Since the collision of cultures spawns creativity, it’s no surprise that Mali has become a center of musical innovation. Stretching from the lush Niger delta to the sere Sahara, the country is one of Africa’s most ethnically diverse. Most of the world music attention has focused on great players from Mali’s southern population centers: singer Salif Keita, kora player Toumani Dibate and guitarist Ali Faka Toure. Imarhan Timbuktu is a Tuareg family of musicians with deep roots in the northern desert interior. Their sound is at once hand-drum traditional and Fender Stratocaster modern, with sinuous guitar lines snaking through a labyrinth of mesmerizing rhythms. With the snow barely melted and the Richmond Folk Festival half a year away, it’s perfect timing. Imarhan Timbuktu promises an oasis of timeless multicultural enrichment and, perhaps more importantly, an exotic dance party. The show takes place at Balliceaux on Tuesday, March 18. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $5. balliceauxrva.com.
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