Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Tarika: 10: Beasts, Ghosts & Dancing With History [Triloka/Artemis, 2004]
Like so many folkies, Hanitra Rasoanaivo and her sister Noro Raharimalala are too damn nice and too damn sophisticated. But because they're so damn talented, they're also idealists sitting on a gold mine--Madagascar's rich, isolated, heterogeneous Afro-Asian music culture, which they absorbed entertaining their 90-strong Merina family well before they made it into college. They have plenty of intellectual ambition--their Son Egal and Soul Makassar tackle Madagascar's defeat by French-led Senegalese troops and its strong Indonesian strain, respectively. But this decade-marking retrospective of tuneful hits and apt remixes is just easy to like, a gratifying achievement for a band that's often too ingratiating. A-