Tonight: Afghan and Tajik Pop Plus Jamaican Dancehall
Tonight’s Superstar Tour 2010 concert—featuring Afghan singer Ghazal and Tajik performer Jonibek at the Sheraton Premiere in Tyson’s Corner— might seem to have nothing in common with this evening’s Jamaican dancehall Ladies Night Out at the Mirage Hall in Hyattsville—headlined by Lady Saw and Assassin—save this: I discovered both shows via postcards left around town. But in fact, the performers at both events can be considered pop and not folkloric, a fact evident not just in the fact that they use synthesizers to create danceable sounds.
The “Superstar Tour 2010” is hitting just six North American cities. I found YouTube videos but no biographical information online regarding Ghazal or Jonibek. The young, photogenic Jonibek is accompanied by guitar, bass, drums, percussion, and synthesizer in his videos. He’s a pop singer, albeit one whose occasionally guttural tones might seem out of the ordinary to most Americans. The cute and perky Ghazal seems to be supported by a similar band, but her videos are performance pieces in which the singer and sometimes backing dancers strut to sounds that meld bellydancing music and disco-pop with a rapped interlude.
Lady Saw once guested on a No Doubt song, but this 38-year-old performer has spent most of her career creating raunchy numbers such as "I've Got Your Man," "Strip Tease," and “Bare as You Dare.” She can sing as well as toast, and on “No Less than a Woman (Infertility),” she vocalizes in a nonrisqué manner about adoption. The 28-year-old Assassin raps island-style in a dramatic fashion, changing tempo and tone with his deep voice and slang-filled, Jamaican-accented delivery.
Ghazal, Jonibek, Madina, and Adeeb & Samim Juyan perform Friday May 21 at 7 p.m. at the Sheraton Premiere Hotel at Tyson’s Corner, 8661 Leesburg Pike, Vienna, VA. $35-40. 1-800-401-2820
Lady Saw, Assassin, Zylan, Top Student , Lil’ Rap and more perform Friday May 21 at 9 p.m. at the Mirage Hall, 1401 University Avenue, Hyattsville, MD. $30. (301) 213-7599.