music

This indie-soul group is getting a lot of attention around the Michigan music scene. Their new album Tarantula Manson comes out this fall.

Listen to the full interview above to hear about Hernandez's path to becoming a singer-songwriter, band manager, and female force in the Detroit music scene.

The group performs at Saint Andrews Hall in Detroit on Friday, March 22nd. For more information visit their website. But, for now check out an acoustic performance from band members in Michigan Radio's Studio East.

khalidhanifi.com

Khalid Hanifi is a singer-songwriter who brings an unusual perspective to the songs and lyrics that he writes.

He's based in Ann Arbor, but as the son of an Afghan man who came from Kabul to the United States in 1956, Khalid has a foot in both worlds, and that informs his writing, from songs to his blog on the Huffington Post.
 
His latest CD is "A Brief Respite From Shooting Fish In A Barrel."

To hear the full interview, listen to the link above.

Paul Papadimitriou / Flickr

We talked with Marvin Gaye's little sister about a stage performance ("My Brother Marvin") on his life.

Take a listen to our conversation above.

Facebook

In a new single, young Ann Arbor rapper Prol'e declares that Ann Arbor is "the land of the talented," and he'd like you to put your hands up if you live in 'AceDeuce.'

(warning: explicit lyrics)

From Prol'e's Facebook page:

im a 19 year old rapper , started rapping in elementary school then started recording in middle school. learning from trial error , ive perfected my craft with the tools that i have to create and post great music .

Facebook

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

Bill Ryan is one of the leading lights on the new music scene.

Ryan leads 'Billband' and is also a music educator at Grand Valley State University.

It has been nine years since the last CD release from Billband, but Ryan continues to make his mark on contemporary music with his teaching at GVSU, and with the GVSU New Music Ensemble.

He's put Grand Valley on the map for those who follow and love contemporary music.

And now, after nine years, Billband has a new release. It's called Towards Daybreak with emotive, postminimalist  new music.
 
Bill Ryan joined us from Allendale and Grand Valley State.

Hill Auditorium 100th anniversary

Feb 1, 2013
AndrewHorne / Wikimedia Commons

This Saturday, the University Musical Society at the U of M is celebrating a hundred years since the opening of Hill Auditorium.

The celebration will feature a premiere screening of a documentary about 100 Years of UMS Performances in Hill Auditorium that will teach visitors about history of Hill as a performance hall and as a landmark building in Ann Arbor.

Photo/Doug Coombe

Michigan-based Frontier Ruckus has a new CD, Eternity of Dimming out from Quite Scientific Records. The double album with 20 songs is “dense,” according to Matthew Milia, lead singer-guitarist for the band.

“They’re not two-minute-long pop songs with recurring choruses that people can latch on immediately to…but the people that do take the time to dig in and listen, seem to find themselves being rewarded… in ways that exceed the simply pop song,” he said.

Milia’s inspiration comes from his memories of growing up in metro Detroit. Banjo player David Jones calls the lyrics “obsessively suburban,” a kind of homage to the 90’s era.

The country folk-rock band  draws inspiration from Michigan, specifically from the geography and landscape of suburban Detroit, along with the complications of coming of age.

While some artists choose to move away to places like New York or Los Angeles to pursue a career in music, Jones says “It would be heart-breaking to leave Michigan," and adds there's an "overwhelming love and nostalgia for just being here."

Check out Frontier Ruckus performing songs from their new album. Matthew Milia, lead singer-guitarist; David Jones, banjo and vocals; Zach Nichols, trumpet, singing-saw, other instruments; and Ryan Etzcorn on percussion.

J Dilla at a drum set
Thomas Angermann / Creative Commons

A portion of the record collection belonging to Detroit artist J Dilla (James Yancey) is now for sale.

Since his death in 2006, the seminal hip-hop producer’s record collection had lain dormant in a storage unit maintained by his mother.

Now Dilla’s mother, Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey, is selling records from the collection through weekly Ebay auctions.

