Soul, Funk, R&B, & Hip-Hop

Les Nubians

When: Sat., Sept. 18, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., Sept. 19, 2 & 7 p.m. 2010

The folks who gravitated to jazz singer Edith Piaf in the 1930s and '40s could have easily been fans of Les Nubians half a century later. The French R&B duo features sisters Hélène and CéliaFaussart, who grew up in Chad and Bordeaux, with a French father and Cameroonian mother. As kids, they internalized a variety of different musical styles: straight-ahead jazz, spoken word, conscious hip-hop, Afrobeat, torch songs. They did poetry slams, sang a cappella, and released their 1998 album debut on Virgin Records, France. Seemingly unconstrained, it mixed African drums with R&B chord changes, percussive tikka-tikkavocalizations, and sexy French lyrics. Later, Les Nubians would get more adventurous, performing their hit song "Makeda" with a backbeat from rapper N.O.R.E., and adding spoken-word breakdowns to their live sets. Twelve years in, with three albums in their catalog and a new one in the hopper, these sisters never cease to surprise. Les Nubians perform at OaklandYoshi's (510 Embarcadero West) on Saturday, Sept. 18 (8 & 10 p.m.) and Sunday, Sept. 19 (2 & 7 p.m.). $18, $30 for adults, $5 children's matinee. Yoshis.com

Rachel Swan

Price: $18, $30, $5 children's matinee

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