Escape Capitol Hill and take your lunch to the National Mall on Tuesday to hear blues and jazz riffs performed on a 21-string harp.
A summertime music series featuring local musicians and spoken word artists kicks off at noon with a performance by West African Manding Diali percussionist Amadou Kouyate near the Smithsonian Metro Station, at 12th Street and Jefferson Drive Southwest.
Kouyate comes from a long line of musicians, and has studied and performed Manding music since age three. He plays the kora, a lute-like instrument that dates back nearly 800 years. With the help of a synthesizer, he blends the traditional sound with contemporary music genres.
Born in D.C., he is the 150th generation of the Kouyate lineage and has dedicated his life to being an ambassador of African culture. By blending 13th century songs with original experimentation, blues and jazz riffs, Kouyate aims to reconnect African diasporas.
Lunchtime Music on the Mall will take place every Tuesday and Thursday through August. The series, now in its third year, is sponsored by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and the National Park Service in conjunction with Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.
Performances this summer will range from gypsy jazz and indie pop to acoustic soul, traditional Irish folk and classic rock, among others, according to Norton's office.
“In Amadou Kouyate, we are thrilled to have such a well-known and multi-faceted musician performing at our Music on the Mall kickoff,” Norton said in a statement. “On top of all of that, he’s a D.C. native. Kouyate and the performers that will follow him will bring people and energy to the Mall every Tuesday and Thursday this summer.”