Troy Evans preaches at Edge Urban Fellowship in a rundown Grand Rapids, Mich., neighborhood known for prostitution. Inside what looks like an abandoned office building are walls covered by graffiti. There are tattooed people wearing baseball caps and jeans. Three 20-year-old men holding mics get ready to bust out some elaborate dance moves.

It may seem like a hip-hop show, but it's actually church.

Userl @Doug88888 / flickr

This week on Seeking Change, Christina Shockley talks with Kenny Hemler of Ben's Encore. It's an organization that aims to give kids in the Detroit area the tools they need to continue the Motor City's rich musical heritage.

It was created after the death of Ben Borowiak. Hemler talks about how the organization has impacted the Detroit area and about the life of Borowiak.

Jazz great Dave Brubeck dies at age 91

Dec 5, 2012
Heinrich Klaffs / flickr

In 1954, jazz went to college.

That's thanks to music legend Dave Brubeck.

He was looking for a way to bring jazz to a wider audience, and decided on a North American tour of colleges and universities.

One of those schools was the University of Michigan.

The tour resulted in the album Jazz Goes to College, with five of its seven tracks recorded in Ann Arbor. Here's one of the tracks recorded on the campus of the University of Michgian, The Song is You:

Stateside: Dana Falconberry's "Leelanau" soundscapes

Nov 26, 2012
Alicia Vega

Listening to Dana Falconberry's lush music, it becomes clear the artist draws inspiration from Michigan's western coast.

We spoke today with Falconberry about her latest record, "Leelanau," and the role that Michigan's landscapes play in her music.

"It's so beautiful up there, it's easy to be inspired by the land," said Falconberry.

With track titles like "Pictured Rocks" and "Sault Ste Marie," Falconberry's latest is in many ways a musical homage to a state beaming with beauty.

Listen to Falconberry's interview and music in our podcast.

There are two ways you can podcast "Stateside with Cynthia Canty"

The Marvelettes have been nominated for a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
billboard.com

Motown favorites, the Marvelettes, have been nominated for a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Starting out as a group of high school students in Inkster, the Marvelettes went on to give Motown its first number one single—the 1961 hit, “Please Mr. Postman.”

From the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

Fans of the band Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos and identified by their grease facepaint, have been accused by the F.B.I. of gang activity.
Jen Sadler / flickr

Oakland County hip-hop group Insane Clown Posse is taking the Federal Bureau of Investigation to court.

A lawsuit filed in Flint federal district court on Tuesday contends the F.B.I. violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to turn over information that led the agency to classify fans of the group as a gang.

Becky Trombley Domegan / Facebook

"Basically, it's just free and fun."

That's the motto of Pianos 'Round Town, an event beginning today through Oct. 9th in Ypsilanti.  Pianos are set outside in the open for the public to enjoy. Anyone at anytime can sit down and play.

Korin Hancherlian-Amos, the founder of Pianos 'Round Town, got the idea from British artist Luke Jerram. Jerram began the project, Play Me I'm Yours, in 2008 in London, which has since grown to cities all around the world. 

In 2010, Hancherlian-Amos called her long-time friend, Tim Hoy, owner of Steinway Piano Gallery in Detroit. Hoy agreed to lend the pianos for the event, making Pianos 'Round Town possible. 

An organization in Ann Arbor is providing independent musicians with tools and experience to help develop their careers as musicians.  The event is called “Fresh Water Musicon” and it happens Saturday, September 22.

Esther Gordy Edwards started the Motown Museum in 1985. After a recent visit, Sir Paul McCartney "adopted" one of Hitsville's historic pianos and had it restored by Steinway.
user dig downtown detroit / Flickr

It's called "Hitsville USA": the little house on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit that Berry Gordy, Jr. bought as a home for the fledgling record company that grew up to become the legendary Motown.

These days, Hitsville is a museum dedicated to sharing the Motown experience with fans that come from around the world.

One such fan was in Detroit on a Sunday in July 2011. And before he performed for 37, 854 fans at Comerica Park, Sir Paul McCartney had one request: to visit Hitsville.

KN

When people find out I work in radio, there are usually a few classic questions they ask.

