FREE Summer Concerts at Strathmore


Strathmore’s Free Summer Outdoor Concerts series has offered free, culturally diverse performances for more than 30 years, and this year features concerts ranging from folksy ukulele and bluegrass to West African and Afro-Mexican.

Canadian trio Ten Strings and a Goatskin opens the series with its blend of folk-fusion fun. Las Cafeteras presents urban stories through Latin rhythms, Caribbean grooves, and an array of traditional instruments. Everyone will be dancing on the lawn when go-go stars Donnell Floyd and Team Familiar perform, followed by the No BS! Brass Band and its electric Crescent City music. Grammy-nominated Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen simmer a fusion “newgrass” stew.  Cheick Hamala Diabate and his band bring West Africa to DC with riveting traditional music and instruments. Combining classic tunes with their original compositions, The Railsplitters present bluegrass in a new light with charming arrangements, rapid tempos, and unusual instruments. Wrapping up the series is a Strathmore hallmark—Uke Fest—bringing the country’s sharpest ukulele players together for a feel-good end to summer.

Performances are at Strathmore’s Gudelsky Gazebo. Picnic blankets, low beach chairs, and small coolers are welcome, as well as food available for purchase. In case of inclement weather, concerts will move indoors to the Music Center.

Here’s the schedule:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015
7 p.m.

This Canadian trio conjures a mix of high-energy world music from Irish, Acadian, French, and Maritime traditions. Ten Strings and a Goatskin infuse their original compositions and standard tunes with infectious energy and a unique sound that speaks to all ages.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
7 p.m.

Las Cafeteras tells lyrical stories of life and love in the concrete jungle. The vibrant Angelino sound mixes Afro-Mexican rhythms, traditional Spanish zapateado, and Afro-Caribbean marimbol. Exotic instruments like the jarana, requinto, and a donkey jawbone bring unique timbre to the mix.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015
7 p.m.

Formed by native Washingtonian and go-go legend Donnell Floyd, this soulful group is an unstoppable force that performs with top-recording artists such as Fantasia and R. Kelly. With catchy tunes and wild rhythms, this performance showcases why Team Familiar is the hottest of the sizzling go-go sphere.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
7 p.m.

No BS! Brass Band fuses New Orleans spirit and East Coast funk with Michael Jackson and Led Zeppelin to create its spicy sound, merging Southern traditions with big-city sounds. Trained in the conservatory and hardened in the garage, this unique band brings a musical parade that will result in heart-pounding singing and uncontrollable dancing.a

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
7 p.m.

The compelling Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen bring the cool new sound of bluegrass to the Washington area. Winning nine awards, they swept the 29th Annual Wammies in 2014 and received a Grammy nomination for their album Cold Spell. Solivan and the boys continue to lead audiences into the future of bluegrass by adding new textures to classic techniques.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015
7 p.m.

Grammy-nominee Cheick Hamala Diabate plays the n’goni, a West African lute, as he leads his band in a joyously rhythmic celebration. Whether they sing under the Washington Monument or in the shadow of a Malian minaret, Diabate and his band always deliver an authentic spectacle of West African tradition.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015
7 p.m.

Led by Mississippi-native Lauren Stovall, this high-energy, genre-bending quintet pushes beyond the boundaries of bluegrass. The Railsplitters combine traditional influences and original contemporary compositions to create electric harmonies that enthrall audiences across the world.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015
7 p.m.

This popular summertime strum celebrates its seventh year with Jeff Peterson, Del Rey, James Hill, Anne Janelle, and, of course, beloved duo Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer. This all-star celebration of this little instrument brings people together through simple, but delicate harmony.

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