Two veteran D.C. rock musicians are bringing a showcase of global music to the Hill Center
Starting March 15, the Hill Center will host four Sunday afternoon concerts by District musicians from Sierra Leone, Mali and Ethiopia.
Fugazi drummer and producer Brendan Canty and Jim Thomson — who coordinates music for the Capital Fringe Festival and was a drummer for Gwar — created the series to highlight D.C.’s lively global music scene, Thomson said. Its name, “Dounouya: Global Sounds on the Hill,” references a West African word for “the whole world,” organizers said.
“We’re going to focus on the international, cultural side of Washington, D.C.,” Thomson said. “This is a federal city, but it has a massive population of immigrants.”
The musicians will be Janka Nabay & The Bubu Gang, which makes traditionally Muslim music with drum machines, and Cheick Hamala Diabate, a Malian griot and string instrument-player who has performed with American banjo players. Also on the lineup are the Feedel Band, which mixes Ethiopian music and American sounds, and Amadou Kouyate, a kora player and drummer.
The musicians all combine sounds from their families’ countries, the U.S. and elsewhere, Thomson said.
“They’re doing funk music influenced by James Brown, and jazz influenced by Duke Ellington,” Thomson, 49, said about the Feedel Band.
You might not hear Canty’s or Thomson’s punk roots in the sounds of the concerts, but they’ll be there in the shows’ “philosophy,” Thomson said.
“Exposure to punk rock was really always about attitude, not really style,” he said. “Punk rock opened another door to possibilities.”
The concerts at 921 Pennsylvania Ave. SE will be held March 15, April 12, May 10 and June 28. Tickets cost $12 each online and $15 at the door. Craft beer and wine will be sold.
Photos courtesy of Hill Center/Michael Crook, John Shore