on cultural idiosyncrasy, highlighting many Islamic and Caribbean genres and several so local they're barely commodified. You figure that even if it induces some inquisitive soul to try Tumba, Cuarta & Kai and Songs the Swahili Sing--or, more fruitfully, Azagas & Archibogs and The Kampala Sound--there's no way so much weirdness can hang together. But back in the '70s, when Africa Dances made the entire sub-Sahara its oyster, it wasn't just because we didn't know any better that we didn't notice the clash of styles. The unifying force was John Storm Roberts's passion for the simple melody and the folk-pop cusp--the best term I can think of for the fusion of village ways and urban overload, naive curiosity and pancultural daring, that permeates the musics he tells the world about. On this labor of love from Roberts's associate Richard Henderson, the same spirit connects Professional Uhuru's "Medzi Me Digya" to, say, Unknown Street Group's "Asoi." You could carp about folkloricism on a couple of early selections, but starting no later than cut six, an eternal New Year's call-and-response from the Dutch Antilles, the tunes just keep on coming. A