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Go-Go Book Club discusses The Beat: Go-Go Music from Washington, D.C.

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#dontmutedc has become a powerful call to ensure that DC's own indigenous music is supported, promoted and celebrated. Through these three great summer reads, learn about Go-Go's history, people, sounds, setbacks and future with DC Public Library's Go-Go Book Club, in partnership with Solid State Books, Washington Performing Arts and the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

June 18
The Beat: Go-Go Music from Washington DC by Kip Lornell & Charles C. Stephenson, Jr.

July 18
Take Me Out To The Go Go: the Autobiography of Kato Hammond

August 15
Go-Go Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City by Natalie Hopkinson

First up: The Beat!

A history of the distinctive, capital sound that fuses hip-hop, funk, and soul

The Beat! was the first book to explore the musical, social, and cultural phenomenon of go-go music. In this new edition, updated by a substantial chapter on the current scene, authors Kip Lornell and Charles C. Stephenson, Jr., place go-go within black popular music made since the middle 1970s--a period during which hip-hop has predominated. This styling reflects the District's African American heritage. Its super-charged drumming and vocal combinations of hip-hop, funk, and soul evolved and still thrive on the streets of Washington, D.C., and in neighboring Prince George's County, making it the most geographically compact form of popular music.

Go-go--the only musical form indigenous to Washington, D.C.--features a highly syncopated, nonstop beat and vocals that are spoken as well as sung. The book chronicles its development and ongoing popularity, focusing on many of its key figures and institutions, including established acts such as Chuck Brown (the Godfather of Go-Go), Experience Unlimited, Rare Essence, and Trouble Funk; well-known DJs, managers, and promoters; and film- makers who have incorporated it into their work. Now updated and back in print, The Beat!provides longtime fans and those who study American musical forms a definitive look at the music and its makers.

Kip Lornell teaches in the music department at The George Washington University. He has published nearly one hundred articles and liner notes as well as ten books, including Introducing American Folk Music and The Life and Legend of Leadbelly (with Charles Wolfe). Charles C. Stephenson, Jr., is a political and cultural activist, the original manager of Experience Unlimited, cofounder of the Malcolm X Day Celebration, former chair of the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and a member of the Washington Area Music Association and NARAS.

Learn more about DC Public Library's Go-Go Archive project at

600 H Street NE, Washington, DC 20002

This event is FREE and open to all. Let us know you’re coming on Facebook.

Earlier Event: June 18
Poetry Book Club: Indecency
Later Event: June 19
Regina Porter: The Travelers