Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  And It Don't Stop
  Book Reports
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
  And It Don't Stop
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

Remmy Ongala and Orchestre Super Matimila

  • Songs for the Poor Man [RealWorld, 1989] A
  • Mambo [RealWorld, 1992] Neither

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Songs for the Poor Man [RealWorld, 1989]
Isolated culturally and economically by socialist underdevelopment, Tanzanian pop nurtures national treasures more diligently than neighboring Zairean and Kenyan styles--though since soukous is hegemonic from Accra to Harare, you can bet both compete mightily. Ongala's unbrassy lineup--three guitarists, three percussionists, a bassist, and a sax player or two--doesn't strive the way Afro-Parisian often does, which is a relief. Rather than relentless Afrodance upmanship, he cultivates a variety that suits Tanzania's folk-friendly cultural policy. And whatever their actual rhythmic origins, the up-front conga parts that double the guitar lines convey an esteem for both tribal difference and East African ways that complements the caring precision of Ongala's singing and the undulating buoyancy of his groove. Sweet. Strong. Maybe even self-sufficient. A

Mambo [RealWorld, 1992] Neither