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Nobody told me this was a rock blog, so I've been planning a musical tribute to the Ottoman Empire for weeks. It'll probably run sometime after the High Holy Days (I've got a lot of sins to apologize for this year -- Phillyis, Clive, LeShaun, Ahmadou? if you're reading, please get in touch. I left the matchbooks at the motel and I forgot to ask for last names.) Also, this week the world music festival is running in Chicago. I'd post about that except I'm missing it all to stay home with the kid.

Instead, here's Alif. All I can tell you is what they put in their press kit. They are apparently the only all-woman crew in Dakar, the East Coast of African rap, out of a field of 3,000+ (gee, that's a lot of rappers!). Myriame, Mina and Oumy are on the socially conscious tip, using their rhymes to document daily life in Dakar. Hence, Dakamerap. I've never wished so hard I could speak Wolof. "Addu Kalpin" is apparently about a gang of thugs robbing minibus passengers. The sisters do sound a little squawky and disapproving on this track, don't they? Wolof-speakers, liner-notes-havers, I welcome your insights. Also, Alif? It stands for Attaque Liberatoires de l'Infanterie Feministe -- Attack of the Feminist Liberation Army. (Dude, you had me at hello.) The Buy It link sends you to Calabash because you can preview all their tracks there and tons of other stuff besides. It's my one-stop shop for Senegalese rap.

Alif is on this German label out|here records. When did the Germans get so hip? I was in Germany in 1989 and all I remember are jumpsuits and the occasional sex shop. And let me take a moment to give mega props to Germany's Trikont label. I've bought maybe six of their compilations and they're all gold. One of them had this tough Bettye LaVette on it. Cause bopst is right: we can't forget about Bettye LaVette.

Not all of you know this (warning: spoiler), but I have a thing for black women. I get it from the Jewish side. But just because I'm down with the sisters, doesn't mean I'm a player hater. Here's Abass, another Senegalese rapper, representing for the men. His case doesn't seem too compelling, but my French is rusty. Seidrik, des autres copains Francophones?

And then, Ciguli. The "C" sounds like the "J" in "Jew," and it rhymes with "Svengoolie." You know, there aren't a lot of English cognates in Turkish, so I'm flying blind, Latin alphabet notwithstanding. (And we don't have Turkish characters enabled, so I had to approximate spelling.) A very sleazy Ukrainian turned me on to Ciguli, which he described as "Turkish gypsy fuck music." Ciguli does mean gypsy, and my hips really do some surprisingly lewd things when I play this. But on the album cover the guy looks like Telly Savalas with a drawn-on pencil mustache. What's that about? Is he like a Turkish Stepin Fetchit or more of a Cantinflas? Dear readers, I leave the mysteries in your hands.