Afro-pop singer Salif Keita started out with Malis railroad-sponsored funk-pop bandthe Super Rail Band de Bamako, organized by the newly independent government in the 60s to promote indigenous music with brand-new electric instruments and to make Bamakos train station an unlikely but now legendary cultural hub. (Imagine if Motown had contracted with the Federal Highway Administration and set up shop in a Detroit cloverleaf.) But even the African countrys entire railway industry couldnt contain Keita, who split for his own propulsive band Les Ambassadeurs and later worldwide solo fame. His backstory helpedhes an albino from a family specifically forbidden to become singersbut talent, focus and intensity carried him far beyond where the rails run. His new album, La Différence , supports efforts against anti-albino genocide in Africa and finds Keita in inspired form.
Tue., June 15, 7:30 p.m., 2010