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MAY 6 & 7

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Featuring panel discussions, musical demonstrations, and live performances, the Smithsonian’s two-day conference, “Beyond the Reggae Beat: Caribbean Music in Washington, D.C.,” offers fans and novices alike an opportunity to learn about and listen to a wide variety of island music styles within a short period of time. Potential Saturday highlights include a round-table discussion on promoting, producing, and performing reggae moderated by Ras Records’ Dr. Dread; WUST-AM DJ Serge Bellegarde’s spinning of Haitian cadance, compas, and zouk records; and Safari Sound System DJs Patrick Hewitt and Corey tracing the history of Jamaican music on their turntables. There will be little talking on Sunday, just a concert featuring Midnite’s St. Croix reggae, Trinidad and Tobago steel-pan sounds from the Pan Masters, and compas and zouk courtesy of Zepon. From 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Ripley Center, Room 3111, 1100 Jefferson Dr. SW; from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday at the Museum of American History’s Carmichael Auditorium, 14th & Constitution Ave. NW. FREE. For reservations call (202) 287-2060. (Steve Kiviat)