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Duran Duran Appreciation Day - Keith Valcourt with Duran Duran's John Taylor in 1989.
Keith Valcourt

Duran Duran Appreciation Day: The Many Lives of the Greatest New Wave Band

August 10 is Duran Duran Appreciation Day, a chance for us to celebrate one of the greatest bands of the 1980’s New Wave era. The cynical may say, “Why does a pop band like Duran Duran deserve an appreciation day?” One word: survival. In a time of one-hit wonders, Duran Duran has managed to endure for more than 45 years, building a catalog of songs of our lives and creating legions of lifelong fans. Join contributing writer Keith Valcourt as he chronicles his journey at Capitol Records alongside Duran Duran from their starts to their upcoming induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

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Kyle Burk, Co-Owner of Capitol Hill Books / D.C.-Based Musician, The Failed Poets, speaks on National Book Lovers Day
Cynthia Gross

National Book Lovers Day: Celebrating the Intersection of Literature and Music

Music is a dynamic form of storytelling, so the intersection of literature and music should come as no surprise. Some of the biggest artists of our time have penned songs inspired by novels. From David Bowie (George Orwell), to Kate Bush (Emily Brontë), to Common and Jill Scott (Chinua Achebe), to Coldplay (Cormac McCarthy), the interconnectedness is unmistakable. In recognition of Book Lovers Day, celebrated annually on Aug. 9, the Alchemical Records team connected with bibliophiles from the D.C. area and beyond to discuss music inspired by literature and their all-time favorite reads.

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Alternative artist Richie Gomez discusses debut album, The Light We Needed, with Alchemical Records
Charlie Maybee

Richie Gomez is the Light We Need: Always Learning, Always Ready

“Don’t wait” DMV- based musician Richie Gomez notes toward the end of our interview, “Just get in there and do it.” Apt advice from the Peruvian-born alternative rocker, who sat on a collection of songs for 10 years, waiting for a magic moment of alignment to record his music and share it with the world. “Work through the kinks” he urges, “There’s never a perfect moment. There will be things that you will learn while you are recording, which are just as valuable as the thing you walk into the studio with. Put the songs out and move forward.” Learn more about Richie Gomez’s inspiring story with contributing writer Charlie Maybee.

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Mames Babegenush - Dennis Lehmann
Eric Althoff

Mames Babagenush Returns to the U.S. for the First Time since 2019

Jewish music from Denmark? Coming to D.C.? See it to believe it on July 27 at Bossa Bistro & Lounge when Mames Babagenush, returns to the U.S. for the first time since 2019. Denmark has an extremely small Jewish population of under 10,000—in a country just shy of 6 million in total. Thanks to Mames Babagenush, the traditional, uptempo “klezmer” music of Eastern Europe’s Ashkenazi Jews is finding a more worldwide audience—even if all but one of the members of the group are Gentiles. Join contributing writer Eric Althoff, as he discusses the band’s upcoming show, the history of their musical tradition, and more.

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Heather Stebbins performing with cello and synthesizer at Slingshot Festival - Heather Stebbins with a student and synth - Celebrate World Listening Day Celebration
Emma Page

World Listening Day Celebration with Heather Stebbins

July 18 is World Listening Day, organized by the World Listening Project, in partnership with the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology. In celebration of the complexities of sound, Alchemical Records connected with Heather Stebbins, a DMV-based educator and musician whose work focuses on the properties of sound. Stebbins’ relationship with music began at an early age, where she lived just outside of Baltimore, learning cello, and has since grown exponentially. Join contributing writer Emma Page as she explores Stebbins’ influences; albums, including one that pays homage to her grandparents; and the importance of improv in her work.

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Toronzo Cannon - Photo by Mike White
Eric Althoff

Toronzo Cannon Brings His Chicago Blues to the Birchmere

Toronzo Cannon’s song “Insurance” might very well likely drive you to fits of painful laughter. The song, off his 2019 album “The Preacher, the Politician Or the Pimp,” pokes more-than-gentle fun at the need to get coverage lest a health emergency befall you—if you can afford it (ditto for the eventual bill). It’s that unique ability to make blues fans laugh through their tears that has granted Cannon a most unique career in music. Join contributing writer Eric Althoff as he sits down with Toronzo Cannon to discuss Chicago’s sound, playing with a certain guy called Buddy, and Cannon’s upcoming show on July 19 at the Birchmere.

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