Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Sound of Kinshasa: Guitar Classics From Zaire [Original Music, 1983]
Much more than his Kenyan and Swahili anthologies, this John Storm Roberts collection makes immediate impact on American ears, first of all because its quarter century of Zairean singles carry a heavy Cuban influence. I prefer the modestly melodic Lingala vocals to their romantic-virtuosic salsa counterparts, and am more than content to follow the music's rhythmic journey across the Atlantic and back again as re-Africanization takes hold in the '70s. But I suspect the main reason I keep listening is that every one of these thirteen cuts began life as a pop dance hit. A-