Brilliant debut from under-appreciated Minnesota chanteuse

It's amazing the quantity of quality talent that calls the Twin Cities home.  How some of it still awaits national stardom is a good question.  Take, for instance, neo-soul cha

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Where has all the music gone?

Sometimes I plan courses I would like to teach if I were still an adjunct or a high school teacher.

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MUSIC REVIEW | Eric Whitacre charms Orchestra Hall with a Minnesota Orchestra and Chorale concert

Photo couresty Eric Whitacre

An unusually age-diverse crowd filled Orchestra Hall for a Minnesota Orchestra and Chorale concert led by Eric Whitacre. The program featured works by the well-known choral composer, supplemented here and there with some of his own favorite pieces by other composers. Soprano soloist Hila Plitmann and cellist Anthony Ross rounded out the evening's musical offerings.

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MUSIC REVIEW | Mason Jennings feels like home at the State Theatre

Photo courtesy Mason Jennings

Mason Jennings declared himself a Northerner on Saturday, April 5 at the State Theatre. Jennings, who stopped in Minneapolis as part of his cross-country tour to promote his new album Always Been, calls this frozen land that is Minnesota home (he's even got an album called Minnesota). Just as we're on the verge of moving past the coldest winter in recent memory, Mason Jennings is still able to defend his homebase to all the Southerners who ask him why he lives here while he's on tour. He seemed relaxed—maybe even relieved—onstage Saturday night, and his concert felt like home. I know how obnoxiously corny that sounds, but Mason Jennings is Minnesota to me and a good reminder of why we live here.

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MUSIC REVIEW | Turf Club becomes an 80's dance club with Small Black

Small Black at the Turf Club

I’ve never seen the Turf Club as a dance club before but that changed Saturday night when I went to see Small Black. They had a whole dance scene set up: smoke machines, bright oscillating lights and a stage full of musicians. It was like shrinking an arena show from the 1980s just for the Twin from the Cities. It reminded me of seeing the Stone Roses at an outdoor show two summers ago – easy breezy.

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MUSIC REVIEW | The Lowest Pair and Dead Pigeons at the Cedar Cultural Center: Double record release, double banjo harmony

If I said imagine a band with one member from Minneapolis’ West Band and one from Olympia, Washington playing at the Cedar Cultural Center, I think you might be able to picture The Lowest Pair. He used to play Palmers on Tuesday nights; she used to work in a vegan bakery. They look exactly like you might think. However you might not picture the most important part: two banjos. Palmer T. Lee is originally from Minnesota he plays with The Boys n' the Barrels; Kendl Winter is from Arkansas but lived in Olympia. They met about a year and a half ago and started a recording project almost immediately. They each play banjos (and guitars) but they don’t play dueling banjos; they play harmony. And it works.

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Otaak Band brings East Sudanese soul to the West Bank

Otaak Band (Photos by Sarah White)

It was a glimpse into a world nearly lost. But the rituals, the traditions, the passed down legacies and teachings from ancestors were still evident in his being. Ahmed Said Abuamna, from Otaak Band, sang as though the music was shooting up from the ground through him, his voice sounding transcendent of earthliness. Watching the smooth and effortless way in which movements flowed from Abuamna’s limbs and in the way songs poured seemingly unencumbered from his soul at the January 29th performance at the Cedar Cultural Center, became a reminder of the importance of keeping a people’s culture and traditions alive.

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MUSIC PHOTOS | Against Me! at First Avenue

Photos by Alexa Jones

On Wednesday, April 2 Against Me! played at First Avenue in Minneapolis with Cheap Girls and Laura Stevenson to open.

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