* Due to the closure for elevator repair, the Downtown Library is not currently available to select as a request pickup point. Please select another location for new requests.

Joe Returns!!

It’s always a party when Joe Reilly hits the stage at the AADL! Bring the little ones for dancing, singing and learning about this beautiful, mysterious and spinning planet of ours! Wiggle out the winter lazies on Sunday, December 30th at 2:00 pm Downtown and check out Joe's newest CD.

Performance Network: A Little Night Music Runs through Dec. 30

Performance Network in Ann Arbor is showing A Little Night Music, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. The book is by Hugh Wheeler -- and the romantic musical is a six-time Tony winner. The show is "a rollicking tour-de-force of love, lies, and liaisons," the PN website says, with "an amazing musical score, including. . . Send in the Clowns." Here is the plot summary: "Desiree Armfeldt is an enchanting Swedish actress. While on tour in a country town, she runs into former lover Fredrik, who has brought his young wife to the theatre. Reminiscing in Desiree's dressing room, their passion rekindles. The two seek to continue their affair at a gathering for several guests at Fredrik's country home, setting in motion a hilarious and flirtatious weekend for all." Ticket information is here.

Music: First Aid Kit

Anthemic folk-rock has been buzzing loudly in 2012, with northern European-based bands like Mumford & Sons and Of Monsters and Men stomping their way up to the peaks of the Billboard 200 and selling out arenas worldwide. The Denver-based folk-rock band, The Lumineers, have steadily gained momentum with their self-titled debut, joining the Avett Brothers near the Billboard top-10 and at the pointy end of many listeners' and critics' best-of-the-year lists.

For those that like their folk-rock a little quieter, more introspective, and heartbreaking, give First Aid Kit a try. Their second album, The Lion's Roar, released January 2012, features the Swedish sisters' lush harmonies and gorgeous melodies, with lyrics that linger like wine, for example, the following chorus from their single, Emmylou, which speaks to the relationship between Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris as well as Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash:

I'll be your Emmylou and I'll be your June
If you'll be my Gram and my Johnny too
No, I'm not asking much of you
Just sing little darling, sing with me

First Aid Kit would make a fine pairing with Tallest Man on Earth, Iron & Wine, and Bon Iver.

Mittenfest VII is coming up soon!

Mittenfest is an annual local music festival held in Michigan and played by Michigan bands. The festival serves as a fundraiser for 826michigan, dedicating 100% of its profits to the non-profit organization which helps tutor students ages 6-18 with writing. 826michigan is part of a nationwide network of non-profits, started in San Francisco by the acclaimed author Dave Eggers. Last year, Mittenfest raised $21,290.00 for 826michigan, bringing the total raised over the last six years to $55,000.00!

For its seventh consecutive year running strong, Mittenfest is going to run a full 5 days, over which 50 Michigan bands will perform live, including Frontier Ruckus, Starling Electric, Shigeto, Patrick Elkins, and Our Brother the Native, just to name a few! To see the other 45 bands and a complete 5-day schedule, click here.

Mittenfest VII will be held this year at Woodruff's at 36 East Cross Street in Ypsilanti, starting Friday Dec. 28th and running through Tuesday Jan. 1st. Bands will starting playing at 5:30pm and will run through 12:30am each day. Tickets are $10/day or $82.60 for the full 5-day pass. It's only 9 days away - don't forget! - head on out next weekend to hear some great live music and support a great local organization!

LISTEN!! Digital Music News: Christmas is Coming!

YOU can access almost 1,000 digital music albums directly through our AADL.org catalog. Stream or download as much as you like, DRM free, on any device you choose. No waiting for a copy. No due dates. Hooray!

NEW AGE / JAZZ / CHRISTMAS
Jeff Wahl: Acoustic New Age and Jazz Guitar
"Christmas has become a pretty loud holiday. To me, Christmas is a celebration and recognition of the power of simplicity. This album is a collection of solo guitar arrangements of classic Christmas songs that reflect this belief. I believe that beauty of these songs shines forth even stronger in these simple, quiet arrangements. There are no overdubs on this album and all songs are played in standard tuning." - Jeff Wahl

CLASSICAL / CHAMBER MUSIC / CHRISTMAS
Ralph Rousseau Meulenbroeks: Virtuoso Viola Da Gamba
A wide array of traditional Christmas carols become rich, resonant poetry in the hands of Ralph Rousseau Meulenbroeks. This album of instrumental holiday music strikes just the right balance between an elegant and a rustic mood, and the burnished versions of carols like "Oh Come All Ye Faithful" ("Komt allen tezamen") and "Silent Night" ("Stille Nacht") usher you directly into the fire-lit parlor of Christmas.

