The Kennedy Center

Nag Champa Art Ensemble


Primarily based out of Washington, D.C., Nag Champa Art Ensemble is about organic sounds and textures. Fusing elements of jazz, soul, electronic, Go-Go, and African Rhythms, there’s always a sense of the human element, even though many compositions are conceived on a laptop. Comprised of musicians of many different disciplines, the Ensemble relies on the power of improvisation, developing their unique sound through workshops and jam sessions. This practice of “Shedding” originates from their experience in the worlds of Avant Garde Jazz and Experimental Hip Hop. Nag Champa likes having an open conversation with music, finding common threads and themes through color and texture. The Ensemble’s power is in its intangibility, best experienced live, in order to feel and understand the overarching sonic impact.

Upcoming Performances

Video 2/3/2019: Uptown Arts House presents Home: A Suite for Gil Scott Heron

DC-based creative agency and multimedia arts collective Uptown Art House pays tribute to the work of Musician, Poet, Composer, Activist and Educator, Gil Scott Heron. The Harlem native, and once DC resident, was a product of the Black Arts & Literary Movements of the 1960s & 70s, and served as inspiration for generations to follow. Gil Scott Heron used contemporary styles of Jazz, Soul, Blues and Funk as a sonic bed for his lyrics, which were poignant and often humorous examinations of the social and political climate of the times.  One of his seminal works with co-creator Brian Jackson, Winter in America, was created while both artists occupied a house in Washington’s historic Logan Circle, just a stones’ throw away from the White House.

DC based experimental Jazz troupe Nag Champa Art Ensemble, will make their return to the Millennium Stage, joined by notable members of the new artistic resurgence coined as the Uptown Renaissance, Yaya Bey, Meche Korrect and Nate Greski.


Watch Past Performances

Video 3/15/2018: DIRECT CURRENT: Jamal Gray & Uptown Art House

The Landing is an immersive piece of speculative fiction conveyed through the mediums of sound, movement, and video. An audio-visual exploration presented by Jamal Gray and Uptown Art House, featured players include Maps Glover, Maya Sun, Joe Smokes Wisdom, Ra Nubi, Ashley Shey, and Yacine Fall, with original core from Jamal Gray of the Nag Champa Art Ensemble.

Presented as part of the Kennedy Center's DIRECT CURRENT inaugural season. For more information on the season, please click HERE.

 Nag Champa Art Ensemble