ST. MARY’S CITY, Md. – The Mulberry Music Festival returns this summer to St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), on Friday, June 16, from 6 to 9 p.m., kicking off the Juneteenth weekend for the fourth year. Headlined by The JoGo Project, the festival also features Oh He Dead, Kevin Howard and The Boneshakers. The College’s own Carly Harvey, SMCM Class of 2007 and “DC’s Queen of the Blues,” returns as mistress of ceremonies and guest vocalist. The event, held on the College’s Townhouse Green, is free of charge and open to the public.
“The way we celebrate diversity at St. Mary’s College of Maryland is a model for the broader community and the nation,” said SMCM President Tuajuanda C. Jordan, PhD. “I initiated the Mulberry Music Festival in order to celebrate diversity through music, bringing the community to our riverfront campus through the unifying message that comes from the music.”
Attendees are invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets, as seating is limited. A variety of food and other vendors will be on site, with the Townhouse Green opening at 4 p.m. Complete information can be found on the festival website at www.smcm.edu/mulberry-music-festival.
About the Performers
Mistress of Ceremonies
Named “D.C.’s Queen of the Blues” by Dr. Nick Johnson of WPFW Radio, Carly Harvey was featured in Big City Blues magazine in 2018 as one of the youngest blues artists to watch. In 2021, she won the Wammie Award for Best Blues Artist. Her EP “Kiss & Ride, Vol. 1” (2019) is available through Apple music.
The JoGo Project is a Wammie Award winning band based in Washington, DC that fuses many styles of music, but with Jazz harmonies and a driving Go-Go beat at its core. JoGo was founded in 2014 by DC native and a prominent figure on the jazz scene Elijah Jamal Balbed during his residency at Strathmore. Nine years later, The JoGo Project has become a mainstay in the DC music community and is dedicated as ever to keeping DC’s Go-Go music alive while also exploring new sounds and repertoire.
When Elijah was a Sophomore at Howard University, he received a life-changing call from James Brown’s last drummer Robert “Mousey” Thompson. Mousey said “Elijah! Call Bryan Mills! He needs a sub with Chuck Brown and I told him you’re the guy!”. Subsequently, Elijah would go on to perform with Chuck from May of 2011 until the Godfather of Go-Go’s death the following year – May 16th, 2012. That year Elijah spent with Chuck instilled a new-found love for Go-Go music, which would forever influence his sound and approach to music. When it was time for Elijah to start a band of his own – he knew it had to be something that brought his Jazz and Go-Go worlds together.
Oh He Dead lead singer CJ Johnson, “maneuvers her powerful voice — a combination of Stevie Nicks and Tracy Chapman” (NPR) in rhythm with the band’s “infectiously groovy” and “sublime instrumentation” (NPR) to create an “infectious and soulful sound” (Washington Post). Founded in 2015 by Johnson and Andy Valenti, the close-knit six-piece band weaves in and out of genres ranging from soul to funk to folk to rock, all tied together by the stirring harmonies of Johnson and Valenti.
Kevin Howard is a world-class keyboardist, composer, producer and businessman. Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, now making his home in Maryland. Kevin Howard’s smooth dynamic sound, warm personality and infectious smile will have you yearning for more. Together with his band of world-class musicians, the sounds you’ll experience are tantalizing, smooth, dynamic, and mesmerizing.
The Boneshakers’ no holds barred funk, blues and rock marries the sounds and spirits of Detroit Rock City, Memphis, and Mussel Shoals. In the remarkable 25-year career of The Boneshakers, the iconic band has always been led by world-renowned guitarist Randy Jacobs of Was (Not Was). The band and members have toured and recorded with Bonnie Raitt, BB King, Keb Mo, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Bootsy Collins, Tears 4 Fears, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Gov’t Mule, and Iggy Pop…just to name a few. They have built a substantial following among blues, jazz, and funk audiences with their powerhouse style.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. St. Mary’s College, the National Public Honors College, is ranked as the top public liberal arts college in the U.S. by Money magazine. Approximately 1,600 students attend the college, nestled on the St. Mary’s River in Southern Maryland.