Transparent Productions is still basically defunct, but it probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that the name is being resurrected to accommodate Kahil El’Zabar and his Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, who for the past 8 years have played a Black History Month show in the D.C. area. Last year it was special: a 35th-anniversary extravaganza that included a drum circle, a workshop, and two nights of fantastic shows at Chief Ike’s (that’s the first night pictured above—trumpeter Corey Wilkes showcasing a technique that really shouldn’t work, but somehow did).
This year, El’Zabar and company are playing at Contradiction Dance in Takoma Park, which apparently is what replaced the venerable Sangha (which was a fair trade/neo-hippie store that played generous host to countless Transparent shows). EHE’s meshing of traditional African music with avant-garde jazz is interesting on record but really comes alive in a live setting; El’Zabar himself is one of the most expressive percussionists (and kalimba-ists) I’ve ever seen.
$15, 7014 Westmoreland Avenue, Takoma Park, MD (three blocks from the Takoma Park metro), 8pm sharp tonight.