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Archive for July, 2007

Ritual CafeThe Ritual Cafe is a wonderfully eclectic cafe in Des Moines, that offers the warmth of wood and Tibetan prayer flags with modern furniture, a purely vegetarian menu, and great coffee in a very open and friendly GLBT environment. Every time I go there, I am always struck by something, whether it be the food, the peace of the environment looking eastward on to the skyline of downtown Des Moines, or this time it was the music.

As we entered the cafe, a voice with the energy and rocking empowerment of Ani and the graceful folksiness of the Indigo Girls came from the stage. “Once upon time I could fly. All I ever had to do was close my eyes, and I was a pirate captain on a distant sea. A Tarzan swinging from on a vine through the jungle trees. Because I didn’t know that I could be strong and still be a girl.

Lojo Russo at the Ritual CafeLojo Russo’s songs from Grandma to Girrrl ran the gamut of emotions from rocking love songs to bluesy sadness. During the set she also performed a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” as well as a great slowed-down acoustic version of Peter Gabriel’s “Solsbury Hill.”

During her performance I picked up her earlier CD, Stoic Abandon, which you can hear clips from on her website. During the concert, she mentioned that her music and life have evolved into a lighter place of celebration with a new love, which are reflected in the songs that she has written for her upcoming CD. I’m definitely looking forward to the upcoming release, given the breadth of emotion and haunting lyrics  from Stoic Abandon.

For those in the Twin Cities, Russo will be performing on August 28th at the bandstand at Minnehaha Park (scroll up the page to find the concert calendar) from 7:00 pm – 8:40 pm. The Park is located at: 4801 Minnehaha Ave Minneapolis, MN 55417.

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A few days ago I mentioned the Tortoise concert on June 30th at the Cedar Cultural Center. You can also find some nice YouTube clips and Tortoise links at the bottom of the posting. A friend, William McClain, was at the concert and posted a review to Culture Bully with some nice photos from the night.

Tortoise Play the Cedar

“If the members of Tortoise retained anything from their kindergarten days, it is that it’s always polite to share. The band demonstrated as much in their latest tour stop at the Cedar.”

“Set against a trippy, lo-fi backdrop, Tortoise delivered it’s brand of squidgy dub loops, dual bass grooves and assorted sonic drippings to a hipster crowd content to simply bob their heads to the beat. The minimalist setting fit well with this low-key band, which doesn’t feel the need to bother with vocals.”

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I have covered K’naan, a rapper originally from Somali now residing in Toronto, on numerous occasions. On YouTube, I found a piece with K’naan featuring Mos Def performing My God at B.B. King’s Blues Club in New York City.

For the most latest info on Mos Def definitely check out his MySpace site.

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Nomo Playing LiveNomo, a band from Ann Arbor, played earlier this week in Minneapolis at the Triple Rock Social Club. The band combines a unique blend of jazz, funk, and African rhythms. The band also stopped by the Current to play a couple of songs. It’s a great session, especially their second song, Nutones, which features an electric thumb piano or likembé. Many of the instruments are hand-made by the band.

You can also listen the Nomo on their MySpace site; it features a very funky Africa-influenced sound with a solid horn section.

On YouTube, you can catch the band performance of “Discontinued” at the 555 Gallery in Detroit from May 5, 2005.

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