All-Women Afro-Brazilian Ensemble Batalá Washington DC Has Rhythm and Purpose
“We like for our audience to be empowered by the beats of the drums and the energy transmitted by the women in the group”
Batalá Washington DC discuss their impact, favorite songs to perform, and how being a part of the DMV creative scene influences the collective’s approach.
Within an industry that is historically dominated by men, all-women Afro-Brazilian percussion ensemble Batalá Washington DC is here to show us what they are made of. Launched in 2007 as the newest branch of the Batalá band and the first-ever in the United States, Batalá Washington, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, brings its powerful, invigorating sounds to the nation’s capital and across the globe as a means of empowering women to be change agents in their respective communities.
Join contributing writer Cynthia Gross as she connects with Marly Perez, board president and musical conductor of Batalá Washington DC, to discuss the collective’s impact over the years,
Things Can Always Be Better
These Maryland musicians-turned-podcasters will give your music a boost—if you’ll let them
Colin McGuire and Chris Perry discuss their podcast, Could Be Better Meh, their take on the industry, and a fan from the other side of the world.When Colin McGuire and Chris Perry are keenly aware that the business of music is difficult. Both young men are musicians in their own right, having played in various bands and running into one another socially rather often. They now host a podcast called “Could Be Better Meh,” in which they feature many bands and upcoming musicians from around our area—perhaps as a way to pay it forward by providing a platform for others seeking their big break.
The pair bases “Could Be Better Meh” in Frederick, Maryland. Recent episodes have featured players from such local talent as Feed the Scene, Suburban Avenger, and Roy Ghim. McGuire and Perry recently spoke with Alchemical Records about their podcast, their take on the industry, and a fan from the other side of the world. Our discussion has been edited and condensed.
Dave Mallen of Innovation Station Music: ‘I Didn’t Get Into This Line of Work to Just Set Up Mics and Hit Record’
Three-time WAMMIE Award winning producer Dave Mallen has contributed to some of the best music of the DMV, as evidenced by the 200 plus artists whose careers Innovation Station Music, his one-stop-shop studio, has advanced. Join contributing writer Cynthia Gross as she connects with Mallen to discuss his early starts, the circumstances that led him to transition from a full-time career in IT consulting to music production, how being a Highly Sensitive Person allows him to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for clients, and what Mallen considers his “why” beyond the music. Take us back to the beginning. Where did you get your starts in music?
DAVE: From age 2, I’m told I was always running to the piano at my grandmother’s house. My grandmother was a trained opera singer and pianist and was probably my first inspiration for becoming a musician. She would always tell me to “play with feeling”, and to this day, I try to inject as much emotion into the music I play and produce.
Foo Fighters Kick Off Grand Opening of “D.C.’s Oldest New Venue,” The Atlantis, May 30
“Before the original 9:30 Club opened its doors on May 30, 1980, it was briefly home to another venue: The Atlantis. Now, The Atlantis is back.”
I.M.P. is honoring 9:30’s original live music space by recreating the small venue (450-capacity) with a star-studded starting lineup that is made up of artists that want to celebrate this moment in music history, many who have played the Club in its early days. It seems too good to be true!
Foo Fighters will play its inaugural show on May 30 (the anniversary of the 9:30 Club’s opening), and the city is buzzing with excitement. Fans from near and far don’t want to miss this chance to see their favorite artists in such an intimate setting.
June consists of shows such as the Rainbow Kitten Surprise, the Pixies, Marc Roberge (O.A.R.), and Darius Rucker. July will bring artists such as the Barenaked Ladies, The Head and the Heart, The Magnetic Fields, Third Eye Blind, and Portugal. The Man to the District. August highlights include Drive-By Truckers and Joan Jett, while September will bring artists like Bartees Strange, Tove Lo, Billy Idol, Bastille, and Maggie Rogers. There will be something for everyone!
Artists from the DMV and Beyond Reflect on Motherhood
Mothers and mother figures in our lives make an indelible impression. For many of us, these powerful women embody strength, resilience, and unconditional love – while creating a better world in the process.
