Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Fatoumata Diawara

  • Fatou [World Circuit, 2011] B+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Fatou [World Circuit, 2011]
A Wassoulou speaker who was born in Côte d'Ivoire and raised in Mali before pursuing an acting career in France, the subtlest desert diva to date is softer and warmer than the not dissimilar Rokia Traoré. Coming down as it does on the sleepy side of the line between entrancing and lulling that's walked by so many world-music hopefuls, her subtlety isn't necessarily a plus, and those who'd prefer a safer, cheaper taste can opt for Nonesuch's download-only Kanou EP, which highlights three of her more distinguished songs. But as it happens, my two favorites--the livelier "Bakanoba" and the twistier "Boloko"--are on this Nick Gold-produced import. And I promise I only found out "Boloko" opposed female circumcision after I'd connected to the music. B+