Ladysmith Black Mambazo
It’s a two-fer from Austin. Asleep at the Wheel’s lead singer and founder plays a solo gig in his old hometown, with just that gorgeous deep voice and a guitar. And for a lagniappe, Milkdrive will deliver bluegrass-based acoustic originals.
Jan. 25, Ardmore Music Hall, ardmoremusic.com.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
No other group brought the sounds of the South African townships to the rest of the world so effectively. Ladysmith’s harmonies and dancing are a living link to Nelson Mandela, who loved them dearly.
Jan. 31, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, annenbergcenter.org.
A charming man — dare we say sensitive? — with a jazz-trained voice he uses on smart originals.
Feb. 2, Tin Angel, tinangel.com.
Layla McCalla Trio
From New Orleans with Haitian roots, McCalla — whom you may recall from the Carolina Chocolate Drops — melds all that culture with classical cello training, which she liberally translates to banjo. Both instruments are as likely to be strummed as used for melody. Her ethereal voice is especially haunting when she sings in Creole.
Feb. 8, Tin Angel, tinangel.com.
Liberian Women’s Chorus for Change
Blink and you’ll miss these four acclaimed singers from Liberia, now living in Philly. They describe their events as “pop-up concerts” — not quite flash mobs, but not far off. Their brief performances feature unaccompanied voices singing traditional songs with feet gently stepping out the rhythm. (This is a matinee show.)
Feb. 9, Faith-Immanuel Fellowship Hall.
Dirk Powell and Riley Baugus
These men bring the soul of the mountains via old-time music at its pinnacle.
Feb. 9, Calvary Center, crossroadsconcerts.org.
C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band
The son of Clifton Chenier — the man whose recordings brought attention to zydeco outside Louisiana — C.J. keeps the steam up.
Feb. 14, Ardmore Music Hall, ardmoremusic.com.
Sure, Johnnie and Jack had hits mixing country with tropical rhythms back in the ’50s, but Nation Beat digs down deeper. Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” sounds natural with the Brazilian treatment, right down to the lap steel that would tickled Don Helms if he were still with us. Whether reinventing the music of the American South or the north of Brazil, this band will make you want to get up and move.
March 2, Calvary Center, crossroadsconcerts.org.
Recently graduated from the New England Conservatory, Jarosz writes distinctive contemporary songs and sings them with a deliciously soft-yet-strong voice. Her mandolin leads a string trio with inflections of jazz , classical and whatever else crosses her mind.
March 6, Ardmore Music Hall, ardmoremusic.com.
Andre Thierry and Zydeco Magic
Any Allons Danser dance is big fun, but this one is extra special, being the annual Mardi Gras masked ball. Thierry’s band is special, too. They can sing soft, romantic R&B harmonies in English with the squeeze box taking the melody breaks, then segue into the most traditional dance tunes imaginable.
March 8, Allons Danser, allonsdanser.org.
Karan Casey Trio
Depending on where you caught up with her, you might know Casey as the voice of Solas, as a jazz singer earlier in her career, or as someone who writes her own songs, as she does these days. The consistent thread is that impossibly pure voice.
March 9, Calvary Center, crossroadsconcerts.org.
Northern Indian rhythms plus funk and horns will celebrate Holi, the Festival of Colors — albeit a week or two late. Fear not, the fun has been calmed down to tossing confetti instead of showers of pigment powders, but the dancing and joyful energy are preserved.
March 27, Underground Arts, undergroundarts.org.
With a stress on the banjo and fiddle and a fondness for reviving jug-band tunes from the early days of the last century, these young men are now writing some mighty originals.
March 28, Tin Angel, tinangel.com.
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