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:

Zap Mama

  • Adventures in Afropea 1 [Luaka Bop/Warner Bros., 1993] A-
  • Sabsylma [Luaka Bop/Warner Bros., 1994] *
  • Seven [Luaka Bop/Warner Bros., 1997] **
  • A Ma Zone [Luaka Bop, 1999] Dud
  • Ancestry in Progress [Luaka Bop/V2, 2004] ***

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Adventures in Afropea 1 [Luaka Bop/Warner Bros., 1993]
Like most a cappella, this ethnomusicological pop move--melodies lifted from all over Africa as well as Spain and Cuba and Syria, with Zairian tunes and Pygmy chants foregrounded--requires concentration. In the background it can fade or annoy, but on the Walkman, or a good sound system with the street noise under control, it's pure joy of timbre--female timbre, plus clicks and gutturals and percussion sounds and camel-driver impressions. And unless you fancy ethnomusicology lectures, which tend to be prissy, don't worry about the words. A-

Sabsylma [Luaka Bop/Warner Bros., 1994]
splitting the difference between sound effects and multilingualism ("De la Vie à la Mort," "Mr. Brown") *

Seven [Luaka Bop/Warner Bros., 1997]
world-beat at its all too all-embracing best ("Baba Hooker," "Beigo Zaïroise") **

A Ma Zone [Luaka Bop, 1999] Dud

Ancestry in Progress [Luaka Bop/V2, 2004]
Pygmies and babies sing the African diaspora that is her life ("Whatdidusay?" "Zap Bébés"). ***