There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Mission of Burma and Wire aren’t the only influential ’70s groups proving that “reunited” doesn’t have to be a dirty word. After breaking up in 1987, the Senegal-based Orchestra Baobab began playing together again in 2002, inspired by the positive reception to the reissue of its 1982 classic Pirate’s Choice. Formed in 1970, this multinational ensemble—with a lead guitarist from Togo, homegrown singers, and a Malian saxophonist—quickly established its reputation by playing uniquely West African versions of Cuban rumba. With soaring vocals in Spanish and Wolof, Latin-meets-surf-meets-jazz guitar fills, romantic brass interludes, and a laid-back but insistent groove from the rhythm section, Baobab was in demand in a region where Cuban records brought in by sailors had long held appeal. The group’s comeback disc, Specialist in All Styles, consists largely of rerecordings of older material, but the cuts are timeless and the renditions are still vital. Orchestra Baobab plays at 7:30 p.m. at the Birchmere, 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $30. (202) 432-7328. (Steve Kiviat)