Music Expert Richard LeSueur Discusses Puccini's Famous Opera "La Bohème"

Sunday June 10, 2012: 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm -- Downtown Library: aadlfreespace

Richard LeSueur, opera lover extraordinaire, will discuss the reasons that Puccini's La Bohème is one of the world's most popular operas. Listen to recordings of performance highlights and learn more about this epic love story.

This event is held in conjunction with Arbor Opera Theater's production of La Bohème at Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, June 14-17

Doc Watson, the heart and soul of bluegrass guitar music, has died

Doc Watson, whose lightning-speed flatpicking style of guitar playing befuddled those who have tried to emulate it and who brought new life to folk music, died yesterday In Winston-Salem, NC, following complications from colon surgery.

Blinded when he was one, Doc Watson's first instrument was the harmonica. A few years later, at age 10, his father gave him a banjo and a neighbor gave him guitar lessons.

He eventually graduated to the electric guitar, playing with a rockabilly bind with an unreliable fiddle player. To fill the fiddle gap, Doc Watson figured out how to translate that sound to his guitar.

In the 1960s, Ralph Rinzler, a prominent folkie, encouraged Watson to go back to the acoustic guitar. Watson immediately became a hot commodity on the folk music circuit.

Toward the end of the 60s, Merle Watson, Doc's teenage son, joined his dad for a wonderfully successful run, fueled by their performance on Will the Circle Be Unbroken?, the million-plus album by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Doc Watson's career was nearly derailed by his grief over the death of Merle in 1985, the result of a tractor accident.

Watson, who earned eight Emmys despite his deeply ingrained modesty, was 89 years old. His was the second death to rock the North Carolina and the national music world. Beloved Earl Scruggs died in March.

Happy Birthday, Bob.


Today marks the 78th birthday of Robert Moog, founding father of electronic music and inventor of the Moog synthesizer. If you've ever listened to Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles, or watched A Clockwork Orange then you've heard one of the earliest Moog synthesizers in action. You can stream a documentary on the life of Bob Moog here, and don't miss the incredibly fun Moog Google Doodle. Here's a handy Doodle Guide to get you started.

Middle Eastern Music With Award-Winning Musician Ara Topouzian

Tuesday May 22, 2012: 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Watch and hear award-winning, Detroit-area musician Ara Topouzian brings the sounds of the Middle East to this concert as he performs on Armenian and Middle Eastern instruments, including the kanun (laptop harp) and the duduk (Armenian oboe). Visit the AADL to enjoy this concert - and learn the sounds of these neat instruments!

This event is for adults, teens and youth (grade K and up).

Donna Summer, disco superstar of the 1970s, has died

Donna Summer, known as the Queen of Disco during the 1970s, died today in Florida.

Ms. Summer's gorgeous voice and beautiful presence kept her at the top of the charts and front and center in the public eye year after year. She began as a young girl singing gospel in her Boston church. At 18, she auditioned for a role in the touring company of Hair and went to Europe. In 1973, while recording with Blood, Sweat, and Tears in Munich, she was discovered by a couple of music producers.

Back in the U.S. Ms. Sommer's hit, I Feel Love, was the first to be recorded with the "galloping bass line", an infectious thumping drumbeat that sent music-loving clubbers racing to the dance floor.

Ms. Summer, in addition to winning an Oscar and a Golden Globe in 1979 (for her standout performance of Last Dance in Thank God It's Friday (on order), she snagged five Grammys during her lifetime.

Her last big hit was was the 1980s release of She Works Hard for the Money.

Ms. Summer, who was 63, died of lung cancer which, she confided to friends, she felt she contracted from breathing in the air on 9/11.

Flavorwire looks at 20-year-old albums, reminds us we're not getting any younger

With the recent death of the Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch, many of us have come to realize that, well, we're old. Yauch was only 47 when he died, but his passing has created cause to look back on how he was a part of the soundtrack to our lives.

In that vein, Flavorwire.com, has made a list of "20 Albums We Can't Believe Are 20 Years Old."
Included is the Beastie's Check Your Head, in which they answer the age old question: "Professor, what is another word for pirate treasure?"

And speaking of booty, Sir Mx-A-Lot's "Mack Daddy" brought Baby's Got Back to the world.

R.E.M's Automatic for the People, Tori Amos's Little Earthquakes and Green Day's Kerplunk! also made the list. Check out the list here, and then go tell those kids to get off your lawn.

