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

Ziggy Marley performs live for KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic. Dustin Downing/KCRW hide caption

toggle caption Dustin Downing/KCRW

Favorite Sessions

Ziggy Marley, 'Start It Up' (Live)

KCRW

In KCRW's studio, the reggae musician performs a hopeful, political song from his newest album.

Tinariwen performs live at Pickathon. Alicia J Rose/opbmusic.org hide caption

toggle caption Alicia J Rose/opbmusic.org

Favorite Sessions

Tinariwen, 'Tin Ihlan' (Live)

opbmusic.org

Watch the groundbreaking Tuareg band perform a nighttime set in the Oregon woods.

Rodrigo Amarante performs live at Pickathon for OPB. Kristina Moravec/OPB hide caption

toggle caption Kristina Moravec/OPB

Favorite Sessions

Rodrigo Amarante, 'Maná' (Live)

opbmusic.org

The Brazilian singer performs an upbeat song on a stage made of branches at Pickathon in Oregon.

Tiny Desk Concert with Sam Lee Lydia Thompson /NPR hide caption

toggle caption Lydia Thompson /NPR

Tiny Desk

Sam Lee

The singer found his voice by finding and preserving old British, Irish and Scottish folk songs.

Maggie Starbard/NPR

Tiny Desk

Camané

A star in his native Portugal, Camané evokes melancholy with a silky baritone and elegant phrasing.

Colin Marshall /NPR

Tiny Desk

DakhaBrakha

The Ukrainian acoustic quartet's music encompasses sounds and rhythms from around the 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

toggle 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.

Back To Top