We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Trinidadian artist Bunji Garlin, who since 1998 has been popular in the Caribbean diaspora thanks to his exuberant, rhythmic soca dance music, has built a wider following in recent years. His 2012 single “Differentology” is no formulaic island party track. Sure, it’s about showing off swagger during the annual Carnival parade, but the joyful song’s catchy melody, chanted verses, and distinctive beats sound just as good at home on the couch as they do in a festival celebration. It’s even been featured on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy and blasted in NBA arenas. Garlin’s 2013 track “Carnival Tabanca” further boosted his tunesmith reputation with its wistful melody and lyrics about longing for the masquerade season. Still, Garlin’s music is far from easy listening—he has plenty of cuts that feature his gruff, speedy vocals over minimalist techno-esque pounding. While those frenetic numbers will get folks moving, it’s the melodic ones that will have them jubilantly singing along and waving their home country’s flags. Bunji Garlin performs at 9:30 p.m. at the Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. $30. (202) 803-2899. thehowardtheatre.com.