Mongolia in words, music and pictures

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Join us at 7:00 p.m. tonight at the Downtown library for an evening of Mongolian culture. Bodio and Monkhytuya of Mongol Khan Expeditions will be joined by Mongolian musician Ninjee and other local Mongolian musicians for an evening of culture, music and photos from their native country. Ninjee will perform traditional throat music and play the horsehead fiddle. Next Tuesday, March 18, same time and place, we'll be featuring the music and culture of Kazakhstan.

Steak For The Son

Tea For The Tillerman seems like a folk record. The instrumentation contains only acoustic guitars, piano, bass, a few strings, and an occasional organ. The solos focus more on melody than fret board pyrotechnics. But something about the tone of Cat Stevens’s voice, especially when multi-tracked, gives this record an almost other-worldly feel and Cat’s gift for lyrics pushes this record into a class by itself, mixing songs about angst, lost love, and spirituality with wonderful imagery and provocative lyrics in the vein of Van Morrison or Bob Dylan. Everyone knows the big song off the record “Wild World,” its companion piece, “Sad Lisa,” a piano ballad featuring a wonderfully tragic violin solo is probably the highlight.

Vinx performance at The Ark

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The powerful one-man band known as Vinx lands at The Ark on Thursday, March 13 for another masterful drum performance. Vinx is one interesting man. He was an Olympic track hopeful sidelined by a boycott and then a personal injury. He then became a personal trainer to a few celebrities before focusing on his music career, which began in the late 70s. He’s toured and played with world-class musicians around the world for the past thirty years. "Imagine a classic R&B voice like those of Sam Cooke or Al Jarreau singing a capella over a boisterous percussion troupe and you might get a hold on Vinx's magic...It's his yearning voice, alternately full of both anguish and joy, that makes you listen," says Modern Drummer magazine.
March 13, The Ark, 316 S. Main St. 8pm. Check the website for ticket information.

Take the Music Pulse: All Media Guide

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All Media Guide puts out the definitive guides to music, rap, hip-hop, rock, soul, blues, and jazz. Music news and reviews fill the website. Search by artist, song, or album, and check out the music blog too. Marisa Brown, a Staff Writer at AMG will be at the Malletts Creek branch, Sunday, March 2 from 2:00-3:30 pm.

Klezmer music at the Neutral Zone

Ann Arbor's TeenCenter, The Neutral Zone, is kicking off their concert series, Weapons of Musical Diversity, with klezmer group, Shtreiml. The all-ages show will be Thursday, March 7th, at 7 pm.

A new take on traditional Eastern-European Jewish and Turkish folk music, the group will be performing free of charge at the Neutral Zone. If you like Shtreiml, check out the Klezmatics and The Klezmer Conservatory Band.

They're not really small potatoes

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The duo of acclaimed Chicago-based husband-and-wife duo of Jacquie Manning and Rich Prezioso who call themselves Small Potatoes will be performing as part of the Greenwood Coffee House Series this Friday night, February 29 at the First Methodist Church at 1001 Green Rd. at 8 p.m. Small Potatoes call themselves "electo-maniacs," i.e. not pigeon-holing themselves into one genre of folk music but embracing many. Singing cowboy songs as well as country, blues, swing and some originals, they love what they do and have gained a loyal following both in Chicago, their hometown and at festivals and clubs nationwide. They've been opening acts for Susan Werber, Bill Staines, Tom Paxton and many others. Mike Regenstreif of Sing Out Magazine says: “Small Potatoes might well be one of the leading mainstays of the folk scene for many years to come.”

Carrie On Country

Last Friday, I read an old Entertainment Weekly interview, in which Carrie Underwood said, “You can say I’m ‘not country’ until you’re blue in the face, but I sing country.” The next day, I’m watching a back-from-strike Saturday Night Live (hosted by alumna and 30 Rock star Tina Fey) and who is the musical guest? Carrie Underwood. Oh, and I’m watching this particular SNL in the home of country music, Memphis (Tennessee.) So this all conspired to make me think, “Well, I’ve said Carrie Underwood is not country, but why?”

Take the Music Pulse: All Media Guide

tune in @ your librarytune in @ your library

Kick off Teen Tech Week (March 2-8), with Marisa Brown, Staff Writer for All Media Guide. Play a game of "Name That Tune." How many notes of a song do you need to hear before you can guess what song is playing? Also, find out what it takes to review music as a career and scope out the best music sites.

Sunday, March 2nd | 2:00-3:30 pm at the Malletts Creek Branch

On John

In John Lennon’s solo career, Mind Games has the high point of “Bring On The Lucie (Freda People)” but little else. I love John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, featuring that great line, “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me. Yoko and me, that’s reality.” But insofar as the album that plays best as a rock album, it’d have to be Imagine. Featuring his most enduring song (“Crippled Inside,” naturally) as well as the title track, the bubbly “Oh, Yoko,” and “Gimme Some Truth.” A near perfect save for the wretched “How Do You Sleep?,” a mean-spirited attack on Paul McCartney. Lennon’s claims that he meant the song directed more at himself doesn’t hold much water, though, given the blatancy of his lyrics (unless he’s a completely clueless songwriter.) Upon hearing the song, you can’t help but feel stuck in the middle of a long-ended but once bitter conflict, and that’s a feeling I could do without, especially on a record with so much else to offer.

Well, It’s Valentine’s Day…

And it looks like I have two real options for a blog. While ‘t’would be slightly clichéd to do a blog on love songs, it is becoming increasingly clichéd to a blog about jilted love songs. But since I’ve already done a love songs blog, I’m just going to go ahead with the jilted love songs. Just to clarify, when I say jilted love songs, I don’t mean, you know, “Love Stinks” (I love J. Geils Band, Detroit loves J. Geils Band, but that song is an embarrassment to their career.) Everybody deals with a broken hearts in a different way, and the songs inspired by such vary from sweet to angry, triumphant to tragic. Same as last time, I’m hoping for non-obvious tunes (I mean, “Yesterday” should go without saying as tops in this category.) Now, let me think, because, gosh, there are just so few popular music songs about love…

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