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World Music CD Reviews Africa

DILON DJINDJI

By MARTY LIPP
Published April 7, 2006

Dilon
Riverboard/World Music Network

Maybe it’s because of the aging baby boomer segment of the world music audience, but it seems record companies are drawn to eminences gris who play rootsy music. The Buena Vista crew was obviously a prototype, and now we have this debut from 75-year-old Dilon Djindji of Madagascar. Djindji came to international attention through the multi-generational group Mabulu, here playing his decades-old softly swinging style, marrabenta. While much of exported African music is pop-oriented and electrified, Djindji keeps it simple. Centered around acoustic guitar and light percussion, Djindji’s music draws comparison to (Graceland fans take note) South African and Zimbabwean styles. Known as the “man of a thousand singers,” the veteran troubadour is not a powerful singer (he does have some rust in those old pipes), but he still imbues tunes with avuncular charm. This album may not set the world on fire like the viejitos of the Buena Vista Social club, but it is still easygoing and enjoyable.