ELECTRONICA / CHRISTMAS
Osamu Kitajima and Chris Mancinelli: Pan Pacific Ambient Dance Masters
With their album "Christmas Through the Gateway", Osamu Kitajima and Chris Mancinelli have created Christmas music with an electronic Asian flavor. Take a musical sleigh ride with the infectious beats, ambient stylings and Japanese influences of these holiday classics. It is an innovative and playful set of music that sounds both familiar and undeniably unique.

CHRISTMAS
Magnatune Christmas Compilation
Create a toasty, elegantly merry mood with the Magnatune Christmas Compilation featuring over 60 minutes of the most timeless and classic carols of the season as played by ten different best-selling artists from Magnatune Records. The predominantly instrumental selections range from the simple acoustic guitar of James Edwards to the rich viola de gamba of Ralph Rousseau Meulenbroeks and the snowy, sparkling harp of Cheryl Ann Fulton. A few select vocal pieces include the absolutely angelic-sounding Con Brio children's choir, as well as the renowned women's vocal ensemble, Kitka. This is one of those albums to which you'll return again and again, season after season, and it's absolutely perfect for holiday dinners.

Music: Polica -- Give You the Ghost

The best-in-music 2012 lists are coming out every day on music blogs, which is a great chance to pick up on music that you might have missed throughout the year. Even better news is that the AADL has many of the albums on these lists.

Polica (pronounced POE - LISA) is a band from Minneapolis led by singer, Channy Leaneagh, with co-producers Ryan Olson (Gayngs) and Jim Eno (Spoon). Give You the Ghost is their solid debut release, and it makes me think of what the Blade Runner soundtrack would have sounded like if it were written by Florence + The Machine. For a 9 minute snapshot of Policia's story, music, and live show, check out this mini-documentary on youtube.

Polica's songs are about loneliness, separation, and desperate situations. Leaneagh has a powerful yet ethereal voice, carrying lyrics like "wind, you roll me like a viper / time, you lead me to the fire" without sounding melodramatic. Producer Eno contributes polyrhythmic drum patterns and a rich array drum sounds, like his rolling use of floor toms on the third track, "Violent Games". Olson's use of distorted guitar and a mix of keyboard sounds adds texture unlike anything else in music today.

Ravi Shankar, sitarist and Friend of The Beatles, has died

Ravi Shankar, India's most famous sitarist due to his embrace of and collaboration with many well-known Western artists, especially the Beatles, died yesterday in California.

In 1952, Shankar performed with Yehudi Menuhin and 15 years later they recorded West Meets East. In 1965, George Harrison began sitar lessons with Shankar. When Harrison then used the sitar on the Beatles' 1965 album, Norwegian Wood and its popularity took off.

Other notable Western musicians who worked with Shankar were: saxophonist John Coltrane (who named his son Ravi]; Jean Pierre Rampal (flutist); and composer Philip Glass.

Two DVDs highlight Shankar's influence on the world of music: Ravi Shankar in Portrait was a live concert that took place in London on July 22, 2012 in Union Chapel. Exactly five months later, again in London,Concert for George was filmed. This event honoring George Harrison was held at the Royal Albert Hall in London on November 22, 2002.

Shankar, who had undergone heart surgery last Thursday, was 92.

The Best of 2012

If you have read all of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2012, you could certainly find something on 100 Notable Books of 2012.

Here is the NPR Complete List of Best Books of 2012 which includes Graphic Novels That Flew Under The Radar, Nancy Pearl's Picks For The Omnivorous Reader.

As the days get shorter and there is just too much to do, try Jane Ciabattari's picks of Short Stories To Savor On A Winter Weekend. For a bit of seasonal reading, there is A Wintry Mix: Alan Cheuse Selects The Season's Best.

The thoughtful and expert picks in Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2012, and the Library Journal 2012 Best of Genre Fiction are always right on. Bear in mind also, The Guardian(UK) Best Books of the Year for some adventurous reading.

On the road this holiday season? Track down one of these Top 10 Crime Fiction Audiobooks, or the The Washington Post Best Audio Books of 2012.

For the ebook readers on your list, here are the current hot titles. They are always available and no gift wrapping necessary.

FOR THE YOUNG READERS IN YOUR LIFE :

Worth another look is NPR's 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels.

American Library Association's 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults and Top 10 List, the complete list of 2012 Notable Children's Books

The New York Times 100 Notable Children's books covers titles for young adults to picture books.

