Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Kwanzaa Music: A Celebration of Black Cultures in Song [Rounder, 1994]
Kwanzaa, Black History Month, whatever--Africa's musical diaspora is worth celebrating by formal imperative. So instead of flowing like a good multiple-artist compilation should, this one parades the startling diversity generated by a root aesthetic of body-based polyrhythm, expressive emotion, and speechlike song. You'll hardly notice the three subclassic New Orleans/Texas tracks as you're transported Bahamas to Brazil, Peru to Mali, Sudan to Haiti to Zimbabwe. An inspiriting, educational tour de force. A-