Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Tartit: Abacabok [Crammed Discs, 2006]
These mostly female Tuareg exiles convened in Belgium in the '90s to brave the world music circuit, with who left Africa when and who went back fuzzy. For all their tinde drums, the folkloric chants of 2000's "Ichichila" seemed static and bare. But since then, the Mali explosion has brought with it Festival in the Desert and its children, and the forward drive here is definitely cognizant of the better-known Tuaregs of Tinariwen. Tartit play faster and ululate more as their self-sufficient gravity accommodates a Westward-looking groove. Afel Bocoum and friends carry one track, less familiar names three others, with Tuareg bassist Nasser a standout. If their veiled faces make you feel guilty, be that way. I take my Islamic connections wherever I can find them. A-