The past few years have seen a virtual caravan of North African bands emerge from the Sahara Desert. Khaïra Arby and her band of Tuareg and Sonrai musicians, however, pack local traditions into the most powerful, colorful, and joyously regal act of them all. Hailing from Timbuktu, Arby blends the trance-y desert grooves played by Tuareg bands such as Tinariwen and Etran Finatawa with the daredevil vocal acrobatics of Mali’s famed female singers of Wassoulou. Like a Muslim Koko Taylor, this big middle-aged presence belts out songs condemning female circumcision or praising Mohammed with passion, grit, and endless invention. Taught by the renowned guitarist Ali Farka Touré, Arby gets a huge assist from one of the finest guitarists to emerge from any continent recently, the blistering teenage prodigy Abdremane Touré.
Thu., July 7, 6:30 p.m., 2011

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