Man oh man. This was a fun day at the radio station! “Black Gold: Past & Present” is a cultural exchange between musicians residing in the District of Columbia and Dakar Senegal. Local bandleader Jean-Francis Varre of Sahel received a grant from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities to bring to life the official “sister-city” relationship between Washington, DC and Dakar. He has assembled a truly rich and fascinating group of musicians from both cities to explore issues of modernization, nationalism and globalization through music.

In addition to Jean-Francis’ all-star group Sahel, the DC contingent includes beat-boxer, rapper and creative dynamo Christylez Bacon as well as percussionist, actor, dancer and Black Panther choreographer Jabari Exum. They are joined by Senegalese singer Aida Sock, rapper/activist MC Thiat from the group Keur Gui and Sahad Sarr from Sahad & the Natal Patchwork. The combination of these talents and perspectives is electric, and that energy was definitely in the room as they all poured in for a series of chats interspersed with live music in the studio. We grabbed it all as it went down and will be posting videos as well. But for now, sit back, hit play and enjoy this amazing crew doing their thing.

Check out Black Gold: Past & Present on Facebook!