Overlooking Systemic Racism Is Not an Option Any More Fight the Power Vote!!!
In light of the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmad Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and countless others; the GoGo Symphony stands with Black Lives Matter and all others fighting for racial justice and equity.
In the grief and righteous outrage of these times, we are feeling the growing pains of a movement. Every attack on oppressed people must embolden us. Now is the time to speak out against racism, poverty, economic injustice, and environmental degradation.
It is time for everyone to have the right to breathe. It is time to raise our voices. It is time for everyone to VOTE!!!
Can you spare a few minutes to encourage others to VOTE by watching and sharing our Fight The Power music video?.
Good friends & good cheer, it’s that time of the year!
A time for friends a family!
Ring in the Holiday Season with a sing-along of the Christmas carols and an orchestra over DC’s Go–Go beat.
GoGo Symphony and DC Strings Workshop are proud to invite you to a legendary Christmas show for the joy of the Arlington community hosted by the Church at Clarendon, on Friday, December 20 at 7:30pm.
The GoGo Symphony is a critically acclaimed funky classical orchestra that people can dance and party to. Go-Go is a sub-genre of funk that has been extremely popular in the Washington, DC area since the 1970’s specially with African Americans. Its main feature is live swinging poly-rhythm and audience participation with drums, congas, cowbells, timbales, rototoms, and tambourines.
DC Strings Workshop is a DC-based non-profit organization which hosts an orchestra and several ensembles. Now entering its 4th season, the group has performed in venues as diverse as The Kennedy Center, St. Marks Episcopal and various museums, libraries and cultural centers in the region. Visit www.dcstrings.org for more information.
On September 15, 2019 the GoGo Symphony will play at Chuck Brown Park with members of the National Symphony Orchestra. This event marks part of a mainstream institutional shift in the acknowledgement of go-go, DC’s own genre of funk dance music.
Nico Hobson of DC’s online “GoGo Radio” hosted a heart felt interview to discuss the significance of the show. Guests included National Symphony Orchestra’s Manager of Community Engagement Vaughn Bradley-Willeman, vocalist MS CXREE, percussionist Mighty Moe, and GoGo Symphony founder/composer Liza Figueroa Kravinsky.
Go-go music originated in the neighborhoods of Washington D.C. in the early 1970s. People who lived, worked, grew up, and thrived on the infectious, seemingly never ending, undeniable beat. The beat is bass heavy and percussive; with a fusion of African, jazz, funk, and R&B stylings.
It served as an anthem to get the party started and keep it going. It was an anthem to spread news about what was going on in its neighborhoods. It was an anthem for change and justice. Most importantly, it was an anthem for its people – that is, its mostly African American fans. Bands like Trouble Funk, Rare Essence, and the legendary Chuck Brown were staples.
“This culture is unique to the world. The [music] is based and only played here,” said Nico. “Go-go music is a feel music…If you don’t feel it, you won’t understand it… The most impressive moment I went to in go-go in my life… was when I saw Backyard Band playing at the Kennedy Center… I saw cultures from around the world… enjoying go-go… I was able to look out at the crowd and I was just awestruck… The bartenders were like, ‘we ain’t never been this busy before…’” he described, referring to last New Year’s Eve when the go-go band filled in at the last minute for another act.
That was a strong contrast to his past experience when arts institutions did not embrace the music, leaving its fans feeling alienated.
“We rode our bikes by the Kennedy Center, but we never went inside,” Dee Dee recalled about the home of the National Symphony Orchestra.
“Right, (we rode) down and back. But we didn’t ever go in. We didn’t even think about it,” Nico chimed in, adding that many African Americans have viewed the Kennedy Center as a “for whites only” arts venue.
As time went on, go-go music experienced a rise and fall in local popularity largely because of local governments actively silencing the genre due to perceived associated violence. Bars, clubs and any place that played go-go music routinely got shut down. Go-go’s biggest selling point is the live performances; and without the ability to perform, listenership saw a drastic decline.
Meanwhile, classical music has been experiencing a similar decline in popularity and listenership in the past decades.
“Classical and go-go both thrive in being live… They can partner together to build each other’s audiences,” Liza explains.
Gentrification has been changing the landscape of the city, and movements like ‘#dontmutedc, whose street protests call for keeping go-go alive, have gained mainstream media attention.
