Manic Street Preachers and the London Suede
Habib Koité and Bamada
When Mali’s Habib Koité made his European debut in 1991, most African musicians known outside their homelands fronted big bands that emphasized Western instruments and drew heavily from African American soul and funk. Koité changed the paradigm when he founded Bamada, a virtuosic four-man backing group with a gentle acoustic style that features such traditional instruments as the xylophone-like balafon. Koité himself plays guitar, but tuned so it sounds like a n’goni, a West African lute with a chiming tone. Koité’s songs, with lyrics in Bambara, French and occasionally English, are built on rippling African polyrhythms, but such lilting tunes as “Baro” also feature vocal harmonies akin to California folk rock. That’s a mode that comes as naturally to Koité and Bamada as the call-and-response chant of “Cigarette Abana,” the rollicking tune that was their first African hit and remains a crowd-pleaser three decades later. Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. at City Winery, 1350 Okie St. NE. citywinery.com. $35-$55.
She started as a solo troubadour, accompanied by just her acoustic guitar, yet Ani DiFranco was never really a folkie. The stalwartly indie feminist singer-songwriter adopted attitude from punk and phrasing from hip-hop, and gradually developed a jazzy, soulful style exemplified by her latest album, 2021’s “Revolutionary Love.” At 52, DiFranco is not the relentless road warrior she used to be, but her mellower style is not a sign of retreat. Her newest material may be unusually lush, but the pattering congas and swirling flutes don’t blunt the edge of such songs as “Do or Die,” which includes a vision of seeing “right there on Pennsylvania Avenue / the sheetless KKK.” The show will include three acts signed to the singer’s Righteous Babe label: Gracie and Rachel, Jocelyn Mackenzie and Holly Miranda. Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. (doors open) at 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 930.com. $41.
Here’s one way to keep your take on indie rock from becoming formulaic: Start a band with multiple singer-songwriters. On its second album, the new “Desperately Imagining Someplace Quiet,” Disq performs tunes composed by four of its five members. If that weren’t enough to provide variety, the Wisconsin group flips styles within individual songs: Guitarist Logan Severson’s “Prize Contest Life” is an easygoing midtempo rocker with high-tenor vocals that detours suddenly into raw-throated grungy aggression. Such shifts are characteristic of the album, which floats blithe melodies over three-guitar roar and occasionally throws synth noise or bassist Raina Bock’s soprano into the mix. The stylistic restlessness suits the band’s lyrics, which depict uneasy minds and a capricious universe. Mostly, though, the musical permutations just ensure that Disq never settles into a rut. Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. at DC9, 1940 Ninth St. NW. dc9.club. $13-$15.