You might soon know the name Naïmah Muhammad.
Coming up, Muhammad,who performs under the moniker Naïmah, cut her teeth near the intersection of 10th and U streets, where go-go and jazz once flourished. Now, Muhammad can be seen performing at venues across town.
She describes her sound as alternative pop with indie folk elements. But don’t expect the soft guitar melodies of beard-y hipster bands. Instead, Muhammad’s voice is often backed by big drum beats and dreamy synth tracks composed by the artist herself.
“I never foresaw myself being the actual singer of my songs,” Muhammad said. “I just thought I was going to write, make a very specific image for someone else and have them fulfill it.”
Muhammad is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she studied communication and songwriting.
“As soon as I got back home, I fell back in love with D.C. and the East Coast,” she said,
Muhammad said she’s caught in a “balancing act” between the D.C. and New York City. She spends Monday through Thursday in the District, doing public programming for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History before heading to New York on the weekends to record an album.
The weekly commute, she said, can take its toll.
“I’m doing this on my own, and it’s tough but it’s worth it,” she said. “I’ve seen contracts that wouldn’t be good for me as a songwriter and as an artist, so I’m just being patient, keeping up my work ethic and hoping for the best.”
The album isn’t the only thing Muhammad has in the works. She’s released a handful singles with another, called “Set It Off,” on the way.
“I’ve been developing my live performance, I have songs I can work on for a new project and it just feels like the right time,” she said. “This has been a great way to share my music with people, make connections and create a little buzz about what I’m working on.”
Ideally, Muhammad said, her goal is scoring soundtracks for film and television with her original work. Think Lana Del Ray’s album for “The Great Gatsby.”
“When I write, I write very visually,” she explained. “Every little song is kind of a story already, and I can see something happening as I’m writing it.”
Muhammad said she plans to continue recording, performing and working her way through life in D.C. and New York until her career goals start becoming reality. And right now, she’s more than happy to do it.
“I’m still an everyday person making music that I hope connects with someone else,” she said. “Everything is really about the people you meet along the way because you can’t do it alone.”
Photo courtesy of Naïmah Muhammad
The festival, which promised to fill Adams Morgan porches with street performers this weekend, will now take place on Oct. 24 between 2 and 6 p.m.
Adams Morgan Partnership BID executive director Kristen Barden informed future attendees of the schedule change earlier this afternoon on Facebook.
“Unfortunately, the weather is not cooperating for PorchFest this Saturday,” Barden wrote.
Though it may be easy to assume the cancellation is related to the possibly forthcoming Hurricane Joaquin, Barden said that’s not entirely the case.
“The prediction is that it’s going to be a very wet weekend,” Barden said. “That forecast in itself was too much. Electricity and water just don’t mix.”
So far, the change hasn’t led to widespread performance cancellations. “There’s just one porch that won’t be able to do it on the 24th,” Barden said. “We should still have 16-17 porches.”
Photo via Facebook/Adams Morgan Porch Fest
Crock ‘n’ roll: Roughly 20 local bands will trade instruments for ladles in a new chili cookbook.
The forthcoming DC Rock ‘N’ Roll Chili Cookbook will feature chili and chili-esque recipes from local musicians. All proceeds from its sale will go toward benefiting Bread for the City, a nonprofit that provides food, clothing, medical care and social services to at-need District residents.
Mogavero said the idea for the cookbook arose during a conversation with Sam Sherwood of indie rock band Mittenfields.
“The idea started, as many wonderful things do, over whiskey and beers at Showtime,” Mogavero said. “I was talking with Sam Sherwood about the Jack White guacamole recipe and that evolved into a conversation about our guacamole recipes and eventually our chili recipes.”
Mogavero said it wasn’t hard to get other bands and musicians to contribute recipes. To date, he’s already gathered submissions from Booby Trap, BRNDA, Granny & The Boys, Head-Roc, Hemlines, Incredible Change, journalist Kriston Capps, Mittenfields, Miyazaki, Nice Breeze, Not Bored, Pat Walsh, Plums, Polyon, Puff Pieces, Sara Curtin, Technicians and Tereu Tereu.
Though many groups contributed classic meat-and-beans chili recipes, Mogavero said there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan recipes as well as some recipes for things to eat with your chili. Feminist punk band Hemlines named its recipe “Dana-Friendly Veggie Chili” after its vegetarian bassist Dana Liebelson. Folk-pop musician Sara Curtin contributed a recipe for beet soup and semi-anonymous Fort Reno Rumors will also contribute to the list, Mogavero added.
Isn’t chili mostly the same no matter how it’s made? Not really, Mogavero said.
“Incredible Change has a recipe that sounds pretty promising involving McClure’s Pickles and black beans, so I’m eager to try that,” he said. “I haven’t tried Granny and The Boys’ recipe because I feared that it would give me a heart attack; it has like 80 different kinds of meat in it.”
The cookbook, which is available for pre-order and due out in November, will come with a download code for a compilation album featuring all the musicians whose recipes are in the book. Jack on Fire and BRNDA have recorded new songs for the release, and Sara Curtin’s song “Summer” will also be on the list.
Many of the bands also added some non-tangible ingredients into the recipes themselves. Jack on Fire’s chili recipe, for example, calls for a Stooges album to be playing while you cook and stir.
“A lot of the recipes are over-the-top and silly,” Mogavero said.
Music fans will get a chance to taste some of the recipes before they buy the book at a kickoff event Nov. 8 at 4-7 p.m. at Showtime Lounge in Bloomingdale (113 Rhode Island Ave. NW). Mogavero is still hammering out the details for the event, but says he expects some intense competition between the bands to crop up.
