Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Vieux Diop

  • Afrika Wassa [Triloka/Gold Circle, 2000] C

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Afrika Wassa [Triloka/Gold Circle, 2000]
"Making West African music accessible and enjoyable has always been Diop's goal," admits the wretched press release for this kora-tweedling WBAI host, as if the likes of--oh, you know the names, everyone down from Diop's onetime boss Youssou N'Dour--hadn't already created something powerfully new from the same idea. Diop targets the New Age folkie escapists milked by his producer, TV-soundtrack titan Brian Keane, and the result has all the tensile strength of vanilla pudding. Admittedly, he's not the only African to utter a sentiment like "We are all but flowers in the field/To nature's changing seasons we must yield/We only have but one season under the sun/We'd best take care before our time is done." But usually African homilies are starker--and even when they aren't, they sound starker. C