Front Row

Khaira Arby, Live In Concert: SXSW 2011

One of the living legends of Malian music, Khaira Arby is widely hailed as the queen of Malian desert soul, and with good reason. Shrouded in regal colors, she presides over a small army of brilliant African musicians, who create a hypnotic backdrop for her gloriously swooping vocals. It feels a little silly to think of her as a frontwoman — the mere lead singer of some band — on the live stage, she's all showmanship and command.

Taking gorgeous songs from her album Timbuktu Tarab and fleshing them out into full-fledged dance parties, Arby and her band didn't stick out awkwardly on a bill between the eccentric flourishes of tUnE-yArDs and the monumentally assured rock 'n' roll of WILD FLAG — if anything, they're a perfect bridge. Performing live as part of NPR Music's SXSW day party at The Parish in Austin, Texas, Arby proved once again that so-called "world" music needn't be segregated from American rock and soul. She belongs here, and everywhere.

Set List
  • "Sallou"
  • "Cinquantenaire"
  • "Djoungou"
  • "Alouha"
  • "Lilliyoro"
Band Personnel
  • Khaira Arby - Lead Vocals
  • Dramane Toure - Lead Guitar
  • M'Barka Dembebe - Rhythm Guitar
  • Mohamed Ag Mohamed - Bass
  • Mahal Madane Abbanassane - Drums
[+] read more[-] less

More From World

Stromae proved to the audience at Stubb's in Austin why he's a major star just about everywhere but the U.S. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

SXSW Music Festival

Stromae, Live In Concert: SXSW 2015

Watch the international superstar perform for a legion of rhapsodic fans at our SXSW showcase.

Rodrigo Amarante performs a Tiny Desk Concert. Sarah Tilotta/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Sarah Tilotta/NPR

Tiny Desk Concerts

Rodrigo Amarante

A veteran of Little Joy and Los Hermanos, Amarante makes warm, tender music as a solo artist.

Yasmine Hamdan performs at a Tiny Desk Concert in April 2014. Jim Tuttle/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Jim Tuttle/NPR

Tiny Desk Concerts

Yasmine Hamdan

The Lebanese singer-songwriter is one of the most groundbreaking musicians in the Middle East.

Rodrigo y Gabriela in a scene from their new video for the song "The Russian Messenger." Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist

All Songs TV

Rodrigo y Gabriela, 'The Russian Messenger'

The duo's latest video is a no-frills performance showcasing their phenomenal guitar work.

Sandeep Das, Shane Shanahan, Mark Suter and Joseph Gramley, percussionists in the Silk Road Ensemble, perform at ACME Studio in Brooklyn, New York, for a Field Recordings video shoot. Mito Habe-Evans/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Mito Habe-Evans/NPR

Field Recordings

A Field Recording Bonus Track: The Silk Road Swings

Four talented percussionists create deep grooves out of their Silk Road Ensemble collaboration.

Back To Top