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In search of the African roots of the banjo, Canadian picker Jayme Stone went to Mali last year, seeking out musicians of all stripes while traveling on rickety buses. Meanwhile, Malian kora player and vocalist Mansa Sissoko had moved to the Great White North, and that’s where he, Stone, and various Malian and Canadian musicians eventually recorded Africa to Appalachia. Stone, who has played bluegrass, jazz, and old-timey mountain styles, could have turned this into a stereotypical world-music hodgepodge, but instead he largely tries to adapt his banjo playing to traditional West African arrangements that showcase Sissoko’s gorgeous harp-like instrumentation, and occasional muezzin-like vocals. Cuts like the lilting “Kaira Ba” and the delicate “Tene” easily outshine the flashy newgrass take on the traditional “Chinquapin Hunting.”
JAYME STONE AND MANSA SISSOKO PERFORM AT 7:30 P.M. AT SAINT MARK PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 10701 OLD GEORGETOWN ROAD, ROCKVILLE. $18. (301) 754-3611.