NEWS

Keeping Tabs: Events in and around Boston

Francis Ma

Senegalese Sounds: This is perhaps the true definition of what world music should be, a mixture of sounds from all over the planet, creating something new, engaging and unique. In the Senegalese tongue this music is called “mbalax” (“Umm Bah-Laakh”) and the man who embodies the soul and rhythm of it is Youssou N’Dour, a musician who rose up in the 70s and has been Africa’s most celebrated performer ever since. He’s been praised by Rolling Stone and the New York Times, and has collaborated with other musicians like Lou Reed, Wyclef Jean, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen and Tracy Chapman. N’Dour is a true musical legend and should not be missed. Since he sings in a different language, you probably won’t be able to understand the words — you know, like Bob Dylan. Saturday, Nov. 24, 8 p.m. at Somerville Theatre in Davis Square. Tickets: $35. Call 617-876-4275.

A Gospel Army: Choirs are already a loud bunch, but imagine them times…well, a big number (that’s why I write: my command of the language) and that’s a sound you won’t likely forget. The New England Conservatory’s Millennium Gospel Choir includes 200 gospel members from 36 area churches, and they’ll be belting out traditional and contemporary holiday songs. So if you’re not in the spirit of the season, you soon will be thanks to the barrage of voices storming the beachhead of your cold heart and reclaiming your soul. And for that to happen, it takes exactly 200 gospel voices. Wednesday, Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m. at Remis Auditorium at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Tickets: $20-$25. Call 617-369-3306.

A Father-Son Carol: Has this ever happened before? I’m too tired to check, but let’s say it’s rare. Ben and Spencer Evett of Arlington are father and son respectively, and both are starring in the New Repertory Theatre’s Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Spencer, who is 8, will be sickly Tiny Tim while father Ben takes on the role of Bob Cratchit. So, you know, when the emotional scenes take hold, you can turn to your friend and say “but they are father and son for real!” And the inclusion of the Watertown Children’s Theatre only adds to the excitement. Dec. 12-22, Wednesdays and Thursdays 7 p.m., Fridays 8 p.m., Saturdays 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sundays 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown. Call 617-923-8487.

A Different Take on the Tired Scrooge: “The Christmas Carol”…I know, we get it : Don’t be a jerk…especially an old rich one. But one group, The Firebird Ensemble, has taken the familiar Dickens’ story and redone it as a musical, which I’m sure is much better than the Muppet one that came out years ago. Instead, in the Passion of the Scrooge, each character is represented by an instrument and has the musicians sing, act and hum. This is the 4th year for the production and it is fast becoming a critic and audience favorite. Great for families and anyone else who identifies a little too well with Scrooge. Saturday, Dec. 8, 2:30 p.m. at Fanueil Hall in Boston. Tickets: $10-$20. Call 617-480-5112.

Grab Fine Art: Every time I go to an art exhibit, I’m so tempted to rip the painting off the wall so that I can hang it in the living room. I hope the MFA security isn’t reading this. Well now the exhibit is giving me that chance, legally, for a price. The icons +altars exhibit is selling raffle tickets for $225 (calm down and read on) and for that price you get your pick of any piece of art in the exhibit. They only sell as many tickets as there are art, so no one will get left out in the cold. This is the 14th year for this unique holiday benefit with proceeds going to the art education and exhibit programs at the New Art Center in Newton. The exhibit is still open (and free to the public) till the drawing. Through Dec. 16, Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Drawing happens on Sunday, Dec. 16, 4 p.m. at the New Art Center in Newton. Raffle tickets: $225. Call 617-964-3424..

Award-Winning Jazz: Jazz pianist and composer Geri Allen will be an artist in residence at Harvard University, which means that she’ll be performing and talking about her craft at three events over two days. The most enlightening may be the one entitled “A Musical Conversation with Geri Allen,” where she’ll talk about her career and creative process with music examples. That’s on Friday, Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. at Lowell Hall. The other two are performances, one featuring her trio (Friday 8 p.m.) and one that is a tribute to Mary Lou Williams, Saturday 8 p.m. Dec. 7-8, Friday 8 p.m. at John Knowles Paine Concert Hall, free. Saturday, 8 p.m. at Lowell Hall, $10. Both in Cambridge. Call 617-495-8676.