A happy feeling: Summer music at the History Center


History is jammin’ this summer at the Minnesota History Center. The Minnesota Historical Society is hosting 9 Nights of Music—a free live outdoor music series—every Tuesday evening from 6:30 to 8:00. The series, which started June 30, continues through August 25. Admission to the museum is free on Tuesdays from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., both during the concert series and year-round.

The concerts feature a diverse mélange of music genres, from swing to klezmer, even ranging to Bangla/Hindustani fusion. Series coordinator Wendy Freshman says that the purpose of the music series is to share “the eclectic multicultural community that we have here in the Twin Cities.” 9 Nights merges cultures through free activities as well, offering traditional games played by recent immigrant and ye olde pioneer families.

Two bands have already performed: Salsa del Soul in June and Café Accordion Orchestra on July 7. Blending French and Latin influences, Café Accordion Orchestra played a tango to which a couple demonstrated steps. With the St. Paul skyline as a backdrop, members of the audience then tried out the tango for themselves.

One such couple, retirement-age duo Dianne Gordon and Jim Dickson, were enjoying the family-friendly, relaxed atmosphere. “I like that it’s multigenerational,” said Dianne. “Everyone’s got kind of a happy feeling about them,” added Jim. Indeed, whether young or old, dancers or spectators, everyone seemed to be smiling.

There are seven remaining nights of music to enjoy. Bruce A. Henry and Friends will bring Motown R&B to the History Center on July 14, followed by the Eelpout Stringers’ old-time folk on the 21st, and the Cajun Hot Soles on the 28th. The Charmin Michelle Swing Band kicks off the August nights on the 4th; a 1940s fashion show will be held during the intermission. Jantri will rock the house with Indian music on August 11, and Yid Vicious will give them a run for their money on the 18th. Closing the series will be Cyril Paul and the Calypso Monarchs on August 25th.

Marinda Bland (marinda.bland@gmail.com) enjoys failing at salsa dancing.

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