Music

Old/New Hip-hop

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In the video “Kham Kham,” Senegalese musicians Bideew Bou Bess (say biday-oo boo bess) offer something startling: an African brand of hip-hop that’s not quite like anything else. That’s true of most of their music, which possesses equal parts hip-hop swagger, big beats, well-sung harmony, and traditional African sounds.

It’s exhilarating stuff. The songs offer moments of clear influence in which smooth, soul-style vocals dominate, or repeating string- and wind-instrument parts take over. Electronic sounds bump up against unfamiliar languages and cadences.

Recently, Valley musicians Tony Vacca and Derrik Jordan travelled to Senegal with the Last Poets’ Abiodun Oyewole and poet Tantra Zawadi to collaborate with Bideew Bou Bess. Now the band is on our shores for a mini-tour. They hold court in Northampton this week.

April 24, 7 p.m., $12.50/advance, $15/door, Iron Horse Music Hall, 20 Center St., Northampton, (413) 586-8686, iheg.com.

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