Live Review: Helado Negro @ 9:30 Club — 5/4/22

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Roberto Carlos Lange performs as Helado Negro at 9:30 Club on May 4, 2022. (Photo by Casey Vock)

For all of American music’s collective dynamism, how many artists truly celebrate that diversity with their sounds? What would that even look like?

Helado Negro, a musical project led since 2009 by South Florida native Robert Carlos Lange, is one of the few endeavors to take up such a task. Earning a number of grants and awards bestowed upon him by various organizations, Lange became prolific in the past decade, imbuing a cross-culturalism into an inventive, revolutionary take on experimental/avant-pop and digital folk — with the words of his songs often spoken in two languages.

Roberto made an anticipated stop at 9:30 Club recently as part of his current tour in support of Far In, his 2021 studio album released on 4AD.

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Live Review: Rubén Blades @ EagleBank Arena — 12/3/21

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Rubén Blades performs at EagleBank Arena on Dec. 3, 2021. (Photos by Will Colbert)

“You’re the most popular unknown person that I know,” Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez once told Rubén Blades. True, Blades may not be a household name in the US but the Panamanian musician, actor, activist, and politician is one of the most emblematic figures in salsa music.

On Dec. 3, Rubén Blades performed hits from his illustrious career for fans at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia. It was a journey through a discography beginning in the ‘70s and continuing with “Salswing,” this year’s Latin Grammy album of the year

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Live Review: iLe @ Howard Theatre — 10/1/21

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iLe performs at the Howard Theatre on Oct. 1, 2021. (Photo by Will Colbert)

Ileana Mercedes Cabra Joglar, better known as iLe, recently took to the Howard Theatre stage to perform her unique style of Latin American music. The songs were a combination of classic boleros, rhumbas, and percussive bomba rooted in the history of her native Puerto Rico. Over a century ago, The Howard Theatre was billed as the “theatre of the people.” On Oct. 1, the Boricua singer-songwriter honored that credo.

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Live Review: Madonna @ The Met Philadelphia — 12/7/19

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Madonna and dancers perform on the Madame X Tour at Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn on Sept. 17, 2019. (Photo copyright and courtesy Stufish)

How on earth do you express your admiration for an artist who is a global icon?

Maybe like me, you met Madonna when she was quite young and ambitious — and she took her ambition to Manhattan dance halls. At this street level, you fell in love with her, and she grew. And grew. And grew.

Now, Madonna, the best-selling female singer of all time, hasn’t belonged to New York City, or any one place for that matter, for a long time. With Madame X, her 14th studio album, she’s declared her concerns to be worldwide. She is touring that album right now in Philadelphia.

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Live Review: Bad Bunny @ EagleBank Arena — 11/1/19

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Bad Bunny performs at Eagle Bank Arena on Nov. 1, 2019. (Photo by Will Colbert)

Puerto Rican trap and reggaeton singer Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, better known as Bad Bunny, made a recent stop at Eagle Bank Arena to give the DMV a bit of la isla de encanta (the island of enchantment). The innovative artist with the unique name gave fans a show that set a new bar for immersive concert experiences.

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Live Review: Los Lonely Boys @ The Birchmere — 9/30/19

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Los Lonely Boys perform at The Birchmere on Sept. 30, 2019. (Photo by Will Colbert)

“Are you ready for some Texican rock ‘n’ roll?” sibling trio Los Lonely Boys asked a game Birchmere audience during a recent show. The band of brothers hailing from San Angelo, Texas, were in town for a bit of “rockpango” — a made-up Spanish word they translate as “rock party.”

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Live Review: Mon Laferte @ The Fillmore: Silver Spring — 8/29/19


Mon Laferte performs at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Aug 29, 2019. (Photo by Brenda Reyes)

Mon Laferte came out with so much energy and so much love on her last night of her Gira de Norma Tour. “A que dale todo, ” she said, which translates to “you gotta give it all you got,” as she turned to her band.  She definitely delivered on that promise at The Fillmore Silver Spring recently.

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Live Review: DC Music Rocks Festival @ 9:30 Club — 8/17/19

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Eli Lev performs at the DC Music Rocks Festival on Aug. 17, 2019. (Photo by Mark Caicedo)

I’ve been following the District of Columbia’s live music scene for several years yet I’ve just barely begun to scratch the surface of the diversity, variety and joy that so many musical artists bring to this region. The same could be said about the third annual DC Rocks Music Festival recently — despite the line-up of a wonderful array of 12 bands and singer-songwriters, there is so much more to discover in our own backyard.

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