Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Dorothy Masuka

  • Pata Pata [Mango, 1991] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Pata Pata [Mango, 1991]
Masuka's an old-timer, a Zimbabwean with South African tribal ties who came up in the upwardly mobile artistic ferment of the Jo'burg '50s. Because there's not much country in her, her "marabi" derives from Sophiatown musical theatre rather than, say, Zulu wedding music. Sprucing up tried-and-true melodies with mbira-based chimurenga effects, she constructs a swingingly syncretic popular style that partakes of more than its allotted portion of pop--and that sounds southern African, not South African, with none of mbaqanga's guttural thrust or mbube's intricate spirituality. Nobody this side of Abdullah Ibrahim has made the musical aspirations of genteel black South Africans so credible. A-