Gramophonic is an Americana group from the U Street-Columbia Heights area of Washington, D.C. Their cello, accordion, mandolin, guitars, big harmonies, and rollicking live shows around the city celebrate the love of raw, visceral acoustic music. Formed in 2011 while jamming on a back porch and honing its skills for months at open mic nights, the band worked its way up to the 3- and 4-hour concert-carousals for which it is now known. Gramophonic shares a passion for the stories and cultures of China, India, and Afghanistan, and its songs explore members’ past lives in these countries through the American folk, blues, and roots music they grew up with.
Tear a Root from the Earth
Tear a Root from the Earth is a new musical that uses both American and Afghan folk music to portray three generations of an Afghan family as they navigate the American and Soviet invasions of Afghanistan. The piece is epic in scope and specific to Afghanistan, but also universal in its themes about the impossible decisions facing people in war. It features an on-stage band composed of instruments from East and West. From Afghanistan, virtuoso and co-composer Qais Essar plays the traditional rabab alongside Afghan percussion. From the West, co-composer and lyricist Johnny Walsh lends folk, bluegrass, and rock rhythms to the captivating score. This combination of sounds and styles offers a unique perspective on Afghanistan and America’s legacy there.