When: Tue., Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m. 2013
This Carolina Performing Arts program gathers global perspectives on the blues from a trio of international acts. There's none better to head the bill than modern blues maestro Taj Mahal, a polyglot who incorporates folk, rock and jazz while dabbling in the sounds of Hawaii, India, Africa and the Caribbean. Rather than getting bogged down in a scholarly approach, Mahal's collaborative investigations into the links between those forms and America's music are invigorated by the exuberance of an ace showman and storyteller.
South African singer-songwriter and guitarist Vusi Mahlasela is known simply as "The Voice" in his home country. Radiating warmth, Mahlasela's soothing pipes lead the joyous rhythms and melodies of traditional African folk, lifted by pop flair. Mahlasela keeps good company, having recorded alongside Béla Fleck, Josh Groban, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and Dave Matthews Band. His latest studio release (on Matthews' ATO Records imprint) was produced by Mahal. From New York via New Zealand, Fredericks Brown is a soulful female duo led by the stellar singing of Deva Mahal—yes, Taj's daughter. Their smooth, simple arrangements use keyboards to obtain an effect at once fresh and vintage. —Spencer Griffith