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FRIDAY & SATURDAY
What is it about a song that allows it to take its place in several repertoires without sounding washed up or beaten into the ground? For Afroblue, maybe “You Can Get It If You Really Want” became a daily mantra that took the band from the original meeting of talents in New York City three years ago to the independent release of their first CD, Pelesa. Like bad-boy Ivan from The Harder They Come, the five members of Afroblue are sticking it to the recording industry and daring to become music stars. Belted out by lead singer Tutu Tutani (pictured), the Jimmy Cliff classic is transformed into an up-tempo gyration-provoking calypso with African soukous and Latin percussion that forces you off your feet. Afroblue’s knack for preserving the essence of the old yet turning it into the refreshingly new spills over to the rest of the recording, which includes a colonial Zambian miner’s song, a Central African funeral dirge, and several originals. The musicians hail from Southern Africa, the Caribbean, Israel, and the U.S.A., but their resulting musical expression is much more complex than the sum of its ingredients: Afro-pop, blues, or kalindula sung in Bemba, Shona, Lingala, or English. Take your choice at the CD release concert at 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, at Crossroads, 4103 Baltimore Ave., Bladensburg. $5. (301) 927-1056; or at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Smithsonian Institution’s Ripley Center Lecture Hall, 1100 Jefferson Drive SE. Free. (202) 357-2700. (Ayesha Morris)