World Music

Fall Arts Preview: World music picks

Sona Jobarteh (left) and her band will play the Somerville Theatre Oct. 11 and Women of the World (right) will perform in Natick Sept. 14.
Sona Jobarteh (left) and her band will play the Somerville Theatre Oct. 11 and Women of the World (right) will perform in Natick Sept. 14.(c) courtesy of the artist

JOHN FUNKHOUSER & JERRY LEAKE Longtime friends and fellow Berklee faculty members Funkhouser (piano) and Leake (tabla) present a contemporary take on ancient North Indian classical ragas that amalgamate energetic improvisations and intricate rhythms. Sept. 11. Free. Berk Recital Hall, 1140 Boylston St., Boston. www.berklee.edu/events

MASHROU’ LEILA The five-man Lebanese alt-rock band has garnered praise from the likes of NPR and Rolling Stone for their rousing tunes featuring poetic and political lyrics, sung in Arabic by an openly gay lead singer. Sept. 12. $35-$40. The Sinclair, 52 Church St., Cambridge. www.worldmusic.org

WOMEN OF THE WORLD The acclaimed vocal quartet, formed in 2008, features Ayumi Ueda (Japan), Giorgia Renosto (Italy), Annette Philip (India), and Débo Ray (US/Haiti) singing songs of many cultures, in 32 languages and counting, that illuminate the common emotions, experiences, and milestones we all share from womb to tomb. Sept. 14. $25-$30. Center for Arts in Natick, 14 Summer St., Natick. 508-647-0097, www.natickarts.org

LOOKIE LOOKIE This percolating octet — four percussionists, three horns, and bass, with all members singing — is led by multi-reedist/composer Russ Gershon (Either/Orchestra) and features Dominican-born conguero Vicente Lebron. Their mission: reviving 1960s Nuyorican Bugalú music, playing songs by Richie Ray, Joe Cuba, George Guzman, Pete Rodriquez,
Eddie Palmieri, and more. Sept. 15. $20-$100. Accurate Records, 343 Medford St., Somerville. www.brownpaper


ÇESNI TRIO & PETER JAQUES Boston’s own Turkish-inspired Çesni Trio — Tev Stevig and Michael K. Harrist on an array of traditional stringed instruments, plus percussionist Fabio Pirozzolo — meets Athens-based Peter Jaques, who plays clarinet, trumpet, and ney (ancient Egyptian flute), to explore the modal music of the Eastern Mediterranean. Sept 22. $15. ARTSpace, 1520 Tremont St., Boston. www.mandorlamusic.net

SAMODIVI: THE HAUNTING BEAUTY OF THE BALKANS Led by Bulgarian-born marimba and vibraphone player Vessela Stoyanova, Samodivi includes musicians from Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Azerbaijan, Palestine, France, and the US, incorporating traditional qanun (ancient Assyrian zither), clarinet, and fiddle, string quartet, full rhythm section, and brass, as well as featuring the evocative vocals of Burcu Gulec and Tamara Jokic. Sept. 27. Free. David Friend Recital Hall, Berklee College of Music, 921 Boylston St., Boston. www.berklee.edu/events


NEWPOLI The mesmerizing Italian-rooted ensemble celebrates its new CD, “Mediterraneo,” which delves deeply into modernized pan-Mediterranean sounds, melding traditional southern Italian folk with Greek and Turkish grooves and Spanish-tinged filigree. Oct. 4. $25. The Rockwell, 255 Elm St., Somerville. www.worldmusic

BRYNNEL/OVERHOLSER/DALE Swedish vocalist and accordionist Sunniva Brynnel, American violin, viola, and mandolin player Chris Overholser, and Australian bassist James Heazlewood-Dale, who all met as students at the New England Conservatory, explore Scandinavian and Celtic folk music from a playful, improvisational perspective. Oct. 9. $10-$15. Carriage House, Gore Place, 52 Gore St., Waltham. www.goreplace.org

ASPADA MEETS THE BERKLEE INDIAN ENSEMBLE The pioneering Berklee Indian Ensemble, founded in 2011 by Berklee alumna and faculty member Annette Philip, joins forces with renowned Indo-fusion band ASPADA, helmed by saxophonist George Brooks. Oct. 11. Free. David Friend
Recital Hall, 921 Boylston St., Boston. www.berklee.edu/events

SONA JOBARTEH Making her Boston debut, Jobarteh is the first female kora (West African lute) virtuoso to come from a seminal Griot (hereditary caste of tribal historians) family. While firmly rooted in her heritage, she has also branched out in innovative ways: standing while playing, employing pop accompaniment, and singing lyrics from a woman’s perspective within a tradition dominated by men for seven centuries. Oct. 11. $35. Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville. www.worldmusic.org


YOUSSOU NDOUR For almost three decades, the Senegalese global music icon’s scintillating, soaring, and serpentine vocals have epitomized Afropop to the ears of the world. Oct. 21. $48-$55. The Sinclair, 52 Church St., Cambridge. www.worldmusic.org

MAMADOU KELLY A key member of both the late Ali Farka Touré’s Allstars and Afel Bocoum’s Alkibar, the Malian guitar virtuoso and vocalist now fronts his own band, bringing a new dimension to the desert blues of the Niger Delta. Nov. 3. $28. Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, 85 W. Newton St.,
Boston. www.worldmusic.org

JAKE SHIMABUKURO The renowned Hawaiian ukulele virtuoso and early YouTube sensation, who’s been called the Jimi Hendrix of his instrument, touches down in the Bay State on the current leg of the tour supporting his latest release, “The Greatest Day.”
Nov. 4. $28.50-$53.50. The Cabot,
286 Cabot St., Beverly. 800-745-3000, www.thecabot.org

LUCIANA SOUZA AND YELLOWJACKETS The Grammy-winning Brazilian singer and composer, known for melding jazz and poetry with the music of her native land, showcases her new project, “The Book of Longing,” focused on poems by Leonard Cohen and featuring guitarist Chico Pinheiro and bassist Scott Colley. Grammy-winning fusioneers Yellowjackets share the bill with Souza, with each performing separately, then joining forces to spotlight their forthcoming collaboration. Nov. 9. $45-$65. Berklee Performance Center. 617-482-2595, www.celebrityseries.org


STELIOS PETRAKIS A native of the Greek island of Crete, composer Petrakis is a virtuoso of the lyra, a traditional three-stringed fiddle. His quartet augments his lyra with laouto (lute or oud), mandolin, and cello for performances of traditional and original compositions ranging from mournful dirges to ecstatic dances. Nov. 18. $28. The Rockwell, 255 Elm St., Somerville. www.worldmusic.org

Kevin Lowenthal can be reached at lowenthal.k@gmail.com.