Stories, songs of Latino women

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Celebrate Women's History Month by attending a concert by Grupo Sur, a band led by Uruguayan singer, Cristina Burgueno. They explore different musical traditions, some folk, some popular, all representing the rich cultural traditions of women from Latin America. The concert is this Saturday, March 14 at 8 p.m.

"Feast for the Senses"

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Spend an enjoyable evening at Canterbury House, a campus ministry housed at 721 E. Huron St. Canterbury House offers a great concert series open to the general public. This Friday, March 6, they will offer "A Feast of the Senses" which includes among other sensory delights, music by Laurel Premo who plays a variety of folk instruments and sings, her music drawn from Celtic, American and Scandinavian traditions. Also performing will be "Pear and the Pepper, a jazz band and Dry County, formerly Dry County Boys, an indie rock group. The fun starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $10 or $5 for students and seniors.

Bettye LaVette to visit The Ark next week


Hot off her performance at Obama’s Inaugural Celebration on January 18, Detroit native Bettye LaVette brings her soulful self to The Ark for a night of blissful singing and bringing down the house on Thursday, March 5th at 8pm.

After years of top singles, the 2005 release of I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise brought LaVette back into the spotlight, 43 years after her first single was released when she was a teen. She’s been unstoppable since. Juke Blues Magazine describes her music as “tortuous soul at its most raw and almost frightening in its intensity.” Indeed.

Happy Birthday from the Writer's Almanac


Walking to work today, I listened to the podcast of the Writer's Almanac: Garrison Keillor's daily recording of significant events in literary history. I was surprised to learn that today is the birthday of three extraordinary people whose work I appreciate:

1.Ansel Adams: the iconic photographer of the American west. If you've never spent some time with Adams' photographs, check them out in our collection: Ansel Adams : 400 photographs.

2.Kurt Cobain: although I was teenager in the 90's, I only recently came to appreciate the music of Nirvana. Cobain's life ended too soon, but fortunately we still have music like Nirvana Unplugged to enjoy.

3.Robert Altman: probably my favorite film maker. He directed movies unlike anyone else. Of course M*A*S*H and Nashville are probably his most famous films, but I would also recommend Three Women and Popeye, one of the weirdest musicals ever made.

Dear Science Delivers

When post-punk/electronic band TV on the Radio broke onto the Brooklyn indie rock scene, most comparisons leaned toward The Pixies because of their penchant for layering heavily distorted guitar and keyboard hooks over punched-out vocals that teetered the line between screaming and singing. The most pulse-pounding tunes were accusations of masked racial inequity, and the ballads were just a touch less angry, but still pointed statements of mistrust.

None of these elements are absent from 2008's Dear Science, but whereas the first two records were a sonic shock that grated on the listener halfway through the record, the latest album is much more listener friendly. Here, the dance beats on tracks like Golden Age, Dancing Choose, and DLZ, along with the opaque ballads like Family Tree strengthen the record as a whole, making it an investment sure to return in repeat listens. Each song has a clear thematic direction, and though the sounds and structure of the music are still experimental, TVOTR no longer comes off like art for artists, but rather, music that speaks to artists and rock audiences alike.

The Midwest Hip Hop Summit


The Midwest Hip Hop Summit comes to the Michigan Union on UM's campus this weekend. Starting Friday night at 8pm, catch Atlantic recording artist, Little Brother, along with OneBeLo, Invincible, and DCM co-founder and 4REAL host, Sol Guy, live in concert. Then on Saturday, join workshops teaching other facets of hip-hop culture, including breakdancing, MC'ing, graffiti art, and DJ'ing. These events and several panels on issues of race, gender, and the state of hip hop today will be held throughout the day at various locations in the Union. For current literature addressing these issues, try The Hip Hop Wars, or Hip-Hop Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Rap, or All About the Beat: Why Hip Hop Can't Save Black America, all available at the AADL.

Ark fundraiser this weekend

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There are still some tickets available to the annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival which is the the Ark's main fundraising event. Saturday's show is sold out but Friday's line-up looks great too, especially for those who like bluegrass music. Headliners include The Old Crow Medicine Show and The Carolina Chocolate Drops, both old-time string bands. Tickets are available at Herb David Guitar Studio and at Ticketmaster.

Andrew Bird Releases Album, Plays Michigan Theater in April

Rare as it is to hear a record investigate topics like the status of the plecostomus and the plight of the "harmless sociopath," what makes Andrew Bird's latest release, Noble Beast, worth digging into is the artist's gift for arranging this cornucopia of ideas into irresistible pop tunes. Stylistically, Bird plucks from flamenco and jazz as he did on The Mysterious Production of Eggs and The Swimming Hour, but whereas previous records were concerned with evoking the emotions of a situation, Noble Beast is more of an experiment with the duplicity of language. Ergo, the whistling wunderkind and former Squirrel Nut Zippers violinist treats his audience to snippets such as, "In the salsify mains of what was thought but unsaid / All the calcified arhythmitists were doing the math," and "The seemingly innocuous plecostomus / Though posthumous / They talk to us." Catch Andrew Bird playing live at the Michigan Theater on April 8 at 8pm.

Instrument Petting Zoo


It's never too early to start playing an instrument!

String players from Shar Music will demonstrate each instrument in the string family, including violin, viola, cello and bass. Young players (ages 2-5) will have the opportunity to try out the instruments and join in an instrument-making craft project.

Please join us for Instrument Petting Zoo fun on Monday, January 26th, from 10:30-11:30am, at the Downtown Multi-Purpose Room.

Animal Collective -- Merriweather Post Pavilion

On Ok Computer, Radiohead made rock audiences want to climb into alien spacecrafts and learn the meaning of life from those they met on board. Now just over ten years later, Animal Collective reverses that impulse by bringing what might be the closest thing to alien psychedelia down to us mortals. The most anticipated record so far this year, Merriweather Post Pavilion is being released in the U.S. today to massive critical applause. By combining the heavily textured synth lines and bleating bass undertones -- long a signpost of Animal Collective's work -- with sequenced pop hooks that would make Phil Spector cry, the avant-garde Brooklyn band has captured a sound that will be inexorably imitated in the coming years. Check out Strawberry Jam, the band's 2007 release, or Person Pitch, by Panda Bear, a primary songwriter and vocalist for Animal Collective.

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