Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Sidi Touré

  • Hoga [Sterns Africa, 1996] A-
  • Alafia [Thrill Jockey, 2013]
  • Alafia [Thrill Jockey, 2013] B+

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Hoga [Sterns Africa, 1996]
Adept of the trance-prone voodoo called "holley," inventor of a trad-to-the-future band music where guitars vie wildly with calabashes over a swirling drone of African viol, this Songhai, whose day job is with Mali's big official Bambara band, is not to be confused with fellow Songhai Ali Farka Touré. He's weirder, and more active. It's a Gao thing, you wouldn't understand--until you listen, once. A-

Alafia [Thrill Jockey, 2013]
[2013 Dean's List: 57]

Alafia [Thrill Jockey, 2013]
It's long seemed odd that this substellar Songhai guitarist-singer landed on Bettina Richards's post-rock Thrill Jockey, where the bread-and-butter has been the communion-wafer-and-dream-whip of cool-jazz post-rock and chillout techno. But Richards has always made it her business to sign exactly what she likes, and why shouldn't she like the likable Sidi, who when finally vouchsafed a production budget came up with a Malian groove album more filling than the Sea and Cake, yet with a lightness I bet Richards groks. Recording in the teeth of 2012's Islamist surge, Touré eschews the bold anguish of that moment's Bassekou Kouyaté and Khaira Arby albums. The only way you can tell "Waayey" is pissed is that Thrill Jockey politely translates the title for us: "The Butcher." B+