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There’s a whole wide spectrum of interesting international music events in the D.C. area this weekend. While there’s no denying that some international music is marketed to 50-something white guy NPR listeners, here in the D.C. area many international concerts are instead aimed at emigres from the respective countries. That’s the case with many of this weekend’s shows. But whether or not one fits into a targeted demographic, these shows are worth checking out.
Friday night May 2nd brings the first of a trio of May salsa shows. Orquesta Guayacan from Colombia meshes polished, romantic vocals with booming horns and a percussive clave beat. They’ll be with Los Internacionales del Vallenato con Wilmer Manga & Pete Rodgers at El Boqueron II, 1330 East Gude Drive, in Rockville. Advertised only in the Spanish-language media, expect the club’s large dancefloor to be filled with dancing couples (many familiar with the group from back home).
Meanwhile, back in-town at the Kennedy Center, Luciana Souza, a Brazilian female singer most recently heard on Herbie Hancock’s Grammy album of the year, brings her folk, bossa nova and jazz stylings to the Center’s Family Theater for two shows at 7:30 and 9:30.
Nothing ever starts early at Zanzibar on the Waterfront, but if you’re willing to wait around till well after midnight Friday night (Saturday morning), longtime Jamaican sweet-voiced crooner Luciano headlines a reggae triple-bill. His latest “Jah is My Navigator” has received much acclaim.
Saturday night May 3rd offers a tribute to an artist, the late Andy Palacio from Belize, whose 2007 CD did impress those middle age American world music tastemakers and fans. Sadly, the 40-something Palacio suddenly died in January just as he was preparing for a U.S. tour. So instead Lisner Auditorium will be offering a free homage at 8 p.m. to Palacio’s pop, which combined West African, Arawak Indian and European influences. The show will feature Palacio’s band the Garifuna Collective, all women group Umalali, and others.
Sunday May 4th is the 2nd salsa show of the month—the Spanish Harlem Orchestra at the University of Mayland’s Clarice Smith Center at 7:30(the third one is El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico on May 17th at the Dulles Expo Center). This frequently touring ensemble that includes “salsa dura” (hard salsa) trombonist Jimmy Bosch, is sneered at by some purists simply because they play more crossover gigs and get more Anglo media attention than other salsa combos, but don’t hold that against them. Plus, I’ve seen folks dance in the aisles at the Clarice Smith Center, so this may just as lively a function as the other weekend Spanish-language gigs (none of which have received any Cinco de Mayo related publicity, by the way).