Top five world music events at Celtic Connections 2012

Tamikrest, Baloji and Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares among highlights of Glasgow festival

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Top five world music events at Celtic Connections 2012

Bassekou Kouyaté

This year’s festival offers riches from Africa, Eastern Europe and South America. Let The List’s jazz and world music reviewer Stewart Smith be your guide.

Salif Keita

A rare Scottish outing for the great singer, Mali’s Salif Keita. From the colourful Afro-pop of his early career, to the reflective, acoustic sound of the past decade, he confronts prejudice and celebrates his faith with quietly powerful songs and an agile, gleaming voice.
Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, Fri 1 Feb.

Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares

A startling transmission from behind the Iron Curtain, 1986’s Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares introduced Western listeners to the starkly beautiful, near supernatural sound of the Bulgarian State Radio and Television Choir. As with Gaelic psalms, the clear, open voices and dissonant diaphonic harmonies create a sublime power.
Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum, Glasgow, Fri 24 Jan.

Sahara Soul

A showcase of Mali’s vibrant contemporary music scene, featuring the hypnotic desert-blues, gnarled guitars and ecstatic ululations of Tuareg band Tamikrest, ngoni innovators Bassekou Kouyaté and Ngoni Ba, plus the beautiful songhai folk-blues of Sidi Toure – exiled by fundamentalists.
Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Sun 27 Jan.

Mulatu Astatke

The vibraphonist makes a welcome return after last year’s unforgettable Platform show. Mellow yet otherworldly, he blends traditional Ethiopian music with jazz, funk and Latin influences, and his superb band of British jazzers add wildcard flourishes to the sensuous grooves.
Old Fruitmarket (with Lucas Santtana), Glasgow, Sun 20 Jan.

Kinshasa Succursale and Konono No. 1

Bring it on. Raised in Belgium, the loquacious rapper returned to his native Congo for 2011’s Kinshasa Succursale, spitting rhymes over the distorted kalimbas of the mighty Konono No. 1 and weaving words around vintage soukous and rumba grooves.
O2 ABC (with Lek Sen), Glasgow, Sat 26 Jan.

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