Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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D.O. Misiani and Shirati Jazz

  • The King of History [Sterns Africa, 2010] A-

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The King of History [Sterns Africa, 2010]
This rebellious, outspoken, girl-happy Tanzanian Luo put himself in the forefront of Kenya's Luo-speaking benga style in his late twenties and was in his forties by the time two Shirati Jazz albums were released Stateside in the '80s, which was also when both were recorded. So just as Benga Blast!, a selection of Kenyan singles, bubbled more irresistibly than Benga Beat, cut later in London, the added effervescence of the chattering guitar and hyperactive bass on these 13 '70s dance tunes speaks well of Misiani's youth. Most of the front-loaded ones are social commentary, but about midway through six women's names bum-rush the track listing. Misiani had four wives and died in 2006--the victim, like his fellow Luo Barack Obama Sr., of an automobile accident. He was still recording. A-