Baaba Maal and Mansour Seck - Djam Leelii - Review
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critics' view

The most compelling and beautiful of West Africa's ever-increasing stock of folkloric preservations is a 1984 collaboration between two Tukulors, an ex-law student and a blind griot. Brit reviews suggest a cult record on the order of Mystère des Voix Bulgares: "timeless, resilient and dignified," "mesmeric, stately and gently stirring," "gentle, cyclical," "transfix and hypnotise," and oh yes, "on permanent repeat." For postindustrialized listeners, the interplay of recurring guitar patterns and penetrating Afro-Islamic voices adds up to background music with soul, nearly an hour of it on CD—in a quiet mood, we can still the world's sorrow by immersing in it. There's no point denying that it's valid as such. But my pleasure is dimmed slightly by the knowledge that the title track, for instance, is about young Tukulors forced by colonial borders and encroaching drought to seek work far from the roots the music celebrates. Seems a tad exploitative to bend such specifics to my own needs. At the very least I'd welcome a trot.

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Robert Thomas Christgau (born April 18, 1942) is an American essayist and music journalist. One of the earliest professional rock critics, he spent 37 years as the chief music critic and senior editor for The Village Voice, during which time he created and oversaw the annual Pazz & Jop poll. He has also covered popular music for Esquire, Creem, Newsday, Playboy, Rolling Stone, Billboard, NPR, Blender, and MSN Music, and was a visiting arts teacher at New York University. His famous 'Consumer Guide' continues beyond its 50th anniversary in his subscriber-supported newsletter, 'And It Don't Stop' - read about it external-link.png | sample the merchandise external-link.png | subscribe external-link.png
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