On This Day in History--January 8th: Elvis Presley was born in 1935

Elvis Presley was born today on January 8th, 1935 in Tupelo, Mississippi. Known to many as the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis got his start in the music industry singing for Sam Phillips, the owner of Sun Records, in 1954. Phillips, who had hoped to find someone who could do justice to the songs and sound of African-American musicians and provide those songs with a broader audience, took Presley under his wing and had him record a few cover songs that made their way onto the radio. They were an instant and overwhelming hit.

Elvis went on to become one of the most important artists in 20th century pop culture and the best-selling solo artist in the history of popular music, releasing dozens of albums and singles, including From Elvis in Memphis and Elvis's Christmas Album. His unique voice, style, and his interpretations of songs from African-American sources made him a wildly popular and highly controversial figure. He made his film debut in Love Me Tender in 1956 and continued to appear in many other films in the years following. Nominated for 14 Grammys, he won three, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36. He has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame.

Follow the links and you'll find many of Elvis's albums (and a few biographies!) in AADL's collection.

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Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads Event: Film & Discussion: Blacking Up: Hip-Hop's Remix of Race and Identity

Performance Network: "Brill"

Performance Network in downtown Ann Arbor is staging Brill, a comedy by David Wells from Jan. 10-Feb. 10. Music is by Frank Allison. The play is a comedy set in 1959 when a Big Band songwriter facing the arrival of Rock n'Roll meets a young woman who has a guitar, secrets and dreams. The title "Brill" refers to a building in Manhattan. More information and tickets are here.

YPT: "Fiddler on the Roof"

Young Peoples Theater is staging Fiddler on the Roof Jan. 10-13 at U-M Lydia Mendelssohn Theater. The show is based on the book by Joseph Stein with lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and music by Jerry Block. Ticket information is here

Big Band Night: The Paul Keller Orchestra

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

Enjoy big band music with the special performance by the Paul Keller Orchestra! This concert celebrates Performance Network's world premiere of the comedy Brill. Check out performances from January 10 - February 10.

The Paul Keller Orchestra has garnered great popular and critical acclaim winning, among other awards, the 2003 and 2007 Detroit Music Awards for Best Big Band. The Orchestra has recorded seven CDs -- check out his CDs in our catalog!

Maker Music for Teens and Adults: Atari Punk Circuit

Friday January 4, 2013: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This Friday, January 4, we'll be making an electronic instrument out of commonly available pieces and parts.

For this Maker Music event, the Ann Arbor Hacker-Makers of All Hands Active will be teaching people how use basic circuitry to create their own musical instrument, the Atari Punk Circuit. What's that? An Atari Punk Circuit uses an assortment of basic electronics and two knobs to allow people to create basic two-tone electronic sounds, kind of like those that used to be the soundtrack to the first video games on the Atari video game console.

Do you need to know electronics to come to this event? No, that's why we're having it! Come learn a bit about electricity, circuits, and have some fun trying out making different sounds. After you're finished, take a look at our Music Tools collection, too!

This event is for adults and teens (grade 6 and up).

Drummunity Comes to AADL

Friday, January 4 | 10 - 11 am | Malletts Creek | Grades K - 5

Give the drummer some! Join us for Drummunity, a unique, hands-on drumming experience at Malletts Creek on Friday, January 4th from 10 - 11 am. With her multicultural collection of drums and percussion, Lori Fithian can always get a group of strangers drumming, singing, and dancing - creating their own "Drummunity" orchestra!

"A 'Drummunity' circle is a high energy, fun and empowering activity. Lori Fithian, drum circle facilitator and workshop leader, will bring her collection of hand drums and percussion toys to the library to transform our community into a “Drummunity” – a word she invented for the community-building that happens when people come together around a circle of drums."

This event is for grades K - 5.

Patti Page, 1950s pop and country singer, has died

Patti Page, who topped the 1950s charts selling 100 million records, died yesterday in Encinitas, California.

Ms. Page was the first singer to overdub her own harmonies, with the help of Mitch Miller, musician and record producer. In 1948, she was strapped for funds so she used the overdub technique for Confess, which became her first hit single.

Her second number one hit is the beloved Tennessee Waltz . It has sold more than 15 million copies and enjoyed renewed popularity as part of the sound track for the 1983 movie, The Right Stuff, starring Glen Scott, Ed Harris, and Dennis Quaid.

Another of her signature tunes was the popular children's tune, (How Much Is That) Doggie in the Window, her fourth million-copy seller in 1953.

Until recently, Ms. Page who had maintained a busy performance career throughout the decades, gave 50 concerts a year. She was 85 years old when she died.

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!

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