For D.C.’s Caribbean community this is THEweekend—the loud, brash Saturday parade featuring participants in Technicolor costumes plus countless concerts and parties with sound systems turned up to 11. But if you don’t like reggae and soca, this weekend offers numerous other international and roots music choices. Around this time every year, I run into Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty and numerous Glen Echo dancers at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. While my editor wants me to acknowledge that some consider the event a “tourist trap,” the aforementioned people and I know better. See some of the highlights of these events and more below, including Tinariwen, Pitbull, the Magnolia Sisters, and the Eat, Drink, and Be Merry panel discussion:
Fri. June 25 –
Nguyen Dinh Nghia (a Vietnamese-American flautist), the Korean American Cultural Arts Foundation, the Nepal Dance School, and two Laotian American groups, LAWA and the Swan Dance Group, plus from Mexico Chinelos de Atlatlahucan, Son de Madera Trío and more between 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. for free at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall. Skipping out from work to see Chinelos from 2 to 3 p.m. is recommended—they are a carnivalesque dance troupe with boisterous horns and percussion who are often costumed in velvet gowns and tall head dresses meant to mock Spanish colonizers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
An evening Filipino concert will feature FIL-AM Dance Ensemble and Northern Virginia Rondalla from 6 to 8 pm at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.
An evening Mexican concert will feature Mariachi Tradicional Los Tíos (from El Manguito, a remote community in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains), Hamac Caziim (artsy offbeat Native American/Mexican rock), and Grupo de Fandango de Artesa Los Quilamos (Mexican music from the southern coastal region of Oaxaca that combines indigenous, African, and Spanish elements) from 6:30 to 9 pm at the Smithsonian Folklife Fest.
Tinariwen w/ Miles Seaton (Akron/Family), and Geologist (Animal Collective) doing a dj set at the 930 Club. Tinariwen, Tuaregs from the Malian portion of the Saharan desert, offer mesmerizing droning guitar.
DC Carnival 2010 weekend concert with Machel Montano; HD & Friends; Patrice Roberts; Farmer Nappy; JW & Blaze ; and more plus jugglers and soundsystems from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. at RFK Stadium, 2400 East Capitol Avenue. 1-888-703-5366. $30. Montano is an awesome Trinidadian soca bandleader and vocalist whose band adds some rock and r’n’b to their soca.
Brazil Docs Documentary Movie Fest at E. St. Theatre, 555 11th St NW ($5 each) to July 1st (these Portuguese language films with subtitles repeat each day). The schedule includes The Music Tree (2009) today at 12 noon (this film is about the endangered pernambuco wood – used in the manufacturing of violin, cello, and violas); Mysteries of Samba (2008) at 2 p.m. (this film includes musician Marisa Monte interviewing legendary samba school members) ; Beyond Ipanema (2009) at 6 p.m. (this film includes vibrant Brazilian bossa and tropicalia performances and way too many American rockers talking about Brazilian music); and Mestre Bimba: The Enlightened Capoeira (2007) (a film on the Brazilian art of capoeira).
Sat. June 26 –
D.C. Caribbean Carnival parade (11 a.m. on Saturday), featuring marching steel bands, dancing groups, and booming beats, starts at Georgia and Missouri Avenues NW and marches down Georgia to Banneker Field, at Georgia Avenue and Barry Place, near Howard University, followed by a ticketed concert with JW & Blaze; 2010 TnT Soca & Road March Monarchs; plus soca vet Iwer George; Edley Shine of Born Jamericans and more from 3 to 7 p.m. at Carnival City in Banneker Park, Georgia Avenue and Barry Place, NW. $10.
Special evening Smithsonian Folklife festival Concert-“A Tribute to Haiti” featuring Haitian combo Boukman Eksperyans, with special guest Tines Salvant for free from 6 to 8 on the National Mall. Boukman is a powerful funky band.
The Chinese American Washington Guzheng Ensemble and Japanese American Washington Toho Koto Society plus two percussion and performance groups (Burmese Americans Kabyalut and Sikh Americans from the Kaur Foundation) will perform between 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. for free at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall.
2010 DC Carnival Blue & White Soca & Chutney Explosion featuring Terry Gajral, Adrian Dutchin, Jumo, Shelly G, Pojo, The Supertones Band; DJ Flex, Bobby’s Music Machine, Shiloh International, Selecta Avalanche at The Hampton Conference Center, 207 W. Hampton Place, Capitol Heights, MD 240-770-8937
Pasatono Orquesta, a Mixtec band from Oaxaca, Mexico for free from 6 to 7 (and webcast) at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry in 1950s-60s D.C.: A panel discussion, slideshow, and oral history presentation with the photos of Emil Press from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at the Historical Society of Washington DC, 801 K Street NW at Mount Vernon Square, WDC 20001. Presented by Jeff Krulik. Free. This is an encore of an earlier conference panel discussion. As a hobby, Mr. Press shot nearly 4000 color slides of Washington DC between 1959 to 1979. Panelists—local writer Vance Garnett, longtime music fan Mike Baker and Washington Post “On The Town” columnist John Pagones (1959-65) will discuss old D.C. nightclubs and restaurants.
Carnival City 2010 Palance Saturday featuring Alison Hinds (great soca singer); JW & Blaze; Rikki Jai; Tallpree; Super Jigga; TC; Buffy; Caribbean Traffik Jam at the Crossroads, 4103 Baltimore Avenue, Bladensburg, MD
Soca Motion with performances By Destra Garcia; Fayann Lyons; Bunji Garlin;Edwin Yearwood; Pumpa and DJ’s at the DC Star Club, 2135 Queens Chapel Rd NW
Robert Vargas (meringue) at Rio Restaurant & Lounge, 13501 Baltimore Ave, Laurel, MD. $15-$20.
Serani (reggae) at Hogates, 800 Water St. SW
Brazilian drummer Duduka da Fonseca, Antonio Carlos Jobim’s longtime singer Maucha, with bassist Leonardo Cioglio, Chuck Redd on vibes and Robert Redd on piano for an all-Brazilian concert entitled “The Brazilian’s are Coming” from 7:30 to 10 for free at the Reston Town Center , 11921 Freedom Drive Reston, VA
Sun. June 27
DC Carnival Concert & Family Day Featuring the Alison Hinds Show (fine Barbados vocalist) ; Rikki Jai; Rafrechi Haitian Band(from Wash. DC); Proverbs Reggae Band; Spyda The DJ and more from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at at Banneker Park, Georgia Avenue and Barry Place NW. $10.
Smithsonian Folklife Festival continues with Cambodian Buddhist Society, Wat Thai Temple, (Nepalese American) Himalayan Music Group, and (Indian American) Sutradhar Institute during the day followed by an evening show from 5:30 to 7 with Halau Ho’omau, Hakka Association in Washington, Hakka TungFa Chorus of Greater Washington and another evening show from 6 to 7:30 with Chanchona Los Hermanos Lovo and Los Reyes de Albuquerque.
Annual National Capital Barbecue Battle on Pennsylvania Ave. between 9th and 14th Sts NW with Cyril Neville and his band Tribe 13 from 6:15 to 7:30 pm on the Famous Dave’s Music Stage, and Mother’s Finest at around the same time on the Capitol Stage at Pennsylvania and 12th Street