Go-Go Archive at DC Public Library

Go-Go Archive at DC Public Library

Contribute, Participate, Share and Learn

About the Go-Go Archive

Go-Go is a style of funk that originated in Washington in the 1970s. Known for heavy bass, driving percussion and call-and-response, the genre has become one of the most popular music forms in the city. In memory of music icon Chuck Brown, the DC Public Library established a Go-Go Archive in 2012 to honor, preserve, teach and enjoy DC's original music.

The Go-Go Archive captures both well-documented and lesser-known stories from groups like organizations, record labels, houses, venues, festivals, record shops, radio stations and artists. Currently, the Library has more than 20 linear feet of materials in various formats including photographs, books, magazines, records, cassettes, CDs, DVDs and video. 

Highlights of the collection include:

  • Oral history interviews, notes, and other research materials that journalist, scholar, and Howard University professor Natalie Hopkinson used for her book Go-Go 
  • Live: The Musical Life and Death of a Chocolate City
  • Archived tweets related to the growing #dontmutedc movement. So far, 10,000 #dontmutedc tweets have been collected. The tweets are anonymized and viewable as a spreadsheet on DigDC, the Library's web portal for digitized and born-digital collections.

Donate to the Go-Go Archive

The Go-Go Archive is created in part from the records and reflections of everyday Washingtonians. Help tell the story of Go-Go music and venues past and present. The Library is accepting materials including:

  • CDs and audio recordings of Chuck Brown and other Go-Go musicians
  • flyers and posters
  • If you would like to contribute to our archive, please contact us at peoples.archive@dc.gov or call 202-727-1213. Items donated to the archive will be reviewed by Library staff. Selected items will be organized, preserved and made accessible for generations to come. By sharing your Go-Go memories, students, researchers and historians will be able to access the rich history of the archive free of charge.
  • photographs
  • concert-ticket stubs
  • videos or DVDs
  • letters that describe attending a Go-Go concert

Visit the Go-Go Archive

See updated information about visiting the People's Archive here. Images below are representative items of the full collection - check out show flyers, ticket stubs, cassette tape and cd sleeves and listen or watch recordings of produced go-go albums, documentaries and live shows. 

Scream Static Disrupters Flyer

Chuck Brown Globe Poster

Go-Go Live VHS

 

Trouble Funk Static Disrupters Flyer

 

Rare Essence Fold Out Tape Jacket

Listen to Go-Go Oral Histories

Khadidia ThieroA collection of eight oral histories from people active in the Go-Go scene in Washington, D.C. from its earliest days to the present are now available on Dig DC. These oral histories were collected by The Go-Go Museum and Café and partners. In one interview, go-go superfan Kadidia Thierro, pictured left discusses the private school go-go circuit, connections to other musical genres such as reggae and the blues, her collection of most cherished go-go momentos and more.

This project was part of the programing for Go-Go Preservation Week 2021 in collaboration with The Traditional Arts DC Project at Howard University.

View the Chip Py Photo Collection 

The Go-Go Archive has acquired and cataloged the photo collection of Chip Py. The 1,900-plus photo collection includes concert performances of Rare Essence, Backyard Band, Familiar Faces, Suttle Thoughts, Be'la Dona, and Da Mixx Band. The collection also includes photos of Chuck Brown for whom Py was one of Brown's official photographers in the final year of Brown's life. See the collection here

Learn About the Go-Go Beat with Teach the Beat

Read About Go-Go

The Beat

Go-Go Live

Take Me Out To The Go-Go

Pump Me Up

The Beat: Go-Go Music in Washington, D.C.

Go-Go Live: the life and death of a chocolate city

Take Me Out To The Go-Go: the autobiography of Kato Hammond

Pump Me Up:
DC subculture of the 1980's
 
(reference copy only, email for appointment)

Listen to Go-Go

 

Good To Go

Chocolate City Go-Go

Go-Go Crankin

Anthology of Go-Go

Hashtag your Go-Go or Go-Go Archive story with #dcgogoarchive @dcpl