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The Lookout: World

By Renee Graham
Globe Staff / June 5, 2005

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Tuku music: So extraordinary is the sound pioneered by Oliver Mtukudzi, fans and critics have anointed it with its own exotic name -- ''Tuku music." For three decades, Mtukudzi has been one of Zimbabwe's premiere artists, a guitarist, singer, and songwriter whose music is a cocktail of Southern African styles such as mbira and jit and marries socially and politically conscious lyrics with jaunty rhythms. His latest album, ''Nhava," is filled with stories of life lessons and hard-learned wisdom. June 11 at Somerville Theatre, June 12 at Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton. For Somerville Theatre, call 617-625-4088 or visit For Iron Horse, call 413-586-8686 or visit

Sound the trumpet: One of South Africa's best-known musicians for nearly 40 years, Hugh Masekela is rightfully hailed as a brilliant trumpet player. His inviting, jovial style has distinguished such songs as his 1960s classic, ''Grazing in the Grass," and such indelible instrumentals as his rollicking 1978 club hit, ''Skokiaan," with fellow trumpeter Herb Alpert. Considered the godfather of South African jazz, Masekela's latest album, ''Revival," takes much of its inspiration from kwaito, which combines elements of hip-hop, R&B, ragga, and house music. June 24-26 at Scullers Jazz Club. 617-562-4111;

Reggae rhythm: Proving there is indeed no such thing as bad publicity, Buju Banton and Elephant Man, both of whom have been criticized over the years for homophobic lyrics, headline Reggae Summer Jam '05, which also includes longtime reggae stalwarts Toots & the Maytals and Jamaica superstar Luciano. The event will be held July 9 at Suffolk Downs in East Boston. 617-931-2000;

The beat goes on: Though he is still most often mentioned as the son of the late, great Afro-beat legend Fela Kuti, Femi Kuti continues to build his reputation as a superstar in his own right. He has toured with Jane's Addiction, worked with Mos Def and Common, and makes some of the most joyously raucous music you're likely to hear. Kuti also has revealed his love of hip-hop, broadening his audience and further establishing himself as an invigorating, innovative artist. He performs July 14 at the Paradise Rock Club.

New world survivor: Born in England and raised in South Africa, Johnny Clegg, along with his South African friend Sipho Mchunu, a Zulu musician, founded the multiracial band Juluka, which blended African rhythms with western rock influences. This was noteworthy since the energetic group was most popular during South African's racist apartheid regime. Clegg later started Savuka, whose videos were played on MTV. Now, with his self-named band, he will perform music from both the Juluka and Savuka eras Aug. 3 at Somerville Theatre. 617-625-4088;

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