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.
** Photo by Joshua Cruse