Archive for June, 2007

TortoiseTortoise is an amazing band that really defies description but all of their songs seem to take you on a journey through many layers of music. In addition to Robert Rich appearing on Thursday, this will be an amazing week of electronica and free-flowing ambient sound at the Cedar.


The Tortoise concert made the City Pages A-List for good reason: “The free-ranging, casually intricate music of the Chicago-based, virtually vocals-free quintet Tortoise has been aptly called the “friendlier end of the avant-garde.” That presumably means that despite arrangements dense with irregular layers of sounds from dozens of different directions and equally complex rhythms, they often exist in a languid context full of melodic hooks and grooves that stir the backbone. Often Tortoise seems to be concocting themes for imaginary movies, but on a far more intriguing scale than the standard soundtrack, creating vivid pastiches encompassing jazz, progressive and indie-rock ideas, ambient, dub, electronica, shards of spaghetti-western soundtracks, subversive touches of dissonance, serene vistas that remain unsettling. In fact, Tortoise’s music constantly evolves, shape-shifting its way toward horizons that can be breathtaking but are always elusive.With Make Believe. $18/$20 at the door. 8:00 p.m.” (A-List Pick, Rick Mason, City Pages 6/30/07)

Tortoise – Glass Museum

Tortoise performing live “Magnet Pulls Through”


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Atlas Dei Robert RichWith over two dozen albums, Robert Rich has helped define the genres of ambient music, dark-ambient, tribal and trance, yet his music remains hard to categorize.

Part of his unique sound comes from using home-made acoustic and electronic instruments, microtonal tunings, computer-based signal processing, chaotic systems and feedback networks. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to catch Robert live at the Cedar Cultural Center, with a gorgeous backdrop presentation of Daniel Colvin’s computer-generated movie Atlas Dei! It’s a live performance of the soundtrack and should be a very unique and surreal experience. The concert starts at 7:30 pm on Thursday, June 28th. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door.

Related Links
Robert Rich Web Page
Concert Review
Robert Rich MySpace Site
Daniel Colvin Web Page

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Warsaw Village BandAfter seeing Boom Pam at the Cedar Saturday, one of the volunteers turned me on to Balkan Beatbox. Apparently, the guitarist Uri Kinrot plays in both Balkan Beatbox and Boom Pam. Listening to the tunes on MySpace reminded me of a raw roots group from Poland, the Warsaw Village Band.

I found the band purely by coincidence listening to tunes at Barnes and Noble in the world music section. There sound is very different. The CD (Uprooting) and music are very rich and had me dancing little jigs by myself in the back of the store. I was really amazed.

The song “In the Forest (W boru kalinka) is an a great piece of music with traditional instruments, a bit of scratching, and very powerful female voices.

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Boom Pam!If Dick Dale, Reel Big Fish, and a klezmer band had a jam session in Tel Aviv, it would produce a similar sound and energy to Boom Pam, the group that rocked the Cedar on Saturday. Bom Pam from Tel Aviv gets its rocking sound from two guitars, a tuba, and drums.

The group blends rock with other international influences, including Balkan, Greek, Kleizmer, Arab, Mediterranean and others. They formed in 2003 as a trio of 2 electric guitars and a tuba by Uzi Feinerman, Uri Brauner Kinrot and Yuval “Tuby” Zolotov. Shortly afterwards, the band started playing massively throughout Israel. Along the way, a drum set was added to the band, played by Dudu Kochav.

At the Cedar, they kept the crowd moving through several more traditional klezmer songs (on steroids) as well as a revamped version of Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean. YouTube has several clips from the band ranging from very energetic pieces to quieter clips. Here are two:

Live Performance at Barbi in Tel-Aviv. The song starts 20 seconds into the clip.

Video of Boom Pam playing Hatul VeHatula. Nice song with a subtle disco beat.

Other Boom Pam Links
Band’s Official Webpage
Boom Pam MySpace Site – Great music clips here
Reel Big Fish – Shameless plug for great, cheesy music

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Cover of Gregory Orfalea’s book “The Arab-American: A History”Received this from Mizna. Mizna is an organization based in Northeast Minneapolis, encompassing and presenting the many facets of Arabic art, culture, language, and music.

Join Mizna for a special event this Sunday, June 24th. Nationally known Arab-American writer, Gregory Orfalea, will be reading from (and signing) his latest book, The Arab Americans – A History. You can purchase it on site.

Explore this Arab American coffee house in St. Paul, and join us on the lovely patio for an event not to be missed!

Event is free and open to the public.

Sunday, June 24 at 6 pm
Cahoots Coffee House
1562 Selby Ave (by the corner of Selby and Snelling)
St Paul, MN

About: The Arab Americans: A History

Gregory Orfalea’s new and definitive work spans a century and a half of the life of Arab immigrants and their descendants in the United States. In The Arab Americans: A History, Orfalea has marshaled over 150 interviews and 25 years of research to tell the story that begins in 1856, when camel driver Hajdi Ali (or Hi Jolly) was hired by Jefferson Davis to cut a “camel trail” across the Southwest, and continues through the 2005 arrest of a former Virginia high school valedictorian accused of plotting with al-Qaeda.

Once seen as the “benevolent stranger,” as the author points out, today Arab Americans are “the malevolent stranger.” His book, however, is an assault on such ignorance, both celebration and warning.

The Arab Americans is the culmination of a life’s work, a landmark in the history of what it means to be an American. It is also the history of a community uniquely repressed in American scholarship, history,literature, and politics. The Arab Americans fills a sizable void, and it could not be more timely. With American troops sprawled across the Arab and Muslim world, Orfalea’s work is like light in a dark tunnel—facts, not stereotypes; people, not shadows; the vibrant world of a lost American experience come to life.

Orfalea brings to this work an historian’s love of meticulous and telling detail, a poet’s ear, and a novelist’s sense of story. The cumulative effect is symphonic and its arrival none too soon.

Greg Orfalea is director of the writing center at Pitzer College in California and co-editor of Grape Leaves: A Century of Arab-American Poetry.

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Shooting Stars ExhibitionMelissa Slachetka, a contributor for the blog, The Northeast Beat, presents a piece on an exhibition taking place this month at the Pierre Bottineau Library by the Sheridan Shooting Stars, a group of immigrant youth in the Sheridan neighborhood.

“With a camera, a little guidance and a lot of imagination, they’re giving a glimpse of the world they see; from flowers to funny faces, they take pictures of family, friends, community activities and their neighborhood.

The kids involved come from around the world, including Africa, Europe and South America. They meet at the library and use editing software to work on their digital photography with help from mentors.”

Read More.

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The PinesI covered this in the past, but the Pines, a tremendous roots group from the Twin Cities, will be playing tonight at the Cedar with Ray Bonneville. I heard Bonneville this morning on the Current. He has one of those deep somewhat-gravelly voices that burns stays with you long after the song.

For the Pines, it’ll be the celebration of their first release with Red House Records. Sparrows in the Bell will hit stores on June 12th. For $15, it’ll be a heck of a show.

Other links

Pines’ Webpage
Pines MySpace Page
Ray Bonneville’s Website

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