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The Virgin Mobile Fest is not today’s only big event. The Reggae Summerfest is taking place in downtown DC today. The lineup includes speedy dancehall reggae toasters Beenie Man and Capleton plus more rootsy, slower-tempoed performers such as Marcia Griffiths, Cocoa Tea, the Itals and I-Wayne.
One of the most interesting acts on the bill is not a reggae artist. Mahmoud Ahmed is an age 60-something singer from Ethiopia, who has gained attention from non-Ethiopians since the 1990s thanks to his cuts on the widely heralded Ethiopiques compilations and director Jim Jarmusch’s usage of fellow Ethiopian Mulatu Astatke’s songs in the 2005 movie Broken Flowers. Here is some 2006 and 2008 footage of Ahmed that shows he is still vital.
Reggae Summerfest Sunday August 30 at 12 noon with Beenie Man, Capleton, Marcia Griffiths, Cocoa Tea, I-Wayne, Mahmoud Ahmed from Ethiopia, The Itals, Jovi Rockwell, Fire Star, Kunzo & Tonestar from Nigeria, Lionize, Image Band, The Iternals, S.T.O.R.M., and more at City Center DC, 900 9th Street NW, Washington DC Information Line: 202-725-0331