“I imagine that everyone is saving their trash talk for Showtime and that a full-on Animal House-style food fight will go on,” he joked. “Probably a few people will be hospitalized with chili-related injuries.”
Photo courtesy of Brendan Polmer/ Tereu Tereu
Adams Morgan residents and visitors are probably used to music emanating from the bars along 18th Street, but on October 3, they’ll be able to hear music coming from almost every street in the neighborhood.
That evening, musicians will play sets on stoops and porches throughout the neighborhood as part of the third annual Porch Fest.
Porch Fest is a free festival in which residents and businesses open their porches or patios to musicians to play for gathered crowds and passers-by. The festival is organized by the Adams Morgan Partnership BID and Cultural Tourism DC, a nonprofit organization that attempts to bring art and cultural events to public places throughout the city.
Participating porches will host three different musicians or bands at 3, 4:30 and 6 p.m.
Kristen Barden, executive director of the Adams Morgan Partnership BID says that they’ve already booked all of the porches for this year’s festival but are still accepting applications for musicians, who can contact organizers through their Facebook page.
“We’re about halfway there,” she said. “We need about another 15 musicians in order to have enough for all the porches.”
Barden said that the musicians already signed on play a wide range of styles and instruments. While most sets are acoustic, Barden says if the porch owner is willing to provide electricity, bands can play plugged-in sets.
“So far we have a ukelele band, an original singer-songwriter of folk music, a jazz singer, an alternative country rock band, some acoustic folk rock, a jazz pianist, a spoken-word-infused hip-hop artist and a contemporary pop vocalist who plays piano covers,” Barden said.
The Adams Morgan Partnership BID distributes free maps showing porch locations during the event from their headquarters at 1640 Columbia Rd. NW. Barden said that last year they distributed over 1,000 maps.
“Families open up their porches and we have musicians play all afternoon,” Barden said. “It’s a great way to get out and walk around the whole neighborhood.”
Photo via Facebook/Adams Morgan Porch Fest
Looking for something to do this weekend? Well, look no further. We have your list of the food, music and cultural events going on in Borderstan August 10th, 11th and 12th.
Local Events and Exhibits
- Shakespeare in the Circle: On Saturday, August 11, join Dupont Festival & Empty Chair Theatre Co. for a free outdoor production of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” at the Dupont Circle fountain. The play begins at 8:30 pm. For more information, visit www.dupontfestival.org.
- “Keep the Lights On” at the Carnegie Institute: Reel Affirmations is showing “the most riveting and compelling film this year” at the Theatre at the Carnegie Institute (1530 P Street NW) on Friday, August 10th at 7 pm and again at 9 pm. Tickets are available for purchase online.
- DC Beer Week: DC’s fourth annual Beer Week kicks off this weekend with more than 180 separate events throughout the city. Visit the official calendar for more information on the week’s events (including some great ones in the neighborhood!), or visit the official website for more information.
- “1001 Inventions: Discover the Golden Age of Muslim Civilization” at National Geographic: Now through February 3, The National Geographic Museum (1145 17th Street NW) is showcasing the often-overlooked inventions brought forth during what Western civilizations considered to be the Dark Ages: innovations in time-keeping, energy-efficiency and even the game of chess. Interactive features allow kids to delve into each invention, learning how they were created, and how they shaped the modern world. The exhibit is open from 10 am until 6 pm daily; admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children.
- Pop-up Music and Fashion Event with OnStage DC: Join OnStage DC for an afternoon of local music, fashion, art and community at the organization’s pop-up event in the courtyard of the M.A. Winter Building at 1436 U Street NW between 4 and 8 pm. For more information, visit the event’s website.
- Justin’s Famous Fish Fry Benefitting DASH: On Saturday, August 11, join Justin Schuck and his policy-focused advertising organization, Influential, for its second “Justin’s Famous Fish Fry.” This year’s event will benefit theDistrict Alliance for Safe Housing (DASH) and the women and children the organization serves. The event starts at 4 pm at 1611 Irving Street NW. Visit the event’s Facebook page for more information.
- Swimming in Ward 2 – Pool Season Extended: Councilmember Evans announced an extended pool season for three Ward 2 swimming pools: Francis Pool (2500 N Street NW), Jelleff Pool (3265 S Street NW) and Volta Pool (1555 34th Street NW). These pools, operated by the District’s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), will operate with normal weekday and weekend hours through the Labor Day weekend.
DC9 (1940 9th Street NW)
- Saturday, August 11: Bad Domes Mash-Up Dance Party, 10 pm.
- Sunday, August 12: Cobalt & the Hired Guns, Orchard Wall, 8 pm.
Velvet Lounge (915 U Street NW)
- Saturday, August 11: The Jet Age, Kyle Sowashes, The Mean Ideas, 9 pm.
- Sunday, August 12: Silent Old Mtns, The Sleepwalkers, Black Checker, 7:30 pm.
9:30 Club (815 V Street NW)
- Saturday, August 11: Hot in Here – 2000s Dance Party, 9 pm.
- Sunday, August 12: Real Estate, R. Stevie Moore, 7 pm.
Black Cat (1811 14th Street NW)
- Saturday, August 11: Mixtape with DJs Shea Van Horn and Matt Bailer, 9:30 pm.
- Sunday, August 12: Ragnarok, Evan Valentine CD Recording, 8 pm.
Black Fox Lounge (1723 Connecticut Avenue NW)
- Friday, August 10: Special Agent Galactica, an evening of song and banter, 6 pm.
- Sunday, August 12: DC Jazz Jam three year anniversary celebration, 6:30 pm.
- Saturday, August 11: Jagged Edge + Jon B, 8 pm.
- Sunday, August 12: Sunday Gospel Brunch featuring the Harlem Gospel Choir, 1:30 pm.