Inspired by the movements, Liza created a petition urging the Kennedy Center to program more go-go music.
“[The petition] did not land on deaf ears,” Vaughn explained on behalf of the venue. “We’re all moving to do more in this genre.”
“You know, GoGo Symphony needs to play with the NSO (National Symphony Orchestra) at Echostage,” Nico suggested to a smiling roundtable.
On Sunday September 15th, 6 pm, members of the National Symphony Orchestra and GoGo Symphony will be joining forces and performing at Chuck Brown Park. Admission is free and everyone is welcome. Get your tickets here.
You can listen to the whole radio interview below:
The year 2019 is a big year for the GoGo Symphony, whose new singles and music video are playing on radio and cable television. As of now, you can hear our new single “Fight the Power” on Washington DC’s radio stations WHUR, WTOP, and online on GoGo Radio. We are also playing in New York and Richmond radio. The music video airs on BET’s woke Wednesdays and MTV, with the VEVO youtube post having received over fifty thousand views as of now and growing.
The music video was filmed at our Union Stage show last October, from which we produced a live recording now on sale on iTunes and other music distributors.
At a time when the nation is hurting and divided over racial, gender, and economic issues, the Church at Clarendon is offering a multi-ethnic evening concert and gathering Sunday November 11. The GoGo Symphony, an apt multi-ethnic orchestra which fuses Washington DC’s go-go music with classical, will provide the interactive entertainment.
The event, titled “Becoming Better Together,” is the church’s unique way of celebrating the first pastoral anniversary of Rev. Danielle L. Bridgeforth, its first African American and woman pastor. The Church at Clarendon, formerly the First Baptist Church of Clarendon, was founded in 1909 by a predominantly white congregation. Today, the church is deliberately multi-ethnic and multi-generational, with a membership coming from diverse socio-economic levels and denominational backgrounds. In 2017, the church called “Pastor Danielle” to be its Senior Pastor. Theologically trained, she is a unifying and energetic figure who is welcoming and engaging.
“I hope this celebration will draw people of all kinds of ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, ages, etc. together in face of our divisive political climate. I have that hope for our worship services in general, but I hope that such a celebration will draw people that we haven’t reached before,” said long time church member Ellen Bartlett. “Pastor Danielle is the first woman pastor – that in itself is historically significant and an indication of a broadening of the church’s scriptural understanding of the role of women over the years… That she is African-American is, of course, significant as a recognition of the diversity of our congregation, very different from what it was back in ‘early days,’ though we had Vietnamese and Hispanic adjunct congregations years ago.”
“This church is amazing because I can meet so many different kinds of people right here in my neighborhood,” said Liza Figueroa Kravinsky, a church going resident of nearby Lyon Village. “I hope more of my neighbors would consider taking advantage of this opportunity, if only during this event.”
Pastor Bridgeforth said, “This celebration is not just about me. More than that, it’s about honoring what God is doing in our church and community. It’s an opportunity for us to affirm that we are stronger and healthier when we remove barriers and learn to worship, work, and witness together. This is how it will look in Heaven, we might as well get used to it now.”
The “Being Better Together” concert will take place at the Church at Clarendon, 1210 North Highland Street, Arlington VA 22201, on Sunday November 11 at 5 pm. It is free and open to everyone in the community. Enter via the side lobby on Highland Street. For more information, visit 1bc.org.
The GoGo Symphony is inviting audience members to be part of its official music video and live recording October 27 in Washington DC.
“The audience members will be key to the success of the video and recording, so we want them to look good and party hard. But come early if you want to be in the video. We start filming at 7 pm,” said GoGo Symphony founder, composer, and conductor Liza Figueroa Kravinsky.
Legendary GoGo band Trouble Funk with special guest Sugar Bear will end the evening as the headliner. Comedian Chris Thomas will be hosting the event as well as performing a stand up comedy act.
The critically acclaimed GoGo Symphony mixes a classical orchestra over Washington DC’s iconic gogo beats, creating symphonies people can dance and party to. It has sold out shows in the past with its rowdy atmosphere.
