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Fall Arts Preview

10 can’t-miss shows by musicians from the world over

Ukrainian folk-punk quartet DakhaBrakha, shown at the 2022 Newport Folk Festival, plays Somerville Theatre Nov. 11.Carlin Stiehl for The Boston Globe

BU GLOBAL MUSIC FESTIVAL Boston University’s annual extravaganza returns with a panoply of performers from many places: Malawian busking duo Madalitso; Balaklava Blues, which melds traditional Ukrainian strains with contemporary dance music; San Salvador, a six-voice and percussion collective from France who sing in the Occitan language; Iranian musician and film composer Merhnham Rastegari, a singer, violinist, and master of the Kamancheh, a traditional Persian bowed string instrument; Cape Verdean singer Fantcha; and colorfully costumed Mardi Gras Indian troupe Big Chief Juan Pardo’s Tribal Gold. Sept. 16, noon to 10 p.m. Free (registration encouraged). 735 Commonwealth Ave., rear (Alpert Mall).

Tuareg guitarist Bombino comes to the Crystal Ballroom in Somerville Sept. 19.Ron Wyman

BOMBINO The galvanizing guitarist and mesmerizing singer from Niger has his own powerful take on the genre called “desert blues,” merging rock ’n’ roll ‘tude with traditional Tuareg tunes. Sept. 19, 8 p.m. $28-$35. Crystal Ballroom at Somerville Theatre, Somerville.


RADIO SUBA A Boston-based, Jerusalem-born Palestinian composer, singer, and oudist, Basel Zayed and his Radio Suba group play pieces rooted in the Levant’s regional folk dance known as Dabkeh, incorporating other influences from Arabic music and beyond, including jazz. Sept. 28, 8 p.m. $18-$20. Club Passim, Cambridge.

Portuguese fado singer Carminho comes to Berklee Performance Center on Oct. 6.PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images

CARMINHO Among today’s finest singers of fado, Portugal’s potent and melancholic musical genre, Carminho is firmly rooted in the fado greats, such as the incomparable Amália Rodrigues, while also performing traditional Portuguese folk and contemporary songs as well as jazz and Brazilian pop. Oct. 6, 8 p.m. $30-$58. Berklee Performance Center.

AROOJ AFTAB: LOVE IN EXILE The Grammy Award–winning, Pakistani-American singer, composer, and producer’s trio, featuring pianist Vijay Iyer and multi-instrumentalist Shahzad Ismaily, makes its Boston debut. Their lush, meditative soundscapes and searching improvisations are described by Aftab as “about self-exile, and the search for freedom and identity … finding it through love.” Oct. 8, 7 p.m. $30-$36. Institute of Contemporary Art.


BABA COMMANDANT & THE MANDINGO BAND Hailing from the Republic of Burkina Faso, Baba and his band’s powerfully grooving Afrobeat sound merges traditional and contemporary Burkinabe funk with the iconic Mandingue guitar music of the 1970s. You will dance! Oct. 23, 8 p.m. $37-$48. Crystal Ballroom at Somerville Theatre, Somerville.

Cuatro virtuoso Fabiola Méndez performs at Arts at the Armory in Somerville Oct. 29.Lisette Acuna Photography

FABIOLA MÉNDEZ A virtuoso of the cuatro (the traditional five double-string, guitar-meets-mandolin instrument of Puerto Rico), Méndez was the first person to graduate from Berklee College of Music with cuatro as principal instrument. Opening the concert will be a screening of her 2022 documentary, “Negrura,” an audio-visual showcase of Afro-Latinx storytelling from Boston’s Latin Quarter Cultural District. Oct. 29, 5 p.m. $20-$22. Arts at the Armory, Somerville.

ERKAN OĞUR & ISMAIL HAKKI DEMIRCIOĞLU For almost a quarter-century, the virtuosic duo has been performing the ancient folk songs of Anatolia employing both traditional and modern instruments, from saz and lute to fretless classical guitar, an instrument Oğur pioneered. Oct. 31, 7:30 p.m. $45-$75. City Winery Boston.

DAKHABRAKHA The folk-punk quartet’s name means “give and take” in the old Ukrainian language. With one foot in the Euro- avant-garde and the other in Ukraine’s village culture, the group’s self-proclaimed “ethno-chaos” incorporates African, Arabic, Australian, Indian, and Russian instruments, as well as accordion, cello, and powerful, keening vocals. Nov. 11, 8 p.m. $40-$58. Somerville Theatre, Somerville.

MIKE BLOCK & BALLA KOUYATÉ Malian singer and balafon player Kouyaté's lineage dates back over eight centuries, as part of the hereditary West African tradition of the Djeli, the praise-singing oral and musical historians of their people. Block, his collaborator for more than a decade, is an innovative, classically trained cellist who is a longtime member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble. Dec. 3, 7:30 p.m. $37-$48. Crystal Ballroom at Somerville Theatre, Somerville.