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Linda Tillery & the Cultural Heritage Choir 

When: Fri., Dec. 5, 8 p.m. 2008
Price: $25-$30

Powerful, deep-voiced Linda Tillery is one of the best musicians in a city of incredibly talented musicians, and her five-piece Cultural Heritage Choir is easily the hottest ticket in town this week. Armed with a small battery of drums and an arsenal of voices (including jazz singers Rhonda Benin and Valerie Troutt), the Choir performs gospel, spiritual, and antiphonal folk songs with five-part harmonies. The lyrics derive from slave narratives and hymns that Tillery dredged up through years of research, though she also poaches liberally from African folk music. Though the Cultural Heritage Choir uses material that dates back hundreds of years, it uses the same blues harmonies and rhythmic patterns that you'll hear in contemporary R&B (done really well, in this case). Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir perform Friday, Dec. 5 at Rudramandir (830 Bancroft Way, Berkeley). 8 p.m., $20-$30. Rudramandir.com


— Rachel Swan

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