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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

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Rock 'n' roll has roots in African music, and rock has, in turn, influenced contemporary music in Africa. Still, the continent has not produced many bonafide rockers.

Reviewer Banning Eyre says that's changing. He's been listening to two recent releases, which he says are pure rock 'n' roll.

BANNING EYRE: The bluesy scales and shuffling rhythms American rock fans grew up with also exist in West African traditional music. They're a legacy of the Atlantic slave trade. But rock 'n' roll is fundamentally a reflection of the American experience. There's a gritty attitude and expansive spirit that's been missing from African takes on the genre - until now, that is.

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EYRE: That's a guitar break from the opening track on "Fondo," the second release from Vieux Farka Toure of Mali. Vieux's late father, Ali Farka Toure, was celebrated as an African bluesman, but his guitar playing had a kind of mystic restraint. He rarely poured on the riffs the way his son does on almost every track of "Fondo." This is a guitar hero that any rock fan or jam-band aficionado could adore.

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EYRE: While Vieux Farka Toure tours his band on the U.S. festival circuit, London-based guitarist Justin Adams has been taking time out from his gig with Robert Plant to rock out West African style with a traditional Fulani musician from the Gambia, Juldeh Camara. Their CD is called "Tell No Lies."

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EYRE: Justin Adams' production style has been described as Clash-meets-desert, but it also includes a healthy dose of R&B, Bo Diddley and the spookier side of the Stones and Led Zeppelin. What's amazing in this group is the way Adams inspires such raw spontaneity from his key collaborator, Juldeh Camara, both on vocals and on his one-string violin called riti.

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EYRE: From West Africa, to the cities of the America, to the U.K. and back to the West African source, Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara, like Vieux Farka Toure, are helping to tighten a big circle of history and music. This process has been going on for a long time, but it's never come so easily.

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SIEGEL: Banning Eyre is senior editor at afropop.org. He was talking about two albums: "Fondo" by Vieux Farka Toure and "Tell No Lies" by Justin Adams and Juldeh Camara.

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