Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Dama and D'Gary

  • The Long Way Home [Shanachie, 1994] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Long Way Home [Shanachie, 1994]
Dama is a classic folkie, a cosmopolitan leftist credited with inventing Malagasy nueva cancion, an elected legislator as renowned in Madagascar as Victor Jara was in Chile. D'Gary is a classic find, a prodigy-protégé from cattle country where the main road is an 11-hour walk away. Though their rainbow rhythms are formally unique and patently pleasurable, not even producer Henry Kaiser claims to apprehend them fully. The hook is D'Gary's distinctively Malagasy way with his recently acquired guitar, and even more, since that wasn't enough to put his solo album over, Dama's calm, good-humored, deeply assured vocal presence--a politician's gift from a place and time where oratory is still entertainment. Despite excellent notes, the satisfactions remain fairly general for the English speaker. But Kaiser and friends' understated filigrees remind me that said satisfactions far exceed those of similar projects--Ry Cooder's Ali Farka Toure soundtrack, say. B+