Mali's Toumani Diabaté, a renowned master of the 21-stringed kora, brought his 14-piece Symmetric Orchestra to the U.S. for the first time last winter and debuted at the Dakota. Their return will again pack the club's stage with the Symmetric's mix of modern and traditional instruments, creating a scintillating context for Diabaté's kora, which flits through with the agility of a hummingbird while gossamer vocals float overhead. From a long hereditary line of griots and master musicians running back centuries, Diabaté is both a staunch traditionalist—preserving traditional kora music—and an innovator who has collaborated with flamenco, Western classical, jazz, and blues musicians. The Symmetric's excellent 2006 recording Boulevard de l'Indépendence (World Circuit/Nonesuch) included a horn section bulked up with U.S. jazz players, even concocting a sizzling dose of Malian salsa. $40 at 7:00 p.m.; $25 at 9:30 p.m.
Mondays, Sundays, 7 & 9:30 p.m. Starts: Jan. 27. Continues through Jan. 28, 2008