MUSIC REVIEW | Rodrigo y Gabriela tear up the State Theatre

The world-renowned acoustic guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela entered the stage of the State Theatre on August 15 fiercely as the crowd roared continuously. Their tour and new album 9 Dead Alive is a throwback to when they began as street musicians. The audience became willing passengers on a musical voyage; when a song ended, they gasped for another.The pair seemed to be dueling with reciprocity. One would play base as the other would handle the acoustic. Their music is influenced by many genres from nuevo flamenca to blends of rock and heavy metal. The communication between them on stage is seemingly telepathic. Rodrigo y Gabriela originate from Mexico and have been together since 2000 and spent eight years in Dublin. To their credit are several albums and have collaborated on film soundtrack as Pirates of the Caribbean, Shrek and Puss in Boots. Continue Reading

MUSIC REVIEW | Rodriguez delights audiences at the State Theatre

Mexican-American Folk singer Sixto Rodriguez played to a sold-out crowd of 70s-era fans on his comeback tour at the State Theatre on Saturday, May 17. Rodriquez, who was resurrected by a 2012 Oscar-winning documentary entitled Searching for Sugar Man, was escorted on stage by an entorage that included his daughter and toddler granddaughter. It was refreshing to see the family support, testimony to his Latino heritage. His black hat, long hair and all-black outfit was a throwback to his early years.Rodriquez is known to use different support bands throughout his tour performances. This time he was accompanied by two electric guitarist—one a female from New Zealand the other male from the UK. Although known as a folk singer, Rodriquez also added tunes of rock, soul and blues.Rodriquez began his repertoire with Joan Baez-like folk themes of pollution, mafia-established news and bigot cops.He went into rock with “Lucille” and occasionally Sixto shouted out advice like “Be gentle with your anger,” “Men must stop hitting,” and “Stay smart don’t start drugs.”He then sang several tunes from his original two albums Cold Fact (1971) that included Spanish guitar tune “Sugar Man.” and Coming from Reality (1971).His fans where thoroughly delighted and at times stood up and danced in their chairs. Continue Reading

THEATER REVIEW | La Razón Blindada

Opening night was well attended and for good reason. La Razón Blindada brought humor to an otherwise glum recollection of two individuals in prison who survive by meeting in the prison courtyard every Sunday and sharing outlandish storytelling.Performances March 6 and 7 at 8 p.m., Whiting Proscenium Theater at the University of MNThe incarcerated are bound to their chairs and thus the entire performance is told with physical restrictions. However, both actors expounded facial expressions and comical writing.The play is set in Argentina in the 70s and 80s, and resembles Don Quijote’s Man of La Mancha. Passage of time as it stands still, tricks that the mind plays to survive trauma and unlikely heroes are among the themes of the play.The play is entirely in Spanish with a side monitor translating into English. Nonetheless, the audience understood the nuances by a job well done by Teatro Malayerba. Continue Reading

OUR STORIES | Vangeline Ortega: “Brother, can you spare a kidney?”

Vangeline Ortega tells her story, and asks you to do two things: Sign an organ donation form. And get tested for diabetes — especially if you are a person of color.Twenty-seven years ago, at the age of twenty-four, my kidneys failed because of lupus, an autoimmune inflammatory disease. Lupus causes joint swelling and chronic fatigue. For some people, including me, it also causes kidney failure.When your kidneys fail, you have two choices: dialysis or a kidney transplant. I must attend a dialysis clinic, where I am hooked up to an artificial kidney (a filter machine) by means of two one-inch-long needles, three days a week for four hours at a time. Continue Reading