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Persian music and minimalism meet at Rhizome

  • Published in Music

Bassist Ernest Jones and drummer Dave Miller join headliner Martin Bisi in a performance at the Rhizome.  PHOTO BY MATT HOOKEBassist Ernest Jones and drummer Dave Miller join legendary musician/producer Martin Bisi in a performance at the Rhizome. PHOTO BY MATT HOOKE  WASHINGTON, D.C. — With his eyes closed, engrossed in the music, and sweat dripping down his face, the Washington D.C.-based musician Kamyar Arsani sang the words: “You are Nothing but a God,” as he performed at the Rhizome near the Takoma Park Metro station in Northwest Washington, D.C.

The show displayed tremendous diversity, with Arsani’s Persian music accompanied by a set of minimalist music by Takoma Park musician Jason Mullinax and headliner Martin Bisi’s noise rock.

Arsani’s music hails from a rich tradition of Sufi mystics. He took a bare-bones approach to his set, with two instruments, his voice, and the daf. The daf, a large, handheld frame drum with metal ingots attached, is an ancient instrument, its roots stretching back hundreds of years. Arsani paid tribute to this heritage while also giving the instrument a modern touch. Arsani’s first set, a collection of original compositions, showcased the new, while his second set, an adaptation of a poem by the 13th-century Sufi poet Rumi, featured the old.

The Iranian-born Arsani began the performance singing in English, before switching to Farsi. He used dynamics, masterfully switching from bombastic, impassioned sections to subdued, quiet moments, when his voice became only a whisper.

“I saw people getting shot, screaming ‘freedom’ in Farsi, and just getting shot like it was no big deal, but it was a big deal for me,” said Arsani. “When I play my instruments that’s one of my first thoughts, is ‘How can I speak to that energy? How can I channel the feelings that those people went through?’”

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Women’s March draws record crowd

  • Published in News

Womens March on WashingtonHuge crowds show up at the Mall to protest.       PHOTO BY NICKOLAI SUKHAREV  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thousands marched on the nation’s capital Saturday in support of women’s rights and gender equality. 

“We understand that a year ago Donald Trump and Mike Pence were sworn in and immediately began turning the clock back on women’s rights, worker’s rights, LGBT rights, and our fundamental values of inclusion, opportunity and tolerance,” said Takoma Park resident and current Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez speaking to a crowd gathered around the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

Perez, who served one term on the Montgomery County Council, urged people to stand up for progressive beliefs and to “organize, mobilize and vote for Democrats.”

Marking the one-year anniversary of the 2017 presidential inauguration, the march drew thousands from around the region and country, many of whom held signs, to protest the actions and rhetoric of the Trump administration.

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“America’s Presidents” exhibit reopens at National Portrait Gallery

NPG George Washington PortraitA George Washington portrait is among the many works of art on display in the "America's Presidents" exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. COURTESY PHOTO  The “America’s Presidents” exhibition at Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery is more than about portraits.

There’s historical context. The Gallery has grouped the portraits into six historical chapters, each with its own explanatory text. Five of these revolve around a particular era, each with one U.S. President anchoring it – George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

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Local residents protest Trump's visit

  • Published in Local

WASHINGTON – Several hundred protesters attended a rally in front of the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., Monday night to express opposition to real estate mogul Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.

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Metro suspends weekend service

  • Published in Local

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WASHINGTON — Metro’s general manager announced at headquarters Thursday some services changes for rail, bus and MetroAccess for Friday and suspension of all services Saturday and Sunday until further notice.

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Newcomer Bell-Zuccarelli seeks Gaithersburg mayoralty

  • Published in Local

gaithersburg building

GAITHERSBURG – While two of the candidates for Gaithersburg mayor in this fall’s election –incumbent Mayor Jud Ashman and Council member Henry Marraffa – have many years of experience with the city government, the third is an outsider who is running to make the city more transparent and responsive.

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