Arts Desk

International and Roots Music Roundup: Bamboleo, Shonen Knife, Bluebird Fest


Are you curious about rock music’s influence in Asia? This weekend offers a couple of examples, plus a rare visit from a Cuban band, a return visit from a soul music veteran, and more.

Friday September 24

Los Angeles band Dengue Fever has a Cambodian lead singer, Chhom Nimol, and instrumentalists in love with 1960s Khmer rock and other international genres. The 2009 documentary Sleepwalking through the Mekong follows the band on its 2005 trip to Cambodia. Zac Holtzman and Senon Williams of Dengue Fever will attend tonight's screening along with director John Pirozzi. 7 p.m.  at the Sackler Gallery. Free.

The NEA National Heritage Fellowships Concert will honor a wide swath of musicians, including Yacub Addy, a Ghanaian drum master from Latham, N.Y. ; Jim "Texas Shorty" Chancellor, a fiddler from Rockwall, Texas; Del McCoury, bluegrass guitarist and singer from Nashville, Tenn.; Kamala Lakshmi Narayanan, Bharatanatyam Indian dancer from Mastic, N.Y.; Mike Rafferty, Irish flute player from Hasbrouck Heights, N.J.; and Ezequiel Torres, an Afro-Cuban drummer and drum builder from Miami. 8 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore. No advance free tickets are left, but a stand-by line begins at 7 p.m. for seats unclaimed by 7:45 p.m.

Saturday, September 25

Troker performs for free (and over webcast) from 6 to 7 p.m. at Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. This Mexican band melds hip-hop break beats, funk, jazz, fusion, pop, and cumbia.

Trombone Shorty (from New Orlean) and M.I.A. (U.K. via Sri Lanka)  perform at the sold-out Virgin FreeFest at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Sunday, Sept. 26

The Bluebird Blues Festival includes Clarence Carter (the veteran  Southern soul artist known for “Patches” and “Strokin”), Diunna Greenleaf & Blue Mercy (highly touted Houston group), Charles "Big Daddy" Stallings, M.S.G. – The Acoustic Band Trio, Barry Lee Pearson, Phil Wiggins & Rick Franklin, and Warner Williams and Jay Summerour. 12:30 to 6 p.m. at Prince Georges Community College. Free.

Locos por Juana performs for free (and via webcast) from 6 to 7 p.m. at Kennedy Center Millennium Stage. This Miami Latin alternative band plays a combination of cumbia, reggae, rock, and more.

Veteran Japanese pop-punk trio Shonen Knife performs at the Rock & Roll Hotel. 8 p.m.$15.

Orquesta Bamboleo, a large, funky Cuban timba band with plenty of horns and percussion, at performs the Star Lounge in Annandale.  $30-40.

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  • Mike Licht

    Yacub Addy lived in Arlington in the 1980s. A wonderful musician and a very nice guy. He hosted the first Homowo festivals in Washington at GWU and on the Mall.

  • Steve Kiviat

    I did not make the NEA event tonight but I did see the fine Sleepwalking Through the Mekong movie plus the director showed ten minutes or so of his next documentary on early 1960s Cambodian pop-surf-rock stars. Interesting q and a afterwards with Dengue Fever band members and the director.

  • steve k

    I just realized yesterday I forgot to list Sunday's Fiesta DC that is in Mt. Pleasant from 12 to 7. In the schedule published for it in the Washington Hispanic newspaper, I see that Cuban band Bamboleo will be playing the fest from 5 to 5:40 at the Argonne Place Rumba stage in addition to their gig later that night in Annandale. There are 3 stages featuring mainly locally based bands playing a wide variety of Hispanic/Latino sounds. It is free.