In royal voices

Salif Keita is a charmed man. A scion of African royalty who traces his lineage back to the 13th-century founding father of Mali, the Grammy-nominated world music star possesses a voice that “other mortals can only aspire to,” as an appreciative reviewer once enthused. After he moved to Paris in 1984, the wider world took notice of his sound, an infectious fusion of African, jazz, funk, Europop and R&B influences. Tickets to his outdoor concert this Friday, Aug. 4 at the North Carolina Museum of Art range from $20 to $7.50. The concert begins at 8 p.m. and will be preceded by a 6 p.m. free screening of Festival in the Desert, a documentary about a music festival in the Sahara,in the museum auditorium. For more information or to buy tickets, call 715-5923 or visit –David Fellerath

In music and understanding

The second annual Festival Ritmo Latino at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary promises to draw big crowds of Latin music fans for seven hours of performances and family entertainment. Peruvian alt-rocker Santino opens for the Puerto Rican salsa band Luisito Rosario. The roster also includes area bands Samecumba in the tropical category (salsa, merengue and cumbia), reggaeton DJs Erick & Andy, flamenco and folkloric dancers, and the duelling accordions of Rey Norteño, whose current hit song “Raleigh Norte Carolina” is getting major airplay on Spanish radio. The festival is produced by Diamante, a statewide nonprofit that grants scholarships to outstanding Latino students in the service of a broader mission to promote cultural understanding and community among Latinos. “Our long-term goal is to establish a permanent Latino arts center, which would be the first in North Carolina,” says the group’s founder and director, Lizette Cruz-Watko. In the meantime, there’s no better way to build cultural understanding than to check out the Festival Ritmo Latino this Saturday, Aug. 5 from noon to 7 p.m. (See the full festival schedule in our music feature on page 40.) General admission tickets are $12 in advance, $15 day of show; reserved seats are $15 in advance, $20 day of show; kids under 12 are free. Tickets are available through Koka Booth Amphitheater (462-2052, and Ticketmaster. —Sylvia Pfeiffenberger

In video loops

Don and Mera Rubell, founders of the Rubell Family Collection of art, are renowned for their focus on contemporary artists working in new media. Their son Jason Rubell, a 1991 Duke alum, has continued in his parents’ footsteps as an avid art collector. Opening on Thursday, Aug. 3 at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke, Memorials of Identity: New Media from The Rubell Family Collection features nine videos by seven international artists on loan from the Miami-based collection. The works deal with cultural and national identity and responses to globalization. All but one of the videos are less than 15 minutes in length and will be installed in individual viewing spaces on a continual loop, with a total running time of 101 minutes. This makes the exhibit a nice sampler–you can stay and see a few complete works, or see all of them within a reasonable amount of time. Museum curator Trevor Schoonmaker and Rubell Collection curator Mark Coetzee will deliver a talk on the significance of video as a contemporary art form at 5:30 p.m. opening day in the museum auditorium. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for non-Duke students and free for Duke students, faculty and staff with ID and for Durham residents. For more information, call 684-5135 or visit –Michele Natale

In surreal strolls

Opening on First Friday in Raleigh are three shows at Artspace worth checking out. Summer artist-in-residence IlaSahai Prouty will present the fruits of her month-long stay with Dream Repeater, an intriguing audience-interactive multi-media sculptural installation based on her own dream sources, as well as those collected from Artspace visitors. (See our profile of Prouty on page 26.) Venezuelan transplant Margarita Leon has imported her own special brand of magical realism, installing “Una Linea,” a mixed media piece that promises to fill the lobby space by hanging from the ceiling and coming off of the walls. Combining drawing, video and animation, Russian-born Anya Belkina has teamed up with composer Scott Lindroth to interpret the Rumi poem “Nasuh,” which describes a spiritual awakening. Enjoy the art and refreshments while listening to the music of David Dyer from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 4. For more information, call 821-2787 or visit And if you haven’t seen it yet, make sure your First Friday viewing includes a look at Lee Hansley Gallery‘s New & Hot North Carolina, which closes on Aug. 19. For details, call 828-7557 or visit —Michele Natale

In summer’s winter

Merge Records released about a half dozen good or great pop records in 2005, from The Rosebuds’ Birds Make Good Neighbors to Spoon’s Gimme Fiction. But, excepting three Dinosaur Jr. reissues for the mantle makers they are, only The Clientele‘s Strange Geometry feels important. The London trio’s best album to date is a sprawling gray portrait of London loneliness, a hushed epic about a young man in the city trying to make it through heartbreak while dealing with the financial physics and the painful metaphysics of his humble existence. Across 12 tracks and 42 minutes, hope ultimately resides in simple acts: waking up, sitting down, taking the bus. Despite the grim feeling that hovers like a British snow cloud, possibility arrives through perseverance. Sure, the reverb-soaked wintry tones will seem out of place in Chapel Hill’s sweaty Local 506 on an August night, just as they did on the same stage during last year’s Franklin Street Halloween debauchery. If only for an hour, however, you can succumb to frontman Alasdair Maclean’s whispered screams and drummer Mark Keen’s gently persuasive rhythms. You’ll walk a bit lighter in the sweltering Southern summer, humming a sweet sad song. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 4. Tickets are $10. Orange Twin/Elephant 6 associates Great Lakes open. –Grayson Currin