Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Mory Kante: Sabou [Riverboat, 2004]
"Acoustic" album by the griot and Rail Band alum, whose early-'90s Mango crossover attempt never followed up on the market-changing 1987 Afrodisco hit "Yé Ké Yé Ké." Note that in West Africa acoustic doesn't mean quiet or contemplative. It means disco isn't working anymore, and it also means neotraditionalist. Strictly speaking, horns are acoustic, but who needs 'em, and when doun doun drums don't generate the bass you need, why not cheat now and then with an "electro-acoustic"? Point is, on most of these tunes the groove is fierce and subtle, and on the others subtle is enough. Strong women add drive and state melody. Kante's kora and Adama Condé's balafon embellish in rhythm. A-