On June 18, the blind Malian duo, Amadou & Mariam (the link contains a very detailed bio) will be performing at the 9:30 Club. They will be joined by Bombino, a Tuareg guitarist from next door in Niger who is starting to make a big name for himself (I believe he performed at the Black Cat last summer, and come to think of it, I believe Amadou & Mariam may have performed at the 9:30 Club a year ago as well). According to 9:30’s bio of Bombino, two of his bandmates were killed during Niger’s Tuareg rebellion that ended in 2009.
If you can’t afford the $40 ticket for that show, the Millenium Stage at the Kennedy Center has 2 free shows with African performers for you. On June 20, Cheick Hamala Diabate, another Malian (although he must be based in DC, because he’s been doing a lot of shows here in recent months), will perform to support UNHCR in honor of World Refugee Day. Two days later, the South Sudanese rapper Emmanual Jal will perform at the same venue. I have to confess I had never heard of Jal, although the Kennedy Center blurb says he is ‘world-renowned’ and his Wikipedia page is quite lengthy (he was a child soldier, who managed, in something that sounds like it was taken from the pages of Philip Caputo’s Acts of Faith, to escape to Kenya, with the help of a British aid worker married to a South Sudanese commander, which is where he was able to launch his music career).
If you go to any of these, let me know how it was.