by January 11, 2013 at 10:00 am 0


Enjoy Batala with the NSO at the 9:30 Club this Saturday. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Aparna Krishnamoorthy. Email her at aparna[AT] Follow her on Twitter @aparnakris.

Ever walked past the 9:30 Club at 10 am on a Saturday morning and heard the sound of 60-plus drums? That’s the drum corps I play with, Batala Washington, having our weekly practice session. You might have seen us otherwise at the Marine Corps marathon, at the AIDS rally with Wyclef Jean, at the annual Cherry Blossom festival or just playing a guerilla show at 14th and U Streets NW.

Most recently, Batala participated in three separate shows in New York and New Jersey as part of the 50th anniversary tour of The Rolling Stones. You read that right, The Rolling Stones. Yep, we were in the same show as Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen and The Black Keys!

Batala Washington is an all-women percussion band that empowers women through drumming & promotes Brazil’s dynamic music & culture. Currently, we have over 60 members from the greater DC area, playing Afro-Brazilian / Samba-Reggae rhythms as part of the international collective of Batala bands. Batala Washington was voted by City Paper as DC’s 2012 Best Local Band.

On Saturday, January 12, we will be joined by percussionists from the National Symphony Orchestra in a demonstration and workshop as part of NSO in Your Community. The FREE event, from 11 am to 1 pm at the 9:30 Club will be an interactive workshop with the audience. For you fellow musicians, you are welcome to bring your drums and play with us. If not, just bring yourself, your friends, your kids, and your participation and we will have some spare drums.

Come out and support the NSO, Batala Washington and the community as we fill the U Street Corridor with music! Or, just come out to have a good time!

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by January 11, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

"Y" Photo courtesy YMCA of Metropolitan Washington

Glenn Donellan. (Courtesy YMCA of Metropolitan Washington)

A Night of Imagination (and exercise) with the Y and NSO

It’s January again, that time of the year marketed as full of promise and self-improvement – new year, new you! – but, in reality, it’s the height of our homebody season.

It’s that time of year we most want to stay at home, order in Thai food and dissect the episodes of Breaking Bad we missed while we were too busy fretting over the train wreck characters of Girls.

Here to save us from our self-imposed winter doldrums and couch paralysis is the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington. This Saturday, Glenn Donnellan of the National Symphony Orchestra will perform a free concert at the historic Twelfth Street Y building in Shaw.

This event is part of the NSO’s popular In Your Neighborhood series taking place all over Borderstan this month.  (See other concerts happening this weekend here, including performances at Shiloh Baptist Church, Lincoln Theatre, 9:30 Club and Whole Foods).

Donnellan will perform on his famous electric violin, fashioned out of a Louisville Slugger baseball bat (it sounds like an electric guitar). Guests will participate in group exercise demos, yoga, an obstacle course and create DIY trail mix. Kids and adults are welcome, but leave your winter blues (and your Walter White proclivities) at home.

The free concert also doubles as a preview for the much-anticipated launch of the new Anthony Bowen YMCA building at 14th and W Streets NW. Expected to open in March as part of the 14W residential and commercial project, it will feature fitness studios, state-of-the-art exercise equipment, a large indoor pool, camps and classes for kids and adults, child care, rock climbing, cooking demos, poetry readings, movie nights and a Sweetgreen!

Celebrating 160 years in DC, the Y is confident the massive new facility will become a “hub for healthy living” as well as an integral part of the diverse options for social and recreational fun in the community. The author humbly suggests group screenings of Downton Abbey and Veep, for starters.

While you’re at it on Saturday, get a little history with your exercise: the Twelfth Street Y building is the 100-year-old home of the first YMCA chapter for African-Americans in the country, which was founded in 1853 by Anthony Bowen. The building was designed by William Sidney Pittman, son-in-law of Booker T. Washington and one of the nation’s first African-American architects. It is now home to the Thurgood Marshall Center.


  • What: A Night of Imagination with the Y and NSO
  • When: Saturday, January 12 5 to 8pm
  • With: Glenn Donnellan of the National Symphony Orchestra 6 to 7:30pm
  • Where: Thurgood Marshall Center, 1816 12th Street NW

FREE but register here.

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