In 1966, Maryland rock band The Hangmen’s catchy tune “What a Girl Can’t Do” pushed the Beatles' “We Can Work it Out” out of the No. 1 slot on D.C.-area top-hits station WEAM. The song was penned by then Montgomery College student and guitarist Tom Guernsey—at first for his prior band, The Reekers, before it was released [...]
Author Archive for Steve Kiviat
Arlington’s Artisphere turns two this weekend. But is it a happy birthday?
Despite critical acclaim for some of the art center's programming, it’s still difficult to determine how sustainable Artisphere's model is. Nearly a year after amending its business plan, Arlington taxpayers may be on the hook for a projected $2.3 million deficit.
Executive Director Jose Ortiz says [...]
This is one of those weeks when it's tough to be a fan of African music: There's so much good stuff going on, it's impossible to take advantage of all of it.
Tonight, Ghanaian rapper Blitz the Ambassador is at National Geographic. Now based in New York, this wordy old-school influenced rapper—born Samuel Bazawule—came to the United States to [...]
Bladensburg, Md., eatery Crossroads Nightclub and Restaurant was operating as normal last week, but owner Alton Gayle was tied up with more serious matters.
On Sept. 11 in Prince George's County Circuit Court, Gayle pleaded guilty to one charge of willful failure to file return sales and use tax. The club owner's plea agreement calls for him [...]
In 1966, a Tennessee radio DJ named William “Hoss” Allen went to a Dallas TV station to host The !!!! Beat, a soul and blues program that would go on to feature an impressive lineup of artists. Beginning tonight and continuing every Friday in September, the Library of Congress plans to show a handful of classic [...]
The Very Best, who perform at Rock & Roll Hotel tonight, won widespread acclaim for its bubbly, bright mesh of Afropop vocals and electro, indie rock and hiphop music on a 2008 mixtape and 2009 debut album The Warm Heart of Africa. Then a UK-based trio including Swedish producer Johan Hugo Karlberg, Malawian vocalist Esau Mwamwaya, [...]
D.C.-based Sierra Leonean vocalist Janka Nabay, who will appear with his band the Bubu Gang at the Kennedy Center tonight, shows his Olympics spirit and homeland pride in a new song and video called “Nar London.”
Joined by Brooklyn-based Sierra Leonean rapper Pupa Bajah, Nabay pays tribute to one of Sierra Leone’s two 2012 Olympic participants, [...]
Tonight through Saturday, three unique representatives of South American music styles are coming to town. Begin ticking off the list this evening at the Millennium Stage, where Brazilian forro de rabeca ensemble Quarteto Olinda will be in the house. The group—appearing in the United States for the first time—aims to keep its traditional, rural Brazilian genre vital. It's [...]
In the 1990s, Janka Nabay became a star in war-torn Sierra Leone by adding high BPM drum machine beats, cowbells, and shakers to traditional folkloric bubu music.
Nabay, who plays at Summer Scream Part 2 at Comet Ping Pong tonight with Video Love and locals Heavy Breathing, tired of performing for rebel generals and emigrated to the [...]
America is a melting pot and tonight’s pre-July 4 “Tropical Boom” event at U Street Music Hall is a celebration of musical culture from the Caribbean, the Americas, and Africa. Arts Desk spoke with headliner DJ Poirier and his colleague, rapper Boogat, both of whom are based in Montreal. They will be joined by a number of [...]