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Kabu

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Yow! Cuing up Aster Aweke’s second album, Kabu, is like stepping onto an already moving roller coaster. The first thing you hear is ”Yedi Gosh,” a whirling showstopper in which the singer scats, yowls, keens, growls, hiccups — sometimes all in the same measure — like an Ethiopian Toni Childs on helium. But where last year’s monotonous debut, Aster, kept her multi-octave register, Kabu broadens the U.S.-based singer’s range with tight waves of fusion-based rock over which she can madly surf. The ride does slow occasionally — ”Bati” is a moody late-night torch song, ”Tchewata (Romance)” is graced with the harplike sounds of the traditional Ethiopian krar —but Kabu wants to prove that Aweke is a pell-mell modern girl, and it succeeds. B+