There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Sa-Roc’s Tiny Desk Concert
Pull out your sage, get your energy straight, and join Sa-Roc, a rapper from Southeast D.C., for her Tiny Desk (Home) Concert, with her producer and life partner, Sol Messiah. You won’t be alone—three minutes into her 20-minute virtual performance, Sa-Roc lights her own sage as she introduces herself and waxes poetic about the importance of maintaining good energy in the era of coronavirus isolation. “Whether we burn sage or incense or meditate, we need to have those spaces of pure love and joy,” Sa-Roc says, “especially when there’s so much going on out in the world that causes the opposite of that vibe.” Creating spaces full of love is the topic of “Deliverance,” Sa-Roc’s opening number and one of two unreleased debuts she performs from her upcoming album, The Sharecropper’s Daughter. The powerful song sets the tone for the rest of the concert, throughout which Sa-Roc seamlessly and rapidly weaves her way through four songs over Messiah’s understated beats. “Deliverance” is followed by “Hand of God,” “r(E)volution”—Sa-Roc’s second unreleased song—and “Forever,” her magnum opus on self-love. Although it appears the performance was filmed before the murder of George Floyd and the protests against anti-Black racism that have manifested across the country—a movement Sa-Roc has shown ample support for on Twitter and Instagram—the rapper’s music still speaks to the current moment. During “Deliverance,” Sa-Roc and Messiah proudly put up Black power fists, and in “r(E)volution,” Sa-Roc declares: “This is revolution, get on up.” The performance is available at npr.org. Free.—Ella Feldman
DC JazzFest From Home
Ordinarily, this would be the time of the DC Jazz Festival. The jazz ecosystem, and festivals in particular, have been uniquely devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, with venues and events from New York to Sydney going dark. But the dauntless artists-turned-entrepreneurs known as Live From Our Living Rooms are stepping into the void. After mounting an entirely online festival in April based on the titular conceit—performers livestreaming music from their homes—LFOLR is taking the show on the road by teaming up with the jazz impresarios of our fair city. DC JazzFest From Home is featuring 18 virtual performances in nine days, with two acts each day; like the traditional DC Jazz Festival, it includes a healthy mix of world-renowned acts (including violinist Regina Carter and pianist Orrin Evans) and D.C.’s great local talents (like saxophonist Sarah Hughes and trombonist Reginald Cyntje). Yes, it’s far from an ideal festival; still, getting to see and hear world-class live jazz, with neither you nor the musicians having to step outside, has its own charm. DC JazzFest From Home runs through June 29 at livefromourlivingrooms.com/dcjazzfest. Free, donations encouraged. —Michael J. West