Leif Totusek

Plenty of musicians cite a diverse background, but none can lay claim to one quite like Seattle’s Leif Totusek: a musician since age 15, he’s performed with gospel choirs, grunge outfits, jazz quartets and ethnic African bands on both sides of the Atlantic. But his true calling emerged through the Zairian Soukous guitar—the same type used by bands like Vampire Weekend—and his dedication to the instrument beyond catchy riffs that even leads him to translate his lyrics to African language Lingala. Combining the lessons he learned from masters abroad with his extensive jazz background and Cuban influences, Totusek emerges behind a wholly original take on rumba. While live Afropop may be in short supply around Seattle, these songs bridge the quantity gap with quality. NICK FELDMAN

Thu., Jan. 20, 8 p.m., 2011