An Afternoon With Jan Krist And Jim Bizer

Saturday May 5, 2012: 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Jan Krist and Jim Bizer hail from Detroit, justly famous as Motown, but also home to a myriad of musical influences. They met and made music together while still in their teens and have each, on their own, garnered acclaim as songwriters and performers.

Now, they join forces as a fun and formidable duo where the sum is greater than the already substantial parts. Come see for yourself as they return to the Library for this fun-filled concert.

Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts Celebrates 20th Anniversary


The Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts will be having its 20th Anniversary Benefit Gala on Saturday, May 12th at the Michigan Theater. There are two events to which the public may purchase tickets. The first is the gala, which will begin at 2:00 p.m. and will have music, cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets for this event also include admission to the concert that will take place after the gala at 3:30 p.m. The concert will feature performances by the Junior String Orchestra, the Sterling String Orchestra, and the Youth Symphony Orchestra. The concert will feature classical works by such composers as Vivaldi, Haydn, and Holst, as well a selection from The Dark Knight among other selections.

Date: Saturday, May 12th
Time: 2:00 p.m. –VIP Reception
3:30 p.m.—Concert
Place: The Michigan Theater
Tickets: Gala and concert--$125.00
Concert only-- $10.00 for adults
$5.00 for students and children

LISTEN!! Digital Music News: Funk, Love from Sweden, World Fusion, Punk, Bach on Violin

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!

JAZZ / DOWNTEMPO
Jive Ass Sleepers: Chilled Out Grooves & Uptempo Funkathons
The album "Scratch", from California-based Jive Ass Sleepers, offers adventures into jazz and funk, elements of reggae, latin and even some turntable scratching. The grooves are mostly laid back but still funky enough to make you want to dance. Electric guitar is predominantly featured, weaving jazzy, melodic lines over some solid drums, bass, keyboards and horns.

ROCK
Lizzi: Groovy Downtempo Swedish Rock
There are plenty of sensual voices out there in the music world, but few that have the darkness and subtle chill that makes Lizzi's so bewitching. Her album "Love and you and I" is absolutely perfect for a rainy day, Notable tracks include "Remedy," "Only You" and "My Destination". "To be in love is a kind of isolation," says Lizzi. "It's not all happiness and joy: there's a lot of pain and emptiness too. But longing is also an incredible feeling, much under-valued today."

WORLD
Simone Angele and Amir Kalhor: Classical Styles of India and Persia
On their album "India meets Persia" Simone Angele and Amir Kalhor take the listener on an intricate musical journey. The artists explore the classical styles of India and Iran, using the traditional instruments of the respective countries: the Indian Sitar and the Persian Tar. The pieces "Kirvan", "Isfahan", "Solitidi", and "Joys of Spring", represent original Indian and Persian classical styles. "Sunny Days", a pop piece with vocals and sitar, ends the musical journey and takes the listeners back to the west on a light note. Babua Pahari is the percussive force on Tabla and accompanies Simone Angele in the Indian pieces.

PUNK / HARD ROCK
The Strap Ons: Snot-Voiced Thrashing Punk 'n' Roll
The Strap-Ons cut straight to the chase on their release "Geeking Crime", delivering an album that is edgy, messy, and sexy. High octane guitars, bad attitude, and a healthy dose of humor are all here. Keep this one on hand for those days when you feel like telling everyone where to go. (Check out "This Place Sucks" for details.) A fantastically unsubtle album that hits the bullseye, straight-on.

CLASSICAL / BAROQUE
Lara St John: Bach Violin Concertos
Lara St. John's recording of Bach's Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo is awe-inducing. When most classical artists record technically challenging works like this one, they typically have to repeat certain phrases over and over during the recording process. When Lara St. John recorded this album at Skywalker Ranch, she played only complete versions of each movement, so the resulting music sounds incredibly fresh and alive. Her approach is especially appropriate for Bach's Six Sonatas because they're known for their musical freedom of movement. "Breathtakingly beautiful," says Allmusic.com.

AADL Talks To Commander Cody

George Frayne, aka Commander Cody, formed Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen in 1967 while attending the University of Michigan. We had the opportunity to chat with George backstage at the Ark before the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally (Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen performed at the original Rally in 1971). George spoke about the formation of the band, his memories of some of Ann Arbor's musical hot spots, as well as his introduction to boogie-woogie piano, to pot, and to John Sinclair and the White Panther Party.

For more information on Commander Cody, visit commandercody.com and oldnews.aadl.org.

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