music

Courtesy of the artist

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Chenille Sisters. Cheryl Dawdy, Grace Morand and Connie Huber formed the group in 1985 in Ann Arbor and they’ve been harmonizing together ever since.

  Originally, Morand and Huber were in a band together. Dawdy attended their shows and was recruited to round out the group.

"Pretty soon Cheryl would come to our gigs and we would tell the guys in the band to take a break and just do things as a trio and it dawned on us that we didn’t need the band," Morand says.

Marcelo Lopez-Dinardi

The big thing you need to know about Afrofuturism is that it is joyous and fun and a celebration of the past, present, and future.

Late last month, three young artists road-tripped from Toronto to Detroit for a weekend festival called Sigi Fest that celebrated Afrofuturism. And they were certainly joyful. 

Milo Birch of Marquette is an improvisational keyboardist. He’s 11 years old and has recently finished his third album, Stepping Up.

Birch worked with some top-notch Michigan musicians for this album including people like Tyler Duncan, May Erlewine, Mike Lynch, Seth Bernard and more. 

For more on Birch's music, shows and up coming events you can visit his website

Juan Beltran

 


Tunde Olaniran’s music has been reviewed and featured across the nation on NPR, the New York Times and Pitchfork Magazine. People are paying attention to his music coming out of Flint.

 

He’s not only a singer and songwriter, he’s a producer, designs his own costumes, and choreographs his own shows (accompanied by backup dancers). By day, Olaniran is an outreach manager for Planned Parenthood. This past year, he’s spent his free time creating a new album.

Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

Tod Machover is a composer and professor from MIT.  It’s his job to create a Symphony for Detroit and he’s asking Detroiters for help. Right now he’s working with people living in Detroit and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to compose what he’s calling “Symphony in D.”


Ara Howrani

Jill Jack has been making albums for more than two decades. This year she was named "Americana Songwriter of the Year" at the Detroit Music Awards.

She will be performing at the Ark in Ann Arbor as part of the venue's 50th anniversary Made in Michigan showcase happening on Saturday, July 25.  

Jack talks with Stateside's Mercedes Mejia about her first gig at The Ark, about her latest music and how giving up playing at bars actually helped her career.

Michael Hacala

The music industry has changed a lot over the past half-century, but a music venue in Ann Arbor that focuses on folk music has been able to survive through all those changes.

As The Ark celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, its leadership is now looking to the next generation of folk musicians to keep the venue around for the next 50 years.


Hazen Schumacher. / Michigan Radio

Sad news for jazz lovers this weekend. 

Radio legend Hazen Schumacher died yesterday at the age of 88.

The Michigan broadcaster was known nationally as host of the "Jazz Revisited" program.

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers
Courtesy of Joe Hertler

Detroit is listening to Peezy, Ann Arbor to Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, and Grand Rapids is sticking to Top 40 country. 

Chris White

Mike Ellison says while he was born in Ethiopia, he was transformed in to an artist in Detroit. You can hear that fusion of cultures in his music. A lot of it combines traditional African music with modern hip hop. He uses his music and performances to raise awareness for causes both in Ethiopia and in Detroit.

Ellison spoke with Michigan Radio’s Emily Fox about how he uses his music as an education and community outreach tool. He gave his perspective on Africa and how it helped shape his identity, and also spoke about current racial issues in the U.S.


Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

Ahya Simone doesn’t particularly like the word transition when she describes being a transgender woman.

Simone was born and raised in Detroit. From an early age she was drawn to the performing arts, singing in church choir and, eventually, while attending Cass Technical High School in Detroit, learning to play the harp.

But it wasn’t until she was in college at Wayne State University that Simone decided it was time to get real, and start living her truth.

Here's a video of Ahya Simone performing with her harp. 

Sarah Price's debut album "SarahTonin" comes out this week
Toko Shiiki

Sarah Price is the choir teacher at Saline High School, and this week she is releasing her debut CD, SarahTonin.

Benjamin Foote

 

When the Grand Rapids band Ghost Heart plays live, it’s a performance spectacle. They played in-studio at Michigan Radio as part of Songs from Studio East.

 

An entire generation of  fifth graders is contemplating a big decision as the school year comes to an end: "What instrument should I play next year in band?"

But plenty of kids don't even know what instruments they can choose from. They may have seen Kenny G jamming on a saxophone on TV, or heard about an instrument they think might be called the "ter-bon," but they've never had the chance to actually hold one (a trombone, that is) and try blowing into it.

That's where "instrument fittings" come in.

Cole Porter.
public domain / wikimedia commons

One of America’s supreme songwriters, his melodies and lyrics spoke of a lifestyle that was suave and elegant.

But five years after writing Night and Day, Cole Porter suffered an accident that transformed his debonair life into a constant battle with excruciating pain.

LanSINGout

The LanSINGout Gay Men's Chorus has been part of mid-Michigan since 1989. From Christmas concerts to charity work, they're a community staple.