"How'd you get into it?" (I got my foot in the door as an intern.) "Are you related to Michelle Norris?" (Nope.) "Where do your story ideas come from?" (From different news outlets, TV Shows, books, people, press releases, conversations, and a lot of times from my own curiosity.)

But another place our stories come from is you. We read and listen to the letters and calls you send us, and occasionally, we bite.

Logan Chadde / Michigan Radio

The Book of Jonah is the new album from Nadir Omowale.  It’s a blend of soul music, rock, funk and blues. While there are songs about love and relationships, themes of social and political consciousness carry through the album.

“I never felt like I had to fashion myself into one particular style. I grew up on Prince and The Time and Cameo and all that good stuff, and so funk is all deep within my soul. And I grew up in a small town in east Tennessee, so there were country music influences, there was a lot of Van Halen and rock and roll and so I love all of that music," Nadir told Michigan Radio's Jennifer White.

Religious themes are also found in his work. Nadir says growing up within a Baptist family in Tennessee has influenced him greatly.  Although his new album is not as political as his last, Distorted Soul 2.0, he says his interest in politics and culture continues.

"And it's really inspired by a lot of the struggles that we've dealt with here in Michigan, and in Detroit especially, and what I've seen over the last couple of years is so much positive energy building as we're moving forward," said Nadir.

Listen to the full interview above to hear more about Nadir's newest album The Book of Jonah, including the song he wrote with guitarist and singer Mayaeni, titled 95 Miles Down the Road.

And click on the video below to see Nadir performing in our studio:

KN

The Ann Arbor District is thinking outside of the box with a new collection called "Music Tools."

The small collection features quirky instruments and sound processors. It includes items with futuristic names that make sounds like hovering spaceships and funky clicks and clacks.

DSC/Facebook

Many genres of music have deep roots in the city of Detroit, including punk, rock-and-roll, blues, techno and soul music. A new organization wants to help connect people and groups that have been archiving Detroit’s musical history.  

Carleton Gholz is the president and founder of the Detroit Sound Conservancy. He’s been researching a book about the rise of DJ and hip-hop culture in Detroit. During that time, he’s come across small archiving groups, music journalists, and older musicians. Now Gholz wants to unite them.

Several weeks ago, The World did a story about dance clubs popping-up in Europe for one hour, during lunchtime. (Basically people can swing by an alcohol-free, make-shift dance club at noon. Organizers even provide free lunches!)

While we don’t quite have anything like this in Michigan, we do have events where people can enjoy free music and get their dance on—if they want to.

Movement: Detroit Electronic Music Festival / Facebook

Some people went north, or headed to the pools for the Memorial Weekend, others danced the weekend away at the Movement: Detroit Electronic Music Festival at Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit.

NPR's All Songs Considered put up a recap of the Festival:

Now in its thirteenth year, Movement: Detroit's Electronic Music Festival has featured an enormously diverse group of electronic producers and DJs from around the world. Detroit is the birthplace of Techno and after all these years of being more popular nearly everywhere but Detroit, there was a feeling at this year's festival that it's all coming back home.

Here's host Bob Boilen talking with NPR's Sami Yenigun and U Street Music Hall promotions director Morgan Tepper about their experiences at the festival:

And here's a sampling of music heard at the festival (included is a song title using a phrase I often heard in grade school - *chuckle*).

Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

It's graduation season across the country, and students are deciding what they want to do with their lives.

Seventy-one-year-old Ernie Caviani is a piano tuner and technician. He says following your passion is key.

Michigan Radio producer Mercedes Mejia has this audio postcard.

Ernie Caviani: This A is vibrating at 220 beats per second. This A is supposed to vibrate, if it matches it at 440, it’s just twice as much.

In my lifetime I’ve tuned a little over 30,000 pianos.

user ladydragonflycc / Flickr

What do experimental composer John Cage and Ann Arbor have in common, you ask? Morels. Story goes that John Cage was something of an amateur mushroom hunter, and he used to hunt for morels in the woods around Ann Arbor.

And since Spring means morel hunting season in Michigan, and many mushroom-enthusiasts are out foraging for the delicacy, a group in Ann Arbor is putting a musical twist on the annual spring hunt.

