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Baby we all live in a reggae Yellow Dubmarine

DubmarineYellow Dubmarine performing at Strathmore AMP. PHOTO BY MATT HOOKE  As soon as Yellow Dubmarine started their set with a cover of The Beatles “Norwegian Wood,” you could tell this was not your average tribute band. With horns replacing George Harrison’s distinctive sitar intro, and the songs’ folksy atmospherics replaced by a steady reggae pulse, the audience Friday at Strathmore AMP quickly piled onto the dance floor to groove to Beatles classics reimagined as reggae jams.

“It was just an idea that came to us one day,” said bassist Aaron Glazer. “We started with just four people and then grew, with percussion and horns, and it took on a life of its own.”

The seven-piece band featured a three-piece horn section, along with a rhythm section of guitar, bass, drums, hand percussion, and keyboard. This extensive lineup allowed them to vary their arrangements throughout the night.

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Takoma Park record label fosters homegrown talent

Tired of being forced to relinquish artistic and creative control to major labels, Grammy-winning producer and Takoma Park native Charlie Pilzer decided to forge his own path. He founded Azalea City Recordings in 1996.

For Pilzer, the label gives his job as a recording engineer and producer a more personal touch.

“I’m immersed in music hours and hours every day. I’ve worked on well over 2000 albums. The cool thing about the label is that it keeps it on a personal level. It doesn’t become a factory to me,” said Pilzer.

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Daymé Arocena brings modern Cuban sounds to Strathmore AMP

Dayme Arocena1Afro-Cuban vocalist Daymé Arocena (center) with bassist Rafael Aldama (left), and drummer Raul Herrera (right). PHOTO BY MATT HOOKE   “Give these people more alcohol,” yelled Afro-Cuban vocalist Daymé Arocena in response to the quietly seated crowd at Strathmore AMP on Friday.

In the end, her pleas worked, and the audience got out of their seats en masse to groove to Arocena’s unique take on Cuban music.

“I’m not trying to make something brand new, I’m just trying to follow my sense,” said Arocena. “I’m from the 21st century. My music isn’t going to sound like what was made 50 years ago; it’s going to sound how I sound.”

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Brews and beat shine at first ever record fair in Silver Spring

RECORD FAIR PICTURE 1Vendor Dave Hoffer stands in front of his records. PHOTO BY MATT HOOKE   SILVER SPRING — Barrels of beer were covered with vinyl records, while organizer and c, played dance tracks from the top of a fermenter at the first ever Silver Spring Record Fair on Sunday at Denizens Brewing Company.

“It’s a way to spread the love of vinyl around Montgomery County, to bring folks into records together to listen to good music, have some beers, and buy some records,” said Megan, who was the organizer of the event.

The event lasted for five hours and featured 20 vendors and six different DJs who spanned many different genres. Three of them, Bobby Babylon, Leon City Sounds, and Megan himself, mainly played world music and reggae.

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Singer-songwriter uses real life tragedy as inspiration

Craig Cummings PhotoCraig Cummings (left) and bassist Greg Hardin (right) performing at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn. COURTESY PHOTO BY MAX HORAN   GAITHERSBURG — Inspired by friends who were forced to redefine themselves after the end of a relationship, D.C. area singer-songwriter Craig Cummings sang about the joys and downfalls of love in the Gaithersburg Arts Barn on Saturday to celebrate the release of his new album “Gone Baby Gone.”

The seven-track, 27-minute-long album, issued on Takoma Park’s Azalea City label, tells the story of a man dealing with a long-term relationship falling apart. The album shows all facets of the relationship, from the man's first attempts to win the unnamed woman’s love to the aftermath of the breakup.

“I was running into people that had been in relationships that were ending, and they were struggling with how to be alone after all that time. They were asking themselves, ‘How do I redefine myself as a person without the context of a relationship?’” said Craig.

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Oakdale edges out Springbrook to win basketball championship 69-6

  • Published in Sports

MPI mdelite 0024Springbrook’s Peace Addo (8) and Cameron Rucker (11) move to block Oakdale’s Drew Jezioro (3) as he attempts a layup. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  ROCKVILLE — Thursday’s championship game of the Maryland Elite Summer Varsity League pitted the Springbrook Blue Devils (7-3) against Frederick County’s Oakdale Bears (9-1). Despite a 28-point performance by Delano Jessup, Springbrook fell to Oakdale, 69-68.

Springbrook head coach Darnell Meyers viewed the loss through a positive lens. Pointing out that two of his starters, Matthew Blanc and Anthony Thomas, were missing.

“The young kids stepped up and did a great job,” said Meyers. “We should’ve won, we missed a lot of free throws, but that’s what summer league is for, it’s a chance to grow.”

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Blakes’ Lana nails a three-pointer to sink Q.O. 47-45

  • Published in Sports

 ROCKVILLE- With three seconds left on the clock James H. Blake’s Ibrahim Lana shot a 3- pointer from the corner to put the Bengals up by 2, and secure the 47- 45 Blake- Quince Orchard victory.

Monday’s first round of the Maryland Elite Varsity basketball championship pitted two 6-4 high school teams, QO and Blake, against each other in a tightly contested match.

“I just needed that shot,” said Lana, who finished with 16 points in the game, “During that whole game I was on and off, but at the end, I just had to flick my wrist on that last shot, and I knew it was good.”

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Chopteeth brings Afro-Funk to Glen Echo stage

As the horn section blared out melodies over dense layers of percussion, the keyboardist for West African big band Chopteeth, Bill Dempsey, found a small place between the noise for an organ solo. The band headlined the Spanish Ballroom in Glen Echo Park on Saturday night, and Dempsey was able to fulfill one of his dreams.

“I’ve been listening to this style of music for a long time; I’ve always dreamed of finding others to play it with. In Milwaukee, I thought it would never happen; in DC it did,” said Dempsey. “It’s a tribute to DC that you can find Ghanaian musicians, Nigerian musicians, and American musicians, all coming together.”

Chopteeth was the brain child of singer/guitarist Michael Shereikis and bassist Robert Fox. Inspired by New York based band Antibalas; Fox asked Shereikis if he would be interested in starting an African big band. Shereikis, who was exposed to African music when he lived in the Ivory Coast as a member of the Peace Corps, agreed, and Chopteeth was born.

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Montgomery County resident Richard Madaleno Announces run for Governor

  • Published in State

Kensington resident, state senator and vocal critic of the incumbent governor Richard Madaleno announced his candidacy for governor of Maryland on Monday.

Madaleno, if elected, would be the first openly gay governor in history of Maryland.

“I am running for governor, and I am going to win,” said Madaleno to applause at the Universities of Shady Grove.

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A Renaissance man turns 83

As a child, Mike Ritter was drawn to the sound of classic big bands. Now at the age of 83, the Oscar-winning filmmaker leads The Not So Modern Jazz Quartet, a band dedicated to preserving the big-band music he first fell in love with.

Ritter first achieved fame when he placed second in the 1957 National All-Army talent competition. Ritter’s act for the initial round was a one-band act to show off his command of different instruments.

“What I did was, I played piano, then called a friend to take over on piano. Then I played bass and called a friend out to play bass, then played horn and asked a friend to play the horn,” Ritter said.

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