BLK JKS ALBUM: âÄúMysteryâÄù EP LABEL: Secretly Canadian It was only a matter of time before someone from the continent of Africa decided to show the world that indie rock, like all other pop music, rightfully belonged to them. Johannesburg, South AfricaâÄôs BLK JKS may just be that band. They impressed super-producer and DJ Diplo so much when they met during his South African tour that he convinced them to travel stateside. 2008 saw the bandâÄôs first United States tour as well as the production and release of their debut EP âÄúMystery,âÄù a four-song, wildly popular sonic appetizer that has impressed audiences across the United States and United Kingdom despite its diminutive size. BLK JKSâÄô sound âÄî mixing dub and orchestral rock with droned, fuzzy guitars and trancelike vocals âÄî swarms the eardrum. The bandâÄôs single, âÄúLakeside,âÄù looms high above the other three lackluster-in-comparison tracks on âÄúMystery,âÄù shaking with a haunting beauty thatâÄôs proof of the bandâÄôs potential for greatness. With a full-length album in the works and set for a late summer release, BLK JKS is a band that makes you excited for the future of music. Dobet GnahorÃ© WHERE: Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Ave. S. WHEN: May 3, 7 p.m. TICKETS: $25/$30 Dobet GnahorÃ© is, in many ways, the quintessential African songstress. The CÃ´te dâÄôIvoirian singer/percussionist is endowed with a voice powerful enough to move even the most lethargic of spectators. An electric presence on stage, GnahorÃ© boasts an infinite number of exotic hairstyles and outfits in addition to a talented traditional approach to afro-beat. Brought into music by her father, Boni GnahorÃ© âÄî an Ivoirian drummer and actor âÄî Dobet was raised around the arts. In fact, her dad is a member of the respected artist colony Village Ki-Yi MâÄôBock. At age 12, Dobet left school and convinced her father to let her study music, dance and theater in the colony. She spent the rest of adolescence fine-tuning her skills before marrying French musician Colin Laroche de Feline and emerging as a performing duo. Dobet GnahorÃ©âÄôs 2007 sophomore album âÄúNa AfrikiâÄù (âÄúTo AfricaâÄù) is a call to rebuild the mother continent back to her former pre-colonial grandeur. DobetâÄôs chops as a vocalist, dancer and percussionist, mixed with the impressive guitar skill of her husband and their backing band, have given GnahorÃ©âÄôs live performances an unparalleled reputation. Amadou & Mariam ALBUM: âÄúWelcome To MaliâÄù LABEL: Nonesuch Records Fans of the sensational 2005 album âÄúDimanche Ã BamakoâÄú will find little cause for disappointment in Amadou & MariamâÄôs latest release, âÄúWelcome to Mali.âÄù The record is a refreshing explosion of the blind coupleâÄôs brand of sunny, African pop. The album mixes elements of what theyâÄôve always done best: bluesy afro-rock and Malian call-and-response vocals with some innovative new elements. Paris-based musician Manu ChaoâÄôs production on âÄúDimancheâÄù hinted at the duoâÄôs capacity for collaboration, and with âÄúWelcome to MaliâÄù itâÄôs fully fleshed out. Artists ranging from Somali-native rapper KâÄônaan to the Parisian rocker Mathieu Chedid and former Blur frontman Damon Albarn all lend their talents to âÄúWelcome to MaliâÄù with surprisingly positive results. Both a celebration of Mali, as well as a musical account of the bandâÄôs world travels, âÄúWelcome to MaliâÄù is too good to be lumped in with the cafÃ©-background genre of world music. A better way to label it would be âÄúMalian pop music with a global appeal.âÄù Kasai Allstars ALBUM: âÄúIn the 7th Moon, the Chief Turned Into a Swimming Fish and Ate the Head of His Enemy by MagicâÄù LABEL: Crammed Discs The bloated carcass of American rock âÄònâÄô roll âÄúsupergroupsâÄù is one stuffed with hot acrid air, conflicting egos, corporate branding and excessive guitar solos. Just take Velvet Revolver âÄ¦ please! The 25 musicians collaborating to become Kasai Allstars, however, suffer from none of these dilemmas. Based out of the Kasai region in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kasai Allstars includes members from six separate bands who formed one afro-beat group, blending electric and acoustic instruments with layered vocals and elaborate, polyphonic rhythms. The musicians and dancers also hail from five separate ethnic groups historically prone to conflict. Putting aside their cultural differences and stiff language barriers, the collective evokes the once colonially-forbidden sounds of Congolese ritual and festive music, mixing African dance and instruments with distorted Western ones. The effect is magical, raw and complex. Belgian producer Vincent Kenis, an obsessive enthusiast of Congolese music, produced this album as well as the other acclaimed âÄúCongotronicâÄù releases. Fans of his work or the associated act Konono No.1 wonâÄôt be disappointed by Kasai Allstars.