Tomorrow night, Sunday, January 13th, the walls of La Fountaine Bleue will be vibrating with the percussive sounds of 32 of the area's most well known conga players who are participating in the GoGoRadio.com/The Fly Source/Hartbeat Conga Hour's "King Conga Battle" where the winner will not only take home the prestigious title of King Conga, but a prize of $2,000 as well.
The percussive sound of the congas is an integral part of D.C.'s homegrown musical genre, Go Go.
The contest will be hosted by internationally known percussionist, Hosea "Heartbeat" Williams of Hartbeat's Conga Hour on GoGoRadio.com, who has played congas with such greats in a variety of genres such as Chuck Brown, 90's phenom Gerardo [Rico Suave] and also Dog Eat Dog.
There will be five judges including Tyrone "Jungle Boogie" Williams, the original percussionist of Rare Essence, who is currently with Soul'A Movement, renowned sound engineer Gregory "Googie" Burton, coincidentally also of Soul'A Movement and Vernell "Wink" Powell, original conga player with the Junkyard Band while Rock Steady and Deuce 9 round out the judging table. Notably sitting out of the contest and judging is Milton "GoGo Mickey" Freeman as both of his sons are competing in the competition.
Freeman states, "Let this conga battle keep us as close friends!"
As far as judging is concerned, Burton is "looking for the solo to be musical as opposed to rudiments and beats that will move your normal audience as well as musicians. Some musicians like speed, but I'm looking for more of a 'feel'. It's all how the contestants attack their part."
Contestant "Might Mo" Hagans, who currently plays with the Chuck Brown Tribute Band and Be'la Dona, is very enthused. "I am so thankful that this is happening! It's long overdue and I'm very excited that these guys can showcase their talents in this contest. I feel like a kid again going against the best of the best in the DMV area. I'm looking to have a lot of fun and witness the forces behind go-go music and that is the conga."
The event, held bracket style, will also interestingly be broken down into quadrants to pay homage to the four quadrants of D.C.- N.W., N.E., S.W. and S.E.. The event has attracted sponsors such as Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center, Beats by Dre, Latin Percussion and Modern Drummer Magazine. After the contest, music will be provided by the GoGo All Stars.
Hartbeat's Conga Hour can be heard each and every Tuesday night from 6pm to 10pm by logging on to GoGoradio.com.
Event Info: King Conga Battle at La Fountaine Bleue, 7963 Annapolis Road, Lanham, MD 20706 Doors: 8:00pm Show: 9:00pm to 1:00am Admittance: $25