To celebrate what would be Cage’s 100th birthday this year, U of M music professor Michael Gurevich teamed up with U of M mycology professor Tim James for a new kind of morel hunt.

"I thought, as an homage to Cage, let’s create this performance where we tell stories, which Cage really liked to do, while hunting for edible mushrooms in the woods," explains Gurevich.

If you like gospel music you might want to check out the 20th Annual Gospelfest in Ann Arbor.

The idea behind the event is to celebrate the diversity of music among different communities and faiths in southeast Michigan. Participants seek to bridge cultural, racial, and religious gaps between different churches, and develop friendships.

Jean Wilson is the co-founder of Gospelfest, and choir director at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Saline. She sat down with Michigan Radio’s Jennifer White to talk about the event’s 20-year history.

Wilson says the event offers a variety of music, from traditional black gospel to contemporary Christian, pop-rock, and more. And she says the event is about diversity and unity.

“Although we are so diverse in our different ways of worship, we are all headed in the same direction; we are all children of the same creator. Although we have so many differences, we do have that thing at the core of our very being that really says that we are all related and are one, and we get to celebrate it.”

On Saturday March 10, choirs from Ann Arbor and Detroit will come together for the 20th Annual Gospelfest at Bethlehem United Church of Christ in Ann Arbor.

The gospel choir of New Prospect Baptist Missionary Church in Detroit will also participate in this year's event. Here's a video of the choir during a Saturday morning practice.

*This story was informed by the Public Insight Network. Share your story here.

Photo courtesy of Seth Bernard and May Erlewine.

Listen to the interview.

Michigan natives Seth Bernard and May Erlewine have a new album inspired by their journey across Ethiopia.

Last year they were invited to join the project “Run Across Ethiopia," of the Michigan-based non-profit On the Ground. A group of eight eventually ran 240 miles across southern Ethiopia and raised over $200,000 to build schools in the coffee growing region of that country.

The album New Flower is based on that experience.

Michigan Radio's Jennifer White interviewed Seth & May. You can see them perform in Michigan Radio's Studio East.

Produced by Mercedes Mejia and Cade Sperlich. Our audio engineer is Bob Skon.

screen grab from YouTube

Don Cornelius, the smooth talking creator of the popular dance television show Soul Train, died today at the age of 75.

From the Los Angeles Times:

"Soul Train" creator Don Cornelius was found dead at his Sherman Oaks home Wednesday morning.

Law enforcement sources said police arrived at Cornelius' home around 4 a.m. He apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing.

The sources said there was no sign of foul play, but the Los Angeles Police Department was investigating.

Soul Train was a springboard for new Motown artists in the 1970s.

NPR's Michele Norris tweets, "Soul Train showed us what to listen to, what to wear, how to dance, how to VIBE, how to be unapologetically fabulous. RIP Don Cornelius."

Cornelius hosted the show from 1971-1993 and coined the show's famous introduction:

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is offering enhanced webcasts of its concerts this season.

A "Live from Orchestra Hall" webcast will be held tomorrow night January 28, beginning at 7:50 p.m. Participants have to register before watching.

More from the Associated Press:

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is introducing a new webcast player designed to make online concert viewers feel as if they're in Orchestra Hall.

More than 30,000 people from over 40 countries are expected to view Saturday's high-definition "Live from Orchestra Hall" webcast.

The DSO says it's the only U.S. orchestra to offer a free series of webcasts.

The Symphony says the webcast player "mimics the actual interior" of Orchestra Hall. Dimming controls allow the virtual viewer to adjust lighting.

Saturday's webcast will feature a performance of Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 4.

The piece will be highlighted on a live repertoire tracker, and live program notes will post below the viewing window with trivia about the piece and the artists.

Here's a promotional video from the DSO about it's webcasts:

Photo courtesy of Philip Glass

On today's Artpod, we head back to school.

When "Einstein on the Beach" opens in Ann Arbor this Friday, Jan. 20, it'll be the first time the opera has been performed in 20 years. But be warned: this isn’t your typical opera.

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