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The Guitar heard Round the World 

Wednesday, Jan 22 2014

There's really only one African guitarist whose music is so popular outside Africa that he constantly tours across Europe and the United States. Habib Koite's songs appeal to audiences from France to Germany, from Italy to the United States, because they're easy on the ears without being syrupy. An amalgamation of different musical styles (including American folk and Wassoulou from his native Mali), Koite's songs are driven by a voice that's resonant without being dramatic, and by a rich synthesis of backup instruments that include the violin and the balafon. "I try to play every style of music," Koite once told me, "because I have a lot of experience with many types of music." Koite's San Francisco concert is a chance to see this amalgamation of styles up close. Expect lots of swaying (and musical swooning) in the audience.

Sat., Feb. 1, 8 p.m., 2014

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Jonathan Curiel

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