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Saturday, Sept. 4, 2010

Khaira Arby

Timbuktu Tarab (Clermont Music)

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The desert land of Mali and the southern Sahara has nurtured remarkable music in recent years, especially from the band called Tinariwen. In much the same way, Malian singer Khaira Arby combines bluesy electric guitar grooves with the percussive syncopation of the scraper and the calabash along with the call and response that is the ancestor of African-American spirituals. Her voice is a powerful emotional surge rising from the cresting waves of her hypnotic backing musicians and chorus. Much of the music is deeply rooted in the nomadic traditions of the desert; subtract the electric guitars and Arby is back in centuries past, dancing around the flickering campfire under a starry night.