Michigan Radio's Rebecca Kruth sat down with director Peter Morse to talk about how the choir's direction has changed over the years. 

Cody LaRue

As part of our M I Curious project, Flint's Cody LaRue asked us the following question:

There is an old railroad bridge in Flint that has "grand funk railroad" on it. Did the band do this, or were they involved in some way?

The graffiti was painted over a “Grand Trunk Western Railroad” bridge in Flint. We checked in with the band to find out.

The electronic music venue, Populux, recently opened in Detroit. There are big plans from a club owner in Berlin to bring back the techno scene to Detroit.
Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

 

This weekend, the electronic musical festival called Movement will bring in more than 100,000 people from around the globe to the birthplace of techno: Detroit.  

Costa Sirdenis

When the City Meets the Sky is the latest album from the Marcus Elliot Quartet, dedicated to Detroit and to the leaders who helped shape the next generation of jazz musicians. 

Benjamin Foote

The debut album by Grand Rapids indie rock and soul band Vox Vidorra explores race, inequality, love and religion.

Molly Bouwsma-Schultz is Vox Vidorra’s lead singer and lyricist. 

Detroit native Steffanie Christi’an is a musician and writer. She has collaborated with some of the top producers in New York City, including Big Proof of D12 and Emanuel (Eman) Kiriakou.

FLICKR USER HEINRICH KLAFFS / FLICKR / Yusef Lateef visualized his music in his drawings, said Alhena Katsof, curator of "Yusef Lateef: Towards the Unknown."

Yusef Lateef – a master musician, composer, writer and artist – died in 2013. However, his history lives on in Detroit, the city where he came of age musically and otherwise. He went on to become one of the first artists to combine jazz with world music.

This Friday, an exhibition called Yusef Lateef: Towards the Unknown will open in the Trinosophes art space on Gratiot in Detroit. It will run through May 10. 

Rebecca Mazzei, co-owner of Trinosophes, thinks the exhibition will be important for all people to see – whether they’re familiar with Lateef’s work or not. She said the exhibit will speak to “why he was so important to the city and why the city was so important to him,” though she added that he also brought some “important cultural movements to the national scene as well.”

madonna on stage illuminated by spotlights
Flickr user M Prince Photography / Flickr

In a recent interview, Madonna called the people of her hometown Rochester Hills "basic, provincial-thinking people."

Mayor Bryan Barnett decided her statement went too far, so he crafted an open letter response that's now being shared all over the Internet.

Flickr user Lotus Carroll / Flickr

The South by Southwest conference taking place in Austin, Texas right now showcases some of the most creative, leading-edge thinkers, musicians, writers and artists.

Joe Voss with Creative Many Michigan, previously known as ArtServe Michigan, wants to make sure Michigan's creativity is on display there. The organization's mission is to develop creative people, places and an economy that will boost the state.

Chuck Anderson / Courtesy of The Oblivion Project

The Oblivion Project is dedicated to performing the music of Astor Piazzolla, the late Argentine composer who is regarded as a "godfather" of Tango Nuevo.

The group is appearing throughout the Midwest, including a performance at the Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor on March 14, this coming Saturday night.

Cellist, band leader and Ann Arbor native Derek Snyder describes Tango Nuevo, saying, "It expands and goes in a lot more directions than traditional dance tango."

Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s summer resort towns like Traverse City, Mackinac and Petoskey live and die by the summer tourist season. Things slow way down in the winter. The streets are a lot quieter, the traffic is gone and many businesses close up shop. But for artists who live in the resort town of Harbor Spring year round, the boom and bust cycle of the seasons is a blessing in disguise.


Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers
Courtesy of Joe Hertler

Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers are releasing their latest album, Terra Incognita, today. The eccentric six-piece band from Lansing and Kalamazoo often perform wearing fur coats and Hawaiian shirts, and front man Joe Hertler likes to sport rainbow angel wings or the state flag as a cape.

a portrait of the band with instruments
Courtesy of Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys

Michigan natives Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys are spreading the love of music this Valentine's Day. Their latest album Ionia will be released on Saturday.

The album was recorded in the then-home of Lindsay Lou and her husband, who is the mandolin player for the band. Since then the band has moved to Nashville.

Lou says the move was motivated by stories they heard from friends about the music community there. While Michigan has many gifted young people that inspire creativity and collaboration, Lou says they're often spread throughout the state. She says Nashville provides more of a central community of musicians to feed off of each other's artistic energy.

Michelle Chamuel's latest album, "Face the Fire," is out today. Chamuel was previously the lead singer of Michigan-based band Ella Riot, and more recently Chamuel gained fame as runner-up on season four of "The Voice."

DANA NYSON / BANDCAMP

After a life of loving music, Grand Rapids graphic designer Dana Nyson has released his very first EP. It’s called “So Far.”

Nyson decided to pursue his passion at 50 years old, when he signed up for music lessons with teacher James Hughes, one of the owners at Triumph Music Academy in Grand Rapids.

But he had one big problem to overcome: Playing in front of his teacher, James.

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