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After more than six years and three incarnations, Hue is calling it quits—at least as far as Chocolate City goes. “We’ve reached a ceiling here,” explains keyboardist/vocalist Maritri, who goes by only her first name. So she and cellist/vocalist Shana Tucker are packing up their glad rags and heading for New York.

“In D.C., there’s only so many little places where we can play,” adds Tucker, recalling conversations with umpteen club managers. “We’re an alternative band with a smooth, soft, feminine sound. Is that what you want?”

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The group started at Howard in 1990, when Maritri convinced her classmates, LaTanya Peoples and Deirdre Pascall, to join her in a performance at the Homecoming variety show. She picked the name Hue because “it encompasses all colors, all shades…[and] every kind of music.” Tucker joined when Peoples decided to leave town. Then, in ’95 Pascall decided to go solo, leaving Maritri and Tucker to adapt their three-part vocals for two singers. But listening to their exquisite harmonizing, you’d never guess it had been any other way.

They blend their eclectic musical tastes as seamlessly as their voices. Maritri’s classical training began at age 5, whereas Tucker, who comes from a family with a “limited record collection,” started playing in junior high school. “I’m very partial to Time-Life CDs like Rollin’ With the ’80s—Duran Duran, Eurythmics, Swing Out Sister,” says Tucker. “After Off the Wall and he got his plastic surgery—that’s the Michael Jackson I know.”

Hue calls its blend of R&B, classical, and jazz “soulfolk.” Explains Tucker, “It’s folk in the content. There’s real-life issues in the subject matter.”

“It has subject matter,” Maritri points out. “Other than trying to get some butt.”

“Well, we’re still trying to get some booty with our songs,” Tucker says with a laugh. “But we want mind stimulation.”

“It’s a mental booty call, baby.”—Holly Bass

Hue performs Thursday, Aug. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Diversité, 1526 14th St. NW. Call (301) 738-7073 for tickets.