Baaba Maal

Senegalese singer and songwriter Baaba Maal is a massive star in West Africa and, increasingly, much of Europe and the international music community. Although still steeped in the traditional music of northern Senegal, Maal received formal training in Dakar and Paris and long ago established a distinctive sound that incorporates a wide range of Afro-pop as well as western pop, soul, reggae, and other worldly influences. Maal's voice usually soars over his band's percolating rhythms, with a finely honed edge cutting to the heart of the matter, which is often spiritual. But his voice often is strangely subdued on his latest, Television, a collaboration with Brazilian Girls Didi Gutman and Sabina Sciubba. With Maal's vocals dialed down into the mix, Television often emphasizes the swirling electronica and Eurodance beats brought by the Girls. Still, some arresting moments: "Tindo" could almost be a moody U2 tune, "Miracle" is infused with sunny soukous, and the dark-toned "Dakar Moon" has a swampy/Caribbean feel that could have come from Daniel Lanois. Here, Maal will lead a nine-piece band, including griot and longtime associate Mansour Seck on vocals. All ages.
Sun., April 11, 7 p.m., 2010

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