Renowned classical music critic and expert Greg Sandow has called the Go-Go Symphony “Maverick” in the classical world. He wrote, “What I love is the project itself. And especially the way that it doesn’t simply combine pop and classical music — that’s been done quite a lot — but also brings together pop and classical musicians. And in a long-term collaboration, not just as a one-shot, like Grizzly Bear playing with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, or Elvis Costello creating The Juliet Letters with the Brodsky Quartet…All these things are rare, if not unique. And they give the project a kind of street energy not always found in pop/classical collaborations.”
On the other side, Kato Hammond, author of the top go-go music news website “Take Me Out to the Go-Go,” predicts this project will bring go-go music to a wider audience. He feels this project will be a “big deal” in the go-go world.
The show will launch the GoGo Symphony’s two new singles being released in the fall, coinciding with an October 19 TV appearance on WUSA9’s “Get Up DC” and local radio play.
The video shoots starts at 7 pm, Saturday October 27, 2018 at the Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW, Washington DC (the wharf). Come early if you want to be in the video! For tickets, visit TICKETS.
On January 13, 2017, the Go-Go Symphony will perform the world premiere of “JuJu Symphony” and “Down With You,” two pieces that mark the first ever collaboration between a go-go music celebrity and classical composers.
Juju House (aka Juju), drummer of famed go-go band Experience Unlimited (EU), collaborated with other Go-Go Symphony composers Liza Figueroa Kravinsky, Joshua Cruse, and Andrew Velez to produce these two powerful dance pieces.
“When Juju said he wanted to join the Go-Go Symphony ensemble, I just about fainted,” says Kravinsky, “He’s famous and successful. I couldn’t believe he wanted to work from scratch with us.”
She may have been intimidated by the fact that Juju has also played for Grace Jones (“Slave To The Rhythm”), Chaka Khan, Chuck Brown, and Dionne Farris. However, the Go-Go Symphony already has a budding reputation from its critically acclaimed sell out performances at the Atlas Performing Arts Center and other venues.
JuJu explains, “This is something of taking go-go and being able to broaden it into different elements, but still using my own flavor. That’s what it’s always been about. Being able to blend and properly deliver all the colors together.”
“Collaborating with Juju on a symphony has been quite eye opening,” explains Liza. “I’m learning a lot about rhythm and other things that classical musicians don’t normally think about. Go-Go has a lot to offer the to the classical world.”
“I really got in there and changed a lot of stuff,” says JuJu. “But Liza is open. She’s down. She wants to get it right. A lot of them in the symphony were more curious about things such as ‘Do I know what I was doing?’. They were more looking at me coming in with cornrows and scarfs, and were wondering, ‘Does he know what the hell he is doing?’ But then when they seen that other side of me, they were like ‘Whoa! Wait a minute! Hold it! He CAN do this!’”
When asked if the GoGo Symphony would be recording this upcoming performance of the song premiers, music director Joshua Cruse stated that Go-Go Symphony is working on their first album, which is going to be something of a hybrid between a studio and live album.
“Back in March of 2016, we performed a show at the Intersection festival at the Atlas Performing Arts Center,” explained Joshua. “And we did a live recording of that show. So, what we’re going to do is take some of the stuff from that show and we’re going to go to the studio and work on a couple of things. We’re going to take the basic structures of those recordings see what from that we want to use to re-record in the studio. But we are looking at possibly putting these two songs on that album.”
The Go-Go Symphony will be playing Juju’s pieces this Friday, January 13 starting at 8:00 pm, at the Church at Clarendon, 1210 North Highland St, Arlington VA 22201. Suggested donation is $20.
Guests are invited to join the Grand Opening Ceremony to officially welcome Clarksburg Premium Outlets to the community. Steve Dworkin, Senior Vice President of Simon Premium Outlets Development; Steve Yalof, CEO of Simon Premium Outlets; Benjamin Wu, Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development; Ike Legget, Montgomery County Executive and Craig Rice, Montgomery County Councilmember, District 2 will be hand to mark the occasion.
(Go-Go Symphony will be playing for a short while during this ceremony, then have full shows at 10 am and 1 pm)
10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Entertainment Stage near Gap Outlet
Special guests perform on the Entertainment Stage:
10 a.m. and 1 p.m.:
Go-Go Symphony, a critically acclaimed and funky classical orchestra.