Critic's Picks: World Music

The Orchestra of Tetouan among them play Andalusian music on violin, viola, rebab, lute, tambourine, goblet drum, and zither. The Orchestra of Tetouan among them play Andalusian music on violin, viola, rebab, lute, tambourine, goblet drum, and zither. (Sarah Skinner)
By James Reed
Globe Staff / September 13, 2009

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ORCHESTRA OF TETOUAN From the Moroccan port city of Tetouan, across the strait from Gibraltar, this Andalusian classical music ensemble works hard to preserve ancient Moorish artforms, bridging European and Arab music. Sept. 23. First Church in Cambridge. 800-595-4849,

INDIAN OCEAN Claiming to be “the sound of contemporary India getting to know itself,’’ this quartet is approaching 20 years of seeing what happens when you fuse Indian classical music with rock, jazz, electronica, and folk. That probably explains why the band is playing at a rock club instead of a performance hall. Oct. 4. Middle East Downstairs. 617-864-3278,

ZAP MAMA Of all the world-music acts coming to town this fall, Zap Mama might just be the most global in scope, a kinetic hybrid of hip-hop, African and Latin rhythms, soul, R&B, and jazz - often in the course of a single song. Led by Congolese-born singer and instrumentalist Marie Daulne, the Belgian band is touring behind a new album called “ReCreation.’’ Oct. 12. Paradise Rock Club. 617-562-8800,

DJ REKHA This Brooklyn-based DJ has been an important and visible proponent of bhangra, the South Asian dance music she celebrates in New York with a monthly dance party called “Basement Bhangra’’ (also the name of her 2007 debut album). It’s always a welcome treat when she takes her show on the road. Oct. 15. Middle East Upstairs. 617-864-3278,

WARSAW VILLAGE BAND Something old meets something new in the songs of this Polish ensemble that updates its country’s folk music with contemporary genres such as electronica and hip-hop. The band’s latest album, “Infinity,’’ features all original material, a first for the group. Nov. 6. Somerville Theatre. 617-876-4275.

MARIZA Initially compared to the late Amália Rodrigues, fado’s grand dame, Mariza grew into her own formidable persona and distinguished herself as one of the genre’s leading lights. Fado, by nature, is sad music (often called the Portuguese blues), but Mariza’s interpretations are downright uplifting. If you think you don’t like world music, Mariza is the artist who challenges that assumption. Nov. 7. Berklee Performance Center. 617-876-4275.

RUPA & THE APRIL FISHES Once you get past the novel backstory of lead singer Rupa Marya - physician by day, world-music sensation by night - the San Francisco band’s music reveals its many influences, from Middle Eastern rhythms to French chanson to Dixieland jazz. The band’s tour is timed to a new album, “Este Mundo,’’ out in October. Nov. 11. Regattabar. 617-395-7757,

KAILASH KHER & KAILASA Already a celebrity in his native India, Kher, a charismatic pop star who’s also a Bollywood soundtrack singer, is finally expanding into the North American market with the release of “Yatra (Nomadic Souls),’’ a new album with his band, Kailasa. Nov. 13. Somerville Theatre. 617-876-4275.

MILTON NASCIMENTO Forty years in the trenches have hardly dulled the artistic ambitions of Nascimento, a towering figure in Brazilian music since the 1960s. From jazz to pop to Afrocentric rhythms, Nascimento’s discography is as erratic as it is exciting. His latest project is an exploration of mostly Antonio Carlos Jobim’s bossa novas, and if last year’s show at the Zeiterion Theatre in New Bedford is any indication, Nascimento is still in fine form. Nov. 15. Berklee Performance Center. 617-876-4275. JAMES REED

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