Guitar virtuoso Oumar Konaté puts on two concerts in Burque this week. Tomorrow, May 15, Konaté performs a high-noon gig at Ernie Pyle Library (900 Girard SE) and an evening show at The Cooperage (7220 Lomas NE), a swanky steakhouse at the edge of the Northeast Heights. Konaté is from Goa, Mali, and he represents a new generation of phenomenal instrumentalists and performers rising up out of Africa with a sound that renders world music a postmodern force driven by passion and intensity matched with awesome chops and classically educated sophistication, too.
Addoh, the guitarist’s first international release, explores the tenuous political situation in his homeland, and his searing guitar lends evocative, narrative weight to the struggle for peace and justice this man has witnessed. Besides gigging as a totally awesome solo performer, Konaté has worked with legendary African artists Roberto Magic and Siddi Toure as well as serving a stint as guitarist and arranger for the prestigious orchestra of Mali’s National Institute of Arts. His first US solo tour in 2012 featured a performance at Lincoln Center. Duke City is honored to have the likes of Konaté perform anywhere in town. The all-ages library concert is free, but tickets for the 21-plus concert at The Cooperage are 17 clams in advance and $22 on day of show. Tickets are available via AMP Concerts and Hold My Ticket. Doors swing wide at 6pm, and the concert begins at 7:30pm. The Cooperage • Thu May 15 • 7:30pm • $17-$22 • ALL-AGES! • View on Alibi calendar
Japanese Kitchen is doing something right. The well-established restaurant has barley a glimpse of street view—and from Americas Parkway, at that. Buried in a nondescript business cluster across Louisiana from ABQ Uptown, Japanese Kitchen is spread between two kitty-cornered buildings that are separated by a shaded plaza. Despite their near-invisibility, Japanese Kitchen’s sushi bar and steakhouse get quite busy—even rowdy at times, especially in the teppan corner.
After a five-year run, Nob Hill’s first truly upscale steakhouse went dark last week, according to a member of the owning family. He did go on record that the Gruet winery itself is up 8 percent in sales this year, so there’s no need to stockpile magnums of Champagne (or Pinot Noir ... Gruet’s is excellent, give it a try). Besides the restaurant’s excellent wine, steaks (adieu, petit filet!) and seafood, the wait staff at Gruet Steakhouse was consistently exceptional in a town known for spotty service. I’m very sad to see it go.