Hanif Abdurraqib isn’t above turning up the bass as he embarks on a high-powered kick drum solo.
The virtuoso drummer, known on the local and national scene for his ethereal performances with the local avant-garde outfit Marimba Project, will take center stage at Cigar City tonight with a special guest: violinist Lara St. John, who will perform an encore with him.
“It was a mutual effort,” says Abdurraqib, a familiar voice in the Washington music scene. “I wanted to do something I love with an artist I know. Lara asked if I would play with her, and I said yes. I know everyone in the band will do a really great show.”
The Saturday night performance is an encore to Cigar City’s appearance on the Givens-Burman Tour, which brought the duo – two of the area’s most exciting musicians – back to the D.C. area.
“D.C.’s got a lot of fans of both of us,” says Abdurraqib. “Even before the Givens-Burman Tour, I toured with Lara, and she came to see me play and that introduced her to my work. We became really great friends.”
Since the Givens-Burman Tour wrapped, Abdurraqib and St. John have been on the road together, with stops in Chicago, New York and Philadelphia.
“It’s been great,” says Abdurraqib. “Lara is a really great friend of mine, and we keep in touch. I call her the next great music artist, and she has so much heart.”
The performance will be the first time the two musicians have performed live together, and to Abdurraqib, a new experience.
“It was a bit of a combination of a lot of different styles, some classical, some improvisation, some rock, some jazz, a little bit of funk,” he says. “So we’ll see what we make of it. It’s not just going to be yet another performance. It’s going to be new to both of us, and that’s always fun. I don’t know what to expect, or what Lara has in store.”