In honor of Mother’s Day, Alchemical Records connected with artists from across the DMV and beyond who balance double duty in their responsibility as mothers and creatives with grace. Learn the one word the artists use to describe motherhood, how their music has been influenced by their parenting role, advice to their younger self, and what a perfect Mother’s Day looks like – well, at least as perfect as can be.
Beyond the Artist: DMV Jazz Musician Amy K. Bormet
Amy K. Bormet is a D.C.-based pianist, vocalist, composer, activist who organizes the Washington Women in Jazz Festival every March to uplift women and nonbinary artists in the jazz community.
D.C.-based pianist, vocalist, composer, activist, and more, Amy K. Bormet is a staple to our music community, especially the local, but not limited to the national and international jazz realm. As well as putting out fantastic music – both solo and collaborations – Bormet has organized the Washington Women in Jazz Festival every March since 2011. Bormet is also the co-owner of Strange Woman Records, a record label she began in 2019 with her husband, guitarist/sound engineer Dr. Matt Dievendorf that “presents live events and recordings of adventurous improvised music”, featuring many artists from the DMV.
Bormet grew up around music, with a family of singers and a mother who played clarinet.
The Dentist Who Totally Rocks
Even when fixing teeth, Advait “Avi” Shah can’t stop thinking about music. A dentist by trade, Shah nonetheless enjoys a lively side hustle performing on the tablas and the dhol, traditional Indian instruments that he incorporates into various ensembles that marry Eastern musical motifs with Western modes such as rap and beatboxing. It’s a unique way to bridge his ethnic heritage with the experimental firmament of the American soundscape.
“That’s why I kind of fit in with this whole fusion of Western culture. Every band I played with has that,” Shah said recently from his Maryland home. But, because he’s mostly self-taught, he freely admits that “if I ever had to [play] something traditional, I’d be completely lost.”
On May 13, Shah will leave his drills and scrapers behind to join violinist Nistha Raj and Grammy-nominated progressive hip-hop artist Christylez Bacon at the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Festival at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Asian Art.
Earth Month Recap with Maura
Hello Alchemical Records. I hope you all had a lovely Earth Month! Sustainability is a very important topic to me, as it should be for everybody. Since 2019, I have had the pleasure of working professionally combining two of my favorite things, live music and creating a better environment for us and generations to come. I have seen artists use their platform for the greater good, which has given me hope in what can seem like a lost cause sometimes. There are quite a good number of artists that fall in this category, but I wanted to share what I have experienced or seen.
In 2021, I tweeted that I wanted to work/tour for a sustainability team for Coldplay. Not only is Coldplay a band that I have listened to for as long as I can remember, but they are the band that made me aware of concert sustainability, or lack thereof. One of my best friends, mentors, and former supervisor Lexis Yelis referred me to work the Coldplay show at FedEx Field and it was a dream come true learning experience.
Multilingual Artist Clifford: ‘The World Is a Very Large, Yet Small, Place Filled with People Who Are Just Like You and Me’
Maryland-based genre-bending artist Clifford creates music from a place of freedom. His distinct signature sound prompts audiences to live colorfully by embracing their authentic selves. Join contributing writer Cynthia Gross as she connects with Clifford to discuss his journey. Learn how being a multilingual dual citizen influences his songwriting, the most important lesson he has learned from collaborating with Grammy Award-winning drummer Jerome Brailey, fun stories from his experiences growing up on a farm, and why he believes that “evolving is your duty as an artist.”
Girls Rock! DC Empowers Our Community with Accessible Music Education for Youth and Adults
Girls Rock! DC is a music and social justice education program in Washington, DC for young people and adults that centers and uplifts marginalized identities in music.
Girls Rock! DC is a music and social justice education program in Washington, DC for young people between the ages of eight and 18 that centers and uplifts marginalized identities in music – women, queer, nonbinary, and transgender musicians, especially those who are people of color. I sat down with Girls Rock! DC’s co-executive director Shady Rose – artist, educator, activist, and DC native – who discussed why the nonprofit’s mission is so imperative, and how the organization commits to putting it in action by providing a safe space for these groups, while spreading awareness of the social imbalances in our music world.