2019 Academy of Funk

Photo Credit: Daniella Morrison ( @DMorrison_ )

Photo Credit: Daniella Morrison ( @DMorrison_ )


For the 4th year in a row, Knowledge Commons presented an awesome series of intersession discussions and interactive classes with our 2019 Funk Parade theme. 2019’s Academy of Funk explores dance, music, art and U. Street History in the week leading up to the festival. The 2019 details can be found at: http://knowledgecommonsdc.org/classes/1905/


Shakers and Chekeres: A Hands-and-Ears-On Workshop

Shekere by Chris Cameron is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

MAY 6th 2019

7 Drum City - 1506 North Capital St NW
6:00pm - PLEASE RSVP - http://knowledgecommonsdc.org/classes/shakers-and-chekeres-hands-and-ears-workshop/

Make and decorate your own water bottle shaker while taking a musical journey through Latin America and learning about the role of this fundamental percussion instrument. From the maracatu rhythms of the Northeastern coast of Brazil to the iconic Cuban rumba, shakers and chekerés add an important element to the layered percussive complexity of these musical styles.

We’ll explore these genres though a playlist including tracks from the Smithsonian Folkways record label, as well as some musical highlights from the upcoming Smithsonian Folklife Festival as part of the Smithsonian Year of Music initiative.

Please bring an empty water bottle or potato chip can so you can make your own shaker to take home — and to bring to the D.C. Funk Parade on May 11! Children and adults of all ages are welcome in this class.

Latin Dance Image.jpg

Afro-Latin Dance for Everyone

MAY 7th, 2019

Hung Tao Choi Mei Leadership Academy - 1351 U St NW
6:30pm - PLEASE RSVP http://knowledgecommonsdc.org/classes/afro-latin-dance-everyone/

The vibrant, intercultural traditions of Afro-Latin dance have spread across the world and into D.C.’s dance communities. In this participatory class, we’ll learn some of the history of this global dance phenomenon, limber up with stretching, and practice Afro-Latin moves of our own.

All are welcome, and no dance experience is necessary. Please wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and come ready to move!


Fundamentals of West African Drumming

May 8th, 2019

Hung Tao Choi Mei Leadership Institute - 1351 U St NW
6:30pm - PLEASE RSVP - http://knowledgecommonsdc.org/classes/fundamentals-west-african-drumming/

The djembe is an hourglass-shaped hand drum that features prominently in the musical traditions of the Manding culture of West Africa. In this high-energy workshop, we’ll get acquainted with the djembe, find out how to position it properly for playing, learn a series of striking techniques and basic rhythms, and even learn some polyrhythms, which combine multiple simultaneous drumming patterns into a cohesive whole.

We’ll also discover the history of each rhythm and learn how the patterns we’re playing fit into Manding musical traditions, and leave prepared to join any one of D.C.’s community drum circles with confidence.

This class is open to students aged 12 and older.


Record Collecting 101 - Vinyl Happy Hour with Som Records

(IMAGE) Vinyl by Tom Ward is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

May 9th, 2019

Som Records - 1843 14th St NW
7:00pm - PLEASE RSVP - http://knowledgecommonsdc.org/classes/record-collecting-101-som-records/

Want to improve your record-hunting game and grow your collection? Join Som Records owner and vinyl DJ Neal Becton (aka DJ Neville C) for a session on all things vinyl — record quality, genre expansion, collection curation, and more. There’ll be a talk, a Q&A, adult beverages, and the opportunity to shop for records at a 15 percent discount with the advice of a true vinyl expert. No purchase is required in order to attend; please come to learn, talk shop, and mingle!

This class is for students 21 and older. We will check IDs at the door.


Parliment Funkadelic’s The Mothership: A Smithsonian Gallery Talk

May 10th, 2019

National Museum of African American History and Culture - 1400 Constitution Ave NW
2:00pm - 3:00pm - PLEASE RSVP - http://knowledgecommonsdc.org/classes/parliament-funkadelics-mothership-gallery-talk/

Funk superstar George Clinton and his band Parliament-Funkadelic drew inspiration for their 1970s jams from space, science fiction, and their own far-out visions of the future. Drawing on the idea that all humans are citizens of the same universe, Clinton and the band constructed the Mothership, a large-scale spaceship prop that provided the perfect backdrop for songs about the “Mothership Connection” between diverse peoples. We’ll get an up-close look at this awesome artifact, learning about its history and significance from Smithsonian curator Kevin Strait. In Clinton’s immortal words, come “Put a glide in your stride and a dip in your hip / And come on up to the Mothership”!

The museum is accessible only via pre-reserved passes, which will be held by your KCDC facilitator. Please meet promptly at 2:00 outside the main, south-facing entrance to the building so that the group can enter together. The gallery talk begins at 2:30; if you arrive later than 2:15, you might not be able to access the museum. You’re welcome to continue to tour the museum on your own at the conclusion of the talk.


U Street Murals Art Walk

May 11th, 2019

8th and S Street NW
11:00am - PLEASE RSVP TO JOIN THE WAIT LIST - http://knowledgecommonsdc.org/classes/u-street-murals-art-walk-2/

A growing number of murals adds color and interest to U Street’s outdoor spaces, but that’s not all these diverse public artworks do!

Join artist and author Cory Stowers on a walking tour of 12 murals throughout the Shaw and U Street neighborhoods to learn about the historical, social, and political significance of (un)commissioned public art, along with the unique styles of the local artists and cooperatives that created them.

This class is presented in partnership with DC Murals.