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http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/8c38622ff212ec73570e16fabb1456fe159e7f14.jpg The Voice of Lightness Vol. 2

Tabu Ley Rochereau

The Voice of Lightness Vol. 2

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March 10, 2011

If Fela Kuti was Africa's James Brown, Tabu Ley Rochereau was its Sam Cooke, a singer whose sweet vocals — delivered mainly in French and Lingala — were a gold standard for more than 30 years. The Congolese bandleader was a talent magnet, and this two-CD anthology from his career's second half, 1977-1993, shows his artisanal guitar armies and horn sections stretching out — most songs clock in around 10 minutes. "Ohambe" features Afropop guitar hero Dr. Nico; "Loyenghe" shows off the birdsong voice of Mbilia Bel, Rochereau's superstar protégée. But on the reggae-inflected "Ekeseni" and elsewhere, his sublime, purring high tenor needs no co-star.

Listen to "Mère Ando" and "Lisanga Ya Banganga":

Gallery: Random Notes, Rock's Hottest Photos

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