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The Acoustic Africa tour isn’t an easy-listening affair. Certainly, guitarists Habib Koité, Afel Bocoum, and Oliver Mtukudzi won’t be plugged in, and they’ve been limited to two bandmates apiece, but they’re also musicians who are as interested in instrumental rhythm as vocal melody. Expect them to bring some fire. Koité, an Afro-pop star from western Mali, is known for his warm singing and hybrid picking style. Bocoum, from northern Mali, learned from the late Ali Farka Touré and channels his African-meets-Arabic desert drones and raw chants. Mtukudzi, the veteran of the bunch, is known for his chiming chords and deep, gospel-inflected voice. Add in accompaniment that includes a Malian one-stringed lute, a percussive calabash, and a metal-pronged, palm-sized thumb piano known as the mbira, and you’ve got something more than a polite Disney-meets-Putumayo world-music soundtrack.
Koité, Bocoum, and Mtukudzi perform at 8 p.m. at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW. $25-$45. (202) 994-6800.