America's Music Project: Explore Popular Music March through May with Films, Concerts, and Talks

AADL presents America's Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway, an eight-week series featuring documentary film screenings and discussions at the Downtown Library.

Wednesday evening sessions, led by Mark Clague, Associate Professor of Musicology and Director of Research, University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, will focus on various genres of twentieth-century American popular music, including:

A final session on May 8 will center on the history of performances at Ann Arbor’s own Hill Auditorium.

Throughout the series, the Library and Kerrytown Concert House will present related concerts performed by some of the area’s prominent musicians.

The series begins March 13 with a concert by Mr. B and a film preview at the Downtown Library.

The Ann Arbor District Library is one of fifty sites nationwide to host the America’s Music series, a project of the Tribeca Film Institute in collaboration with the American Library Association, Tribeca Flashpoint, and the Society for American Music.

The AADL series is cosponsored by Kerrytown Concert House, UMS, WCBN 88.3 FM, and the Friends of the AADL.

America’s Music has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.

LISTEN!! Digital Music News: Country Fiddles, Classical Italian, Poppy Georgia Boys, Traditional Nordic Music

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!

COUNTRY / BLUES / FOLK
The Ranchhands: Fiddle Driven Modern Country Music
"Driven", the most recent release from The Ranchhands, embodies the best elements of today's country music, featuring the rocking fiddle playing of Chris Tedesco, and the star-quality vocal performance of Mickey Kennedy. Keeping true to the roots of classic country style, combined with a modern Nashville production and refreshing original songs, The Ranchhands' sound will appeal to music fans of many different genres.

CLASSICAL
Ensemble Mirable: Rare and Extraordinary Music of the Baroque
"Influenza Italiana", or the influence of the Italian style, is the unifying theme of this marvelous collection of baroque works presented by Ensemble Mirable in their latest recording. The composers represented on this recording are all Italians who helped develop the unique Italian style of baroque composition, or other Europeans who were influenced by the Italian style -- incorporating Italian elements such as the agitated style of Monteverdi or the virtuosic instrumental styles developed by such composers as Marini and Castello. Among those represented here are Becker, Buxtehude, Uccellini, Ortiz, Buonamente, and Falconieri.

POP / ROCK
Boulevard: Up-Beat Rock and New Wave for the 21st Century
Led by songwriter Benji Barton, these "Athens guitar-pop darlings" deliver a stylish performance of rock, new wave and romantic appeal. With songs of despair and bliss set to a disco beat, Boulevard continues to catch the attention of audiences everywhere. Standout tracks on "Vice and Daring" include Marie and Dreams of Home.

WORLD
Dråm: Swedish Folk Music
Dråm [drohm]: Dialect word from Western Sweden meaning "drone" (a sustained note or chord accompanying a melody), a feature found on instruments like the bagpipe, nyckelharpa etc. Also an awarded Swedish traditional music duo, consisting of the two musicians Anna Rynefors & Erik Ask-Upmark. They have been playing together for over a decade, touring all over the world, and are both "riksspelmän" ("Official master musicians of the Realm"). With their fresh and unique take on Nordic music, these musicians have taken the roots music community by storm.

Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap

Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap is a 2012 documentary film that was directed by American actor and rapper Ice-T and was well received at the Sundance Film Festival. Ice-T spends the film talking to many of hip-hop’s great MCs and asks them many deep questions regarding their music and writing, including the following: What does hip-hop mean to you? What inspires you? What was the first rhyme you wrote? Which are questions that normally don’t get asked when interviewing rappers.

He visits parts of New York, Detroit, and California and chats with Afrika Bambaataa, Rakim, Melle Mel, Treach, Q-Tip, Chuck D, KRS-One, Kanye West, DMC, Ice Cube, Xzibit, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Grandmaster Cas, Dr. Dre, and many many more. The film plays more like a conversation among artists and peers rather than talking heads interviewing each other. It’s filled with music, free style rhymes, and plenty of reminiscing about great MCs, great rhymes, and the history of all aspects of hip-hop. It was fun to watch and to hear MCs discussing their love of writing, and it really made me want to listen to some old school classics like Grandmaster Flash and Run-DMC. If you’re a fan of hip-hop or music history, check it out. Also keep in mind that AADL has a large collection of rap CDs, both new and old.

America's Music Film & Discussion: The Blues And Gospel Music

Wednesday March 20, 2013: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

UM Professor Mark Clague leads this Blues and Gospel Music screening and discussion session focusing on segments from the films "Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues, Episode 1: Feel Like Going Home" and "Say Amen, Somebody."

"Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues" is a lyrical journey into the landscape and origins of the blues. "Say Amen, Somebody” features three epochal figures who pioneered the Golden Age of Gospel Music: Willie Mae Ford Smith, Thomas A. Dorsey and Sallie Martin.

America's Music has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.

Three key players in 1960s pop music died last week

Tony Sheridan, George (Shadow) Morton, and Kevin Ayers - three relatively unknown yet key players in the history of 1960s pop music - all died last week. Sheridan was the bandleader who taught the Beatles the ropes in Hamburg, Germany, and has the distinction of being the only non-Beatle to appear as lead singer on a Beatles recording. Shadow Morton was the writer and producer of the Shangri-Las' number one hit, "Leader of the Pack" and Janis Ian's "Society's Child". And Kevin Ayers was the mastermind behind Soft Machine, an influential underground band during the first wave of experimental jazz-inflected pyschedelic rock.

Fanfare for the Common Cold

Join other piano music lovers on Sunday, March 17, 4-5 pm at the Downtown Library to hear original selections from the recent recording project, Sweet Geriatrics by pianist/composer Waleed Howrani. From “Bifocal Boogie Woogie” to “Balding Balalaika,” the pieces cover a wide range of topics and musical styles with aplomb. “Old to Joy” reflects on the happy free time of retirement via Beethoven backwards in a minor key, while the joyful “Great-Grandsonata” winds six elements of a sonata into 27 playful seconds. “The journey through life into middle age and beyond is a lot like a symphony,” said Howrani. “It takes place in movements and phases and has many different tones and moments along with recurring themes." You will be amazed and thoroughly entertained by how Howrani tickles the ivories and plays with mother time right before our very eyes!

America's Music: Opening Concert With Mr. B

Wednesday March 13, 2013: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Pianist Mr. B performs at the Opening Concert of America's Music, a film/discussion/concert series, presented by the AADL!

Hosted by Martin Bandyke, this event includes a preview and film montage and remarks by UM Prof. of Musicology Mark Clague.

Enjoy this concert and then attend the rest of the eight-week series, America’s Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway. Events include film discussions at the AADL and concerts presented by the Library and Kerrytown Concert House.

The Ann Arbor District Library is one of fifty sites nationwide to host the America’s Music series, a project of the Tribeca Film Institute in collaboration with the American Library Association, Tribeca Flashpoint, and the Society for American Music. The AADL series is cosponsored by Kerrytown Concert House, UMS, WCBN 88.3 FM, and the Friends of the AADL.

America’s Music has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.

UMS Night School: 100 Years Of UMS At Hill Auditorium: Session 7: Yo-Yo Ma, Classical Crossover, And the Future Of Hill

Monday February 18, 2013: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Classical music has been a driving force in the life of Hill Auditorium, but the field of classical music has changed significantly in the past 25 years and continues to evolve as audiences and artists alike change their expectations for live concert performances.

Session 7 explores the ways in which classical artists like Yo-Yo Ma have "crossed over" and created broader and more diverse concert audiences. We'll also explore how new technologies are changing the concert hall itself.

Professor Mark Clague joins us again as host and resident scholar.

Harpbeat! African Musical Safari

Thursday, February 21 | 10 - 11 am | Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room | Preschool - Grade 5

Harpbeat's harpist, vocalist, and percussionist Donna Novack takes you on a magical world tour and explores the geography, culture, language, and music of Africa. Featured languages include Swahili and Zulu.

Travel across the "Middle Passage" to the West Indies. Take a ride on the Underground Railroad and arrive "dancin" in Motown. Learn how African musical styles -- call & response, work songs, spirituals and more, have revolutionized American music. Martin Luther King, Jr. is featured in Harpbeat's original "I Have A Dream," song, which is accompanied by simple sign language.

Harpbeat! recordings and Donna's original songs have won many national awards. The AADL has the Harpbeat! CDs Around the world from A to Z as well as Hopes & Dreams & Rainbows for checkout.

Searching For Sugar Man on DVD

What a delightful film! The highly acclaimed and Academy Award nominated for Best Documentary Feature, Searching For Sugar Man tells the story of Rodriguez, the biggest 70s music icon that never was.

Discovered at a bar in Detroit, Sixto Rodriguez released two folk albums that did not sell well in the States and he was eventually dropped from his label. Meanwhile, bootleg copies ended up in South Africa where he became a much loved phenomenon, unbeknownst to him! Fans had no information about him, only his popular records. In the late 90s two South African fans set out to unravel the mystery and find out what really happened to Rodriguez. They discovered that he was in fact still alive, and their discovery changed both of their lives with magical results.

The film is beautifully shot and laced with a great soundtrack. Rodriguez seems like a humble and soulful human being and the search for the Sugar Man created a truly moving and inspirational film. Five stars!

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