While jazz vocalist and D.C. native Akua Allrich is a frequent performer at Bohemian Caverns, there is one particular gig she does there that is especially near and dear to her heart: the Annual Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba Tribute, taking place Friday and Saturday.
"[These] women were mainstays in my development as a child," explained Allrich, whose own musical genesis comprises the blues, jazz, R&B and pan-African music. "My parents came out of the civil rights movement, and these two were musicians who made music based on freedom and self-expression, and particularly African expression."
Allrich, while preparing for the release of her newest album, "Uniquely Standard, Akua Allrich Live!," has handpicked locally well-respected musicians to accompany her for the tribute show. Sam Prather will perform on keyboards with Ameen Saleem on bass, Kush Abadey at the drums, Agyei Akoto on congas and Lyle Link playing saxophone. In the Saturday performance, Mongezi Ntaka, who Allrich calls "fabulous, an awesome addition," will join the group on guitar.
The tribute will feature the songs that Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba made their own. Allrich will save her own compositions for another time.
|Where: Bohemian Caverns, 2001 11th St. NW|
|When: 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday|
|Info: $20; 202-299-0800; bohemiancaverns.com|
"[Simone and Makeba] have such an extensive catalogue of music, I want to do them justice and give their energy to the [audience], give them a synopsis of who [these women] are and also why I love them," Allrich said. "They were so intense and passionate about speaking up for freedom and for causes."
It is that very sense of joy she brings to her audiences each year through the magic of Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba.