Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Godwin Kabaka Opara's Oriental Brothers International

  • Do Better If You Can/Onye Ikekwere Mekeya [Original Music, 1995] A-

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Do Better If You Can/Onye Ikekwere Mekeya [Original Music, 1995]
Vocal strongman Warrior Opara and guitar heavy Dan Satch Opara carried the burden of Heavy on the Highlife!, John Storm Roberts's 1991 introduction to the Oriental Brothers, who are more a brand name than a verifiable cohort of musicians. Although third brother Kabaka was the first to break away from the original group, his gift would appear to be mediation--between the band's Ibo loyalties and its continental ambitions, its quiet youth and its jamming maturity. These five lively six-to-17-minute tracks are so sweetly indefatigable that their duration defines them--not polite enough for highlife, they seem almost like juju with a steadier pulse, or soukous with a less flamboyant bottom. Kabaka's guitar invokes both alien styles. A-