Fall 2021

The artists of BOOMscat pose back-to-back in a garden

Cultural Workers and Love Songs: Making Personal Art Political

October 18 - 22, 2021

BOOMscat, also known as the Peace and Body Roll Duo, is the combination of multi-instrumentalist/producer Asha Santee (BOOM) and vocalist/songwriter Jennifer Patience Rowe (scat). Based in Washington, DC, BOOMscat offers an experience that is steeped in the vibrant sounds of the city, but remains uniquely a sound all their own. They combine lush production with vulnerable songwriting, improvisation, and an honesty that captures their audiences.

In this residency, we bring together BOOMscat, filmmaker Ayanna Long, and ethnomusicologist Allie Martin for a week focused on listening to the Black femmes and folx of Washington, DC. The city is often considered only as the nation’s capital, the seat of federal power in the United States, rather than a bustling, thriving cultural hub of Black life. Here we amplify the richness of DC music cultures through the neo-soul sounds of BOOMscat.

In addition to performances by BOOMscat, Ayanna Long will screen her documentary The Let Out, which explores go-go music as a space for collective memory. Go-go music, DC’s local subgenre of funk, is the anchor of the city’s Black music history, inspiring generations of musicians across the city. Furthermore, Allie Martin’s work engages gentrification from a sonic perspective, where she uses “intersectional listening” to hear how Black people in Washington, DC experience gentrification as a sonic, racialized process. This work includes listening to the displacement of DC’s local music, to noise complaints and policy within local government, and to the very streets themselves. 
~ A. Martin