Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Diabel Cissokho: Rhythm of the Griot [Kafou Music, 2019]
Inheritor of a centuries-old griot tradition and son of a renowned kora player who died of tuberculosis in 2003, this Damon Albarn protege with homes in both Cornwall and Senegal is a mellow-voiced kora master who's been releasing solid albums under his own name for a decade. But this latest one, underwritten by the do-gooding wets of Arts Council England, is the sharpest and most interactive by a noticeable margin. Pace and flow are smooth and thoughtful; individual tracks turn successively clear, spry, warm, traditional, solicitous, playful, ritualistic, virtuosic. An exceptional piece of album-making. A-