Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Diblo Dibala & Matchatcha [extended]

  • Super Soukous [Shanachie, 1989] A-
  • Laissez Passer [Afric Music, 1992] A-
  • My Love [Atoll Music, 1996] **

See Also:

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Diblo: Super Soukous [Shanachie, 1989]
Melding what's finest about the original into a conceptual variant--like Sweetheart of the Rodeo turned Gilded Palace of Sin, say, or the Time turned Jam & Lewis--this solo debut (later albums are available under the band name Loketo) is the best kind of spinoff. Though it's fronted by soft-sung Aurlus Mabele, Kanda Bongo's man Diblo Dibala dominates--rolling out sweetly, sheerly, endlessly, piling signature riff on signature riff, his guitar lines and interludes lift and lyricize the boss's stripped-down Afrodisco. Thematically, he's traditional Afropop. Spiritually, he has more going for him. A-

Laissez Passer [Afric Music, 1992]
The master of speed soukous succumbs to traditionalist tastemakers or repetitive stress injury and waxes (almost) lyrical (almost) half the time. Just because it isn't him doesn't mean he can't fake it--he changes pace a lot more hummably than his old boss Kanda Bongo Man. Check out the mandolin imitation on "Merci Papa." A-

Diblo Dibala: My Love [Atoll Music, 1996]
the kind of genre move you miss when the well runs dry ("Radi," "Reconnaissance") **