And who could blame them if they want TOYS? Check out Parenting magazine's Best New Toys 2012 and the Best Wii games for kids.

Dave Brubeck, jazz giant, has died

Dave Brubeck, known for as a mesmerizing improv jazz pianist and for merging many elements of the classical and jazz genres for a uniquely appealing sound, has died.

Brubeck, born in 1922 to a cattle rancher father and a mother who was a classically trained piano teacher, was born with a musical ear. As a child Brubeck was able to hide his inability to read music by his ability to play a piece after hearing it once or twice. In fact, the University of the Pacific only agreed to graduate him with a degree in music if he promised never to teach music.

After serving in the Army during WW II, he studied under the famous French composer, Darius Milhaud, who encouraged Brubeck to pursue his obvious gifts in jazz. In 1951, Brubeck formed the The Dave Brubeck Quartet which solidified his lifelong association Paul Desmond, who wrote the iconic Take Five, Brubeck's haunting piece that blends his knowledge of European harmonies with his irresistible attraction to African rhythm.

Brubeck disbanded the Quartet in the late 1960s and focused renewed interest in composing jazz symphonies and sacred music

Despite the best efforts of harsh jazz critics to take Brubeck down a notch or two over the decades ("...[Brubeck plays]...as if a man who knew 500 words of French were to attempt a novel in that language." - Joe Goldberg. Or this: "...the galloping pomposity of his piano solos." -- Dave Gelly), his fans apparently didn't get the word; Brubeck continued to pack any venue where he performed. His sons joined him in concert tours starting in the 1970s.

Brubeck, who would have been 92 tomorrow, died of heart failure while on his way to a regularly scheduled appointment with his cardiologist.

LISTEN!! Digital Music News: Sultry Soul, Japanese Koto, Scottish Lasses, Imagined Cinema Tunes

YOU can access almost 1,000 digital music albums directly through our AADL.org catalog. Stream or download as much as you like, DRM free, on any device you choose. No waiting for a copy. No due dates. Hooray!

ROCK
The Raindoggs: Beat-Heavy, Darkened Mix of R&B and Soul
"One Armed Bandits" is a multifaceted album, each song having a distinctly different influence and flavor. There are wide variations, from funky to ethereal to highly danceable to dirge-like. Even with this wide palette, the group never loses its cohesive, identifiable sound -- wah-wah guitars, saucy horns, liberal use of electronics and samples, and sultry vocals. Influences for The Raindoggs include Tom Waits, Snoop Dogg, The Heavy, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, The Lounge Lizards, and Amy Winehouse.

WORLD
Yumi Kurosawa: Melodic and Mixed World Tunes on Japanese Koto
Yumi Kurosawa was born and raised in Japan and began to study Koto when she was three. Her album, "Beginning of a Journey", offers an East-meets-West music experience. Not familiar with Koto? The traditional Japanese instrument is a kind of dulcimer, a board laced with plucked strings tuned with pyramidal blocks, set at intervals under each string, that give the curving surface the look of a mountainscape diorama. Other features on this recording include a violin ensemble, cello, trombone and computer sounds.

CLASSICAL / FOLK
Susan Rode Morris: Early Music Delivered with a Voluptuous Voice and Intensely Focused Delivery
"Among the Lasses, songs of Robert Burns (1759-1796)" is the second in the trio collection of the beloved songs of Scotland's national poet Robert Burns. Soprano Susan Rode Morris and harpsichordist Phebe Craig offer a look at one way Burns heard his songs played, creating their own bass lines and arrangements based on their knowledge of 18th century music. Burns was not a composer, but a great collector of his national music. He took existing songs that were only partly remembered and rewrote the verses to "mend them". He set his poetry to his favorite fiddle or bagpipe tunes.

AMBIENT / NEW AGE / ELECTRONIC
Ray Carl Daye: Atmospheric Ambient/Electronic Music
"Rapid Ear Movement", the second Magnatune release by Ray Carl Daye, is a diverse collection of electronic/ambient instrumentals full of emotion and creativity. The compositions range from the energetic, sequence-driven minimalism of "Endless Departure" and "Dervish Moon" to the radiant, melodic riff of "Aqua Lit". Other notable tracks are the sentimental, gentle meditation of "Quiet Remergence"; the glittering soundtrack-inspired "Elusian Spring" and cinematic atmosphere of "The Illuminated Earth". In all, "Rapid Ear Movement" presents fourteen short soundtracks for an imagined cinema.

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