The hit of 1997’s carnival in Trinidad & Tobago was the trio 3canal, who, ever since, have helped popularize rapso music, a combination of American rap and the rhythm-intensive Trinidadian dance fusion soca. Gala Hispanic Theatre marries 3canal’s genre-defining music with the words of Guyanese poet Martin Carter to create Caribeana Imperia, an evening that explores the islands’ conflicted history from the legacy of slavery to the present. As one of the interpretive dancers who rounds out the cast summarizes contemporary Caribbean ennui, “We come from nothing, we are nothing, so let the tourists come.” Spectators should be forewarned, however: 3canal is an avowedly political band—and in Imperia, they come out four-square against violence while openly declaring themselves pro-peace, love, possibilities, and good news. So watch your back, the Man. Caribeana Imperia runs 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday, to Sunday, July 30, at Gala Theatre at Tivoli Square, 3333 14th St. NW. $28–$32. (800) 494-8497. (Janet Hopf)