Why is FLOW Northside Arts Crawl Important?

In anticipation of the 10th Anniversary FLOW Northside Arts Crawl, FLOW’s artist liaison, Farrington Llewellyn asked three North Minneapolis artists, Why is FLOW important to you? Kenna Camara Cottman: Why FLOW Is Important from North MPLS. Watch Kenna also speak about FLOW 2015. Ms. Naima: Keep Flowing from North MPLS. Elder Naima Richmond, poet, storyteller, author, has more to say about FLOW. Continue Reading

The PGBC Marching Saints dance and drill team raise their fists during the Black National Anthem at intermission of the Rondo Days dance competition.

“Your Crew vs. My Crew” creates community amidst competition at Rondo Days [Photos]

The second annual “Your Crew vs. My Crew” dance competition finished out this year’s Rondo Days, which celebrates the black community that once thrived where I-94 now cuts through St. Paul.

“Every year we celebrate Rondo Days and the people and community who once stood there,” Leviticus Martin, the host of the event, proclaimed to a cheering audience during intermission of the competition. “So keep that in your minds and in your hearts when you come to Rondo Days, to the festival, to the parade, to the competition, that’s what it’s about. It’s about the community, it’s about love.”

The competition took place at Gangelhoff Arena on the Concordia University campus on Saturday, July 18th and lasted almost three hours. The competition and dance exhibition included nine crews from Minnesota, Indiana, and Nebraska. Continue Reading


Salt-N-Pepa go old school at Weesner Family Amphitheater

Each year you can count on Music in the Zoo at Weesner Family Amphitheater to have some favorite artists returning to the lineup, but there are always a couple unexpected shows that standout. July 8th was one of those special nights as all seats were claimed for a rare appearance by the original female rap crew Salt-N-Pepa. Hip Hop legends Cheryl James and Sandy Denton looked very much at home behind the microphone trading off lyrics while DJ Spinderella (Deidre Roper) laid their famous tracks down old school. The exceptional crowd of mostly women aided greatly in creating a party atmosphere and were on their feet the moment the needle hit the record and never sat down. It was a nostalgic evening for many as the rappers cleverly mixed in phrases from other popular jams from their era and of course closed their set with their biggest hits including “Whatta Man”, “Shoop” and “Push It”. Continue Reading

François Rabbath: A musician, a teacher, a gentleman with a double bass

The Benson Great Hall at the Bethel University was decked out with 11 upright basses and one piano on Tuesday night. Only ten of the basses were not actually upright but resting on their sides for most of the concert. It set a stage for double bass virtuoso François Rabbath and his son-accompanist Sylvain Rabbath on piano. The music was amazing, but even more amazing was the demonstration of admiration and love from father and son, for each other, for the music, and for the experience. They played as if they were chasing each other around a music sheet. Continue Reading

Photo courtesy of Javier Trejo

Javier Trejo: The legend lives on

The amazingly gifted guitarist and singer-songwriter Javier Trejo has knocked around the Twin Cities for ages and continues to blow audiences away. Back in the 1990’s, he broke on the scene with The Beads, playing straight old school San Francisco rock. The Beads released Ordinary Sunday People, front-loaded with high-power guitar accentuated by his screaming and articulate leads. Their jam-band rock was strong as sulfuric acid. That quality gave Trejo a splendid showcase and brought him to the attention of Stan Kipper and Chico Perez of New Primitives, another throwback to earlier eras, specializing in powerhouse Afro-Cuban rock, a component of which was long, drawn-out jams that had dancers bopping, as it’s said, until they damned dropped. Continue Reading

Los Lonely Boys

Los Lonely Boys Play Music in the Zoo Series

The summer concert season has finally arrived and the good news is we are in the front half of another exciting line-up for the popular Music in the Zoo Series at the Weesner Family Amphitheater. A lively audience was in party mode on Tuesday evening June 16th, for the return of Los Lonely Boys. A few rain drops did not dampen spirits and although the air felt unseasonably cool. Growing up playing music together has enabled the Garza brothers (Henry, Jojo and Ringo) to craft their own music style they call Texican Rock ‘n Roll and their fans clearly love it. Their show is just a lot of fun with lush vocal harmonies and standout guitar work by Henry. Continue Reading

Singer Cecilia Lopez


Color-blind casting continues to be an issue in American theater.  In opera, one might argue, without it how are artists of color to work?  After all, there isn’t exactly an over-abundance of roles written with characters of color.  And how many opportunities are there to be cast in a revival of, say, Porgy and Bess or Madame Butterfly?  Members of Skylark Opera’s production of Puccini La Rondine – two performers, who are of color, and the director, who is not, commented on the matter by email. Cecelia Violetta Lopez sings the role of Magda, who leaves her setup in the lap of luxury as a banker’s mistress, to go looking for love. Lopez’s solo concert credits include Mahler’s Symphony 4 and selections from Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne with the Henderson Symphony Orchestra, Rutter’s Mass of the Children with the Southern Nevada Musical Arts Society, Bach’s Magnificat with the University of Nevada – Las Vegas Symphony Orchestra and Rachmaninov’s Vocalise with the UNLV Chamber Orchestra. “I’ve never experienced a color and/or race issue in my growing career”, she reflects.  “I have been discriminated against in my lifetime, but those instances have been for being Mexican-American and/or female.  Sad, but true.”

Lopez then states, “I think race and opera are completely unrelated to each other. Continue Reading

Musicians Jacky Becky and Jonathan Kaiser rehearse at the ASI for their live score of the Phantom Carriage

A haunting score for a haunted film

Musical artists Jackie Beckey and Jonathan Kaiser perform their original live score for the 1921 Swedish silent film classic, Phantom Carriage, in the ASI historic ballroom Wednesday evening. Their musical compositions and improvisation for Phantom Carriage incorporate Beckey’s viola and Kaiser’s cello with amplifiers, electronics and sound effects to create richly textured and sparse soundscapes for this haunting ghost story, featuring ahead-of-its-time special effects and storytelling devices. Beckey and Kaiser, known for their work with bands Brute Heart, Myrrh and Dark Dark Dark, share a passion for cinema and for scoring silent films together. Phantom Carriage is their latest collaboration, a haunting, ethereal film that is a perfect match for their music style and experimentation.

Cyn Collins: How did you first begin collaborating? How did you have the idea to score silent films?

Jonathan Kaiser (JK): …We played music together for a long time, as a configuration for other people and as a duo and in bands and improvising. The scoring for silent films came from Jackie’s Brute Heart being commissioned for “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” for Walker Art Center Music and Movies. They invited me to join them for that. I’d worked on a couple film scores with Dark Dark Dark so I was in a certain mode of working in that kind of thing. So I and John Marks who plays synthesizer and electronics joined them for that. It was a really fun working experience and it was a great combination of five people working on the project. That was kind of the beginning of talking about film and music stuff and working together on film stuff. Continue Reading