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Mar 27

Sons of Kemet – Black to the Future Tour + Melanie Charles

Union Stage & Songbyrd Present
Union Stage All Ages
Doors 6:30PM | Show 7:30PM

About the event

Sons of Kemet

The British-born Barbados-raised saxophonist and clarinetist is the centrifugal force in three critically-acclaimed bands: Sons of Kemet, The Comet Is Coming, and the South African-centered Shabaka and the Ancestors, who released their second album We Are Sent Here By History in March 2020. 

He signed to Impulse! in 2018 after a six-year stretch rising to prominence with international sold-out shows that dissolved old genre boundaries and attracted eminent attention. Along the way he picked up accolades including two Mercury Prize nominations, a MOBO and a 2020 inclusion as one of Downbeat’s “Musicians Shaping The Future Of Jazz.” His band The Comet Is Coming created a memorable NPR Tiny Desk show. There has been endless coverage from The New Yorker to Afropunk. Sons of Kemet appeared in The New York Times Magazines “Songs That Matter Right Now” and Pitchfork’s “Best Songs of the 2010s” and were included in the soundtrack to groundbreaking visual media including Beyoncé’s Homecoming on Netflix and Michaela Coel’s award-winning BBC/HBO show I May Destroy You.

Comet, Kemet and The Ancestors – as well as numerous ad hoc ensembles – are separated by personnel and sound palette but the records naturally talk to each other. He writes the music for Sons of Kemet and leads Shabaka and the Ancestors, whilst the music for The Comet is Coming is developed from within improvised jam sessions. It’s a rich set of overlapping musical worlds in which music is written whenever the opportunity rises. Pre-pandemic, most of these opportunities were on the road: in 2019 Hutchings performed around 100 gigs over ten months with Comet plus another 40 shows solo or in other ensembles.

Melanie Charles

Melanie Charles is a Brooklyn-born singer, songwriter, bandleader, producer, actress and flautist of Haitian descent, with a creative fluidity spanning jazz, soul, experimental and roots music. Charles was raised by a Haitian mother in Brooklyn where the sound waves in their home were filled with artists like Johnny Hodges, Frank Sinatra, Chaka Khan, Anita Baker, John Coltrane and Nat King Cole. As a teen, she attended the famed LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts where she studied flute and vocals. Eventually, she landed at the School of Jazz and Contemporary Music at The New School where she met artists like singer, songwriter and record producer Jesse Boykins III and alto saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin.

Charles’ genre-bending style has been embraced by a wide range of artists including Wynton Marsalis, SZA, Mach-Hommy, Gorillaz and The Roots. Throughout her career she has remained committed to making music that pushes listeners to consider new possibilities, both socially and politically. “Make Jazz Trill Again,” a project that she launched in 2016, demonstrates her allegiance to everyday people, especially the youth and is focused on taking jazz from the museum to the streets. Earlier this year, Charles’ Tiny Desk (Home) Concert debuted on NPR Music, who proclaimed, “Melanie Charles takes us on a journey that embodies the soul of jazz: exploration.”

This show is at Union Stage

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740 Water Street SW
Washington, DC 20024