We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
Last year, relying largely on the Smithsonian Folkways’ catalogue of songs, speeches, and poetry, Coppin State Professor Robert Cataliotti, through the legendary label, released an attempt to trace the African oral tradition through testimony against slavery and past Jim Crow to black power and hiphop. Cataliotti’s hodgepodge double-disc set, Every Tone a Testimony, is not quite definitive: Though it offers field hollers, Langston Hughes, Nicki Giovanni, and Arrested Development, the anthology leaves out such notables as Ralph Ellison and the Last Poets. But what Cataliotti has collected is impressive and emotionally resonating. Via inflection and intonation, and through imaginative phrasing, Cataliotti has singularly brought out these many voices of pride and protest. Cataliotti appears at 12:30 p.m. at Olsson’s Books and Records, 1200 F St. NW. Free. (202) 347-3686. (Steve Kiviat)