Boston Globe

THE GREAT UNKNOWN Malian musician Habib Koite samples his country’s traditions and cultures

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NEW YORK - Oh, you jaded listener. You don't know the name Habib Koite, and you want to know why you should care about one more musician from someplace you've barely heard of. Well, maybe this will put him on your musical map:

On the opening night last month of his 37-city march across North America, fans repeatedly threw money – $10s and $20s, real money - at his feet or, better yet, pasted the bills onto his brow, moist with the sweat of his labor.

Battle that, Eminem.


BORN TO THE BLUES Coco Montoya learned what he wanted — with both kinds of luck

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In 48 years on the planet, Coco Montoya has been lucky, good, and to the brink of death, three of the many reasons to think he was born to play the blues.

Lucky: Barely 21 and a drummer in a California bar band, Montoya left his kit at the club one night after a gig. The next day, blues guitar legend Albert Collins came to play a matinee, and the club manager let him use the drums. When Montoya came by later and saw that someone had been playing in his seat, he let the manager know he didn't like it. Word got to Collins, who called to apologize, and a deep lifelong friendship was born.


TO THE BEAT OF HER CONVICTIONS Singer Angelique Kidjo a dynamic force for peace, spirituality

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NEW ORLEANS - To get a clue into Angelique Kidjo, you only had to witness her set at Congo Square, one of the big venues of this city's annual Jazz and Heritage Festival, on the first Friday in May.

It wasn't just that she wheedled the burly security chief until he allowed fans to come up and join her. Kidjo commonly requires fans at her shows not only to dance, as she does endlessly, but to do so with her onstage.


FIRST YOU BUY IT High-end remotes are costly to purchase, but then there's the programming

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I still remember my first remote control; at least, the first one to come under my control. It belonged to my Mama Ruth and Papa Solly. It had two buttons, one for channel and one for volume. Both worked only in one direction, from bottom to top; the channels ran in an endless loop; the volume shut the TV off before it went back to soft.

They soon grew more sophisticated and numerous; now everything above a transistor radio comes with one, and coffee tables are littered with them.


GOTTA RUN At 40-plus, their love of competition keeps them in fast company

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Most of the 200 or so athletes competing at the eighth annual Adidas Boston Indoor Games tonight traverse the track circuit seeking fame and a good living. But a handful, including about a dozen contestants in the Masters Mile - whose contestants are all 40 or older - race purely for the competition. Here's a bit more on five local Masters entrants.


PAUL HAMMOND
, 43
INSURANCE UNIT CLAIM MANAGER, LEXINGTON


STENCILS OPEN A WINDOW INTO ARTIST'S IMAGINATION

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REHOBOTH - Amid the completed, semicompleted, and never-to-be- completed works in the Rehoboth studio of Dennis Congdon sits a small Royal typewriter. At first it seems out of place, but talk a few moments with Congdon, whose large-format oil and acrylic paintings are brush strokes sandwiched between layers of pigment sprayed through hand-cut stencils, and you begin to understand why it fits right in. Congdon, 48 and a professor of painting at the Rhode Island School of Design, begins his explanation, and process, with what he calls "the grand tradition" of great painters:


DESIGNING ONLINE Software helps arrange the furniture before buying

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Do-it-yourself home designers used to have only graph paper and a ruler for tools, but you can find better tools these days on the Internet. The bad sites aren't that bad, and the best ones are getting better. jordansfurniture.com

A new software package by Hookumu Inc., a Salem, N.H., developer, could turn out to be one of the very best. It is due to debut by the end of this month on the Jordan's Furniture website. I got to test the package last week at home, and found it to be pretty snazzy: easy, efficient, and eminently customizable.


GUGGENHEIM HELPS MALDEN WRITER TACKLE HIS LATEST

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Eric Nisenson, 56, of Malden, was an editor of college textbooks until 1980, when he began writing books of his own. He now is at work on his sixth, about the tropicalia music movement (also known as tropicalismo) in '60s Brazil. Previous titles include "Ascension: John Coltrane and His Quest" and " 'Round About Midnight," a portrait of Miles Davis. Nisenson is a 2002 Guggenheim fellow; the stipend is allowing him to proceed with the book without having a publisher.

"I always wanted to write, since I was a kid, but like all writers, I was afraid I wouldn't get published.


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