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Oumar Konate

This young Bamako guitarist takes the tradition of players like Ali Farka Touré and Amadou Bagayoko to a grittier place on his impressive new Addoh (Tears). Recorded during Mali’s 2012-13 political crisis, Konate sings for peace, tranquility, and the love of a good woman. Traditional instrumentalists and the Debo Band horn section, who may or may not be among tonight’s advertised “special guests”, accompany him.

Sat., Oct. 11, 11:59 p.m., 2014

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ALL IN THE FAMILY

Mali’s renowned Diabaté lineage of praise singers, epic-poetry reciters, and kora players — hereditary musicians known as griots — extends several dozen generations into the past. Its most recent maestros are the late Sidiki Diabaté, who introduced Western audiences to the harplike, 21-stringed instrument; his son Toumani, the instrument’s current master, who released the world’s first solo kora album (Kaira) in 1990 and subsequently expanded its possibilities in groups like Ketama and his syncretic Symmetric Orchestra; and Toumani’s own 23-year-old son, Sidiki, who is a successful hip-hop producer in Mali, as well as the family’s latest kora ace. Released this spring, Toumani & Sidiki is a glorious collection of traditional kora music performed by father and son, whose brilliantly cascading notes complement one another like tributaries flowing into a common river. See them perform with singer and multi-instrumentalist Rokia Traoré tonight.

Wed., Sept. 24, 8 p.m., 2014

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Craig Leon

In the early ’80s, producer Craig Leon (Blondie, the Ramones, Suicide) recorded Nommos and Visiting on synthesizers and a Linn drum machine. It was a sort of motorik electronic folk music he imagined might have been enjoyed by the aliens who loom large in the mythology of Mali’s Dogon tribe. It holds up well, judging from an upcoming reissue, suggesting a finely textured high-tech jam session of African drummers and stellar visitors. Also: American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME) and Bill Kouligas.

Wed., April 30, 8 p.m., 2014

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Habib Koité

The sweet ‘n’ smooth Mali guitarist brings his new band to town for the first time. Gone is amazing balafon player Kélétigui Diabaté; newly onboard is Issa Kone, a guitarist who doubles on banjo. Koité’s new album, Soô, meaning home, was recorded in his living room and has a vibe to belie Mali’s chaotic political situation. Best of all, though, Koité has switched from nylon to steel strings, a crucial difference in both sound and attitude.

Thu., March 6, 8 p.m., 2014

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Behind the Blue Veil Contains Plenty of Information But Nothing Resembling Drama

Adopting the medium of cinema without attempting to meet its requirements, Robyn Simon’s 62-minute doc, Behind the Blue Veil, would play well as an hour-long special on public television, but feels confused as a feature film.

Mostly consisting of talking heads intercut with on-the-ground B-roll (there are a few characters, but little by way of vérité scenes), the film eschews the slice-of-life moments that can make documentary cinema so gripping. The subject is the Tuareg peoples of Mali, nomadic inhabitants of the Sahara desert whose unique culture and customs are under threat by economic hardships.

Once guardians of cross-Saharan trade (when it was conducted via camel), the Tuareg find themselves in a world where transporting goods doesn’t require their protection, and terrorist groups like Al Qaeda ensure that tourists are kept away from patronizing the villages out of fear of kidnapping.

There’s lots of information in Behind the Blue Veil, much of it interesting: the details of the Tuareg’s matriarchal social structure, or how the French colonization of Northern Africa erected the foundation of the Tuareg’s fall from power.

Two young Tuareg men do get some screen time as we learn about their daily lives (we see one of them, Mamatal, advocating for his impoverished people to Malian government officials), but what we’re presented with is a scattering of scenes amid an overpowering backdrop of geopolitical and anthropological explanation, and nothing resembling drama.

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Terakaft

Formed in 2001, Terakaft is literally related to Tinariwen, the oldest and most respected of the Tamashek-speaking Tuareg bands of northern Mali. Original Tinariwen songwriter Liya Ag Ablil (a/k/a Diara) joined his nephew, guitarist Sanou Ag Ahmed and Kedou Ag Ossad in 2006. Like Tinariwen, Terakaft plays what they call “assouf,” although you may know it as Mali’s desert blues. It’s still a vamping, hand-clapping, call-and-response groove.

Oct. 19-20, 9:30 p.m., 2013

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Sidi Touré

One of the Sahel’s sharper singer-songwriters, Sidi Touré is touring as a representative of Gao, Mali, currently under control by Islamist militants. His new album, Alafia, was recorded in Bamako and Paris and flows effortlessly with Mali’s blues-inflected guitars and supple polyrhythms. While he doesn’t break any new ground, he offers a clear line into one of the world’s great, and currently endangered, musical traditions.

Fri., Sept. 27, 8 p.m., 2013

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Toubab Krewe

A Krewe show usually opens with a percussive introduction; gradually picks up velocity as more surf, jazz, dub, and hip-hop ideas are stirred into the mix; and ultimately climaxes in a psychedelic neo-griot frenzy. This North Carolina-based instrumental, mostly-toubab (Wolof for “white”) quintet has spent considerable time in Mali, Guinea, and the Ivory Coast and has an oversize bag of compelling African riffs to show for it.

Thu., Aug. 22, 9 p.m., 2013

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Fatoumata Diawara

The Mali-born, Paris-based singer in the Wassoulou tradition makes her local solo debut. A gorgeous young performer who rocks out a little more than Oumou Sangare, whom she has backed, and Rokia Traore, whom she resembles on acoustic guitar, Diawara released Fatou on the tasteful and discerning World Circuit and Nonesuch labels last year. Expect her fans to be dressed to impress.

Fri., Sept. 28, 7:30 p.m., 2012

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Orchestre Poly-Rythmo+SMOD+Bibi Tanga and the Selenites+Chief Boima

With their chicken-scratch guitars and skull-violating wah-wah organ, Benin legends Poly-Rythmo sound no less wickedly funky in their recent reincarnation than during their ’70s heyday. Mali quartet SMOD contains both MCs and acoustic musicians, one of who happens to be Amadou & Mariam’s son. Tanga & the Selenites conjure a particularly Parisian blend of afrofunk and falsetto soul. Dutty Artz affiliate Chief Boima provides vintage vinyl and other afromedia.

Sun., July 22, 3 p.m., 2012