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Habib Koite and Bamada: Foly!

How many times have you hacked through CD cellophane, excited to recapture a band's live sizzle but found only its songs instead? Well, how's this for a bald statement: That will not happen on "Foly!," the double-live disc from Habib Koite and Bamada. It has all the elements that envelop their audiences: exotic instruments, intoxicating rhythms, and completely Malian music that easily transcends continental boundaries. It even replicates the band's stamina. The album delivers almost two and a half hours of music, along with Koite's fractured English patter, even though the show was recorded entirely in non-English-speaking Europe, mostly during a summer tour in 2002. Although the band is only six players, they play about 20 instruments among them. On "Foly!," just as on stage, balafon master Keletigui Diabate and tama (talking drum) dervish Mahamadou Kone shine above the other sidemen. It's fair to ask -- will the uninitiated like the album? And of course, the answer rests on individual taste. The best way to know would be to turn out for the band's local performance this weekend. No doubt, you'll want to pick up "Foly!" afterward. The group performs at Somerville Theatre on Sunday.

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