Archive for the ‘Minneapolis’ Category

Mural at Marrakech Cafe

Mural next to the patio at Marrakech

To say that Minneapolis have been sun-starved this week, much less the entire winter would be an understatement. So after work with the weather still warm, it was the perfect evening to search for new food adventure.

Central Avenue in Northeast Minneapolis has really come alive with several new ethnic restaurants over the past few months. The one that caught my attention looking to bask in the rays of the setting sun was the Marrakech Moroccan Café and Grill.

It’s a little café nestled back off of Central Avenue south of 19th Avenue Northeast.  According to their owner Redouane, they have been open for seven months, and with an outdoor patio he’s hoping more people will visit. At the time of their opening, Marrakech was the only restaurant in town serving solely Moroccan food. Having spent a year in Holland and eating more than my fair share of family-prepared couscous and tagine dishes, I was really looking forward to dinner on the patio.

Looking on their menu, it took me literally two seconds to decide my dinner – harira soup, lemon chicken tagine, and of course mint tea. Redouane quickly served up the mint tea and harira soup, and with the sun setting it was perfect. Harira is a very aromatic tomato and lentil soup with a slightly building heat from pepper and many other herbs. It had a great texture from the lentils that reminded me of mulligatawny. The mint tea was the perfect contrast, and really unlike any mint tea I have ever tried.

Lemon Chicken Tagine at the Marrakech Cafe

About the time I was finishing the soup, they brought out the lemon chicken tagine. It was like a family roast with two large pieces of chicken surrounded by potatoes and topped with green olives. The smell of the dish with turmeric, cumin, and paprika really transported me back to all of the dinners I had shared with Moroccan families overseas. The chicken was extraordinarily tender as I pulled the meat from the bone with my fork. It was really a perfect meal for a cool, sunny spring evening.


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Over a quarter century ago New York gave the world Hip Hop. During that time the music, expression, and beats have evolved impacting and planting lyrical seeds in kids from every nation. Look out, especially to Africa, and you’ll see a hip hop movement fully grown.

K’Naan is one of those artists from the Hip Hop generation. Growing up on the dusty streets of Mogadishu, Somalia, even from an early age he was listening and dropping verses from Nas and Rakim. His is an authentic voice forged by civil war and refugee experiences and strongly influenced by Somali culture and family history.

K’Naan’s music excites me because it offers a different vision beyond himself; it’s socially aware and uniting people under tight beats while raising awareness for those without voices. Very few artists can do this, but K’Naan speaks to me like Jurassic 5, Guru, or even Rage.

He takes Hip Hop and presses the bounds mixing English and Somali; he’s a poet in any language. Catch K’Naan on closing night of the Pan African Festival at the First Ave Main Room.

Monday, August 11
First Avenue Main Room
7 PM (Doors open)
18+ show
$16 advance; $20 at the door
Ticket Info: 612-338-8388 or Ticketmaster

K’Naan – Soobax

K’Naan – Hardcore

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As I said yesterday, one of my friends, Will McClain, posted his thoughts on the Prince Family Reunion at How Wast The Show, and I think it speaks very well about the night.

“The stars had aligned: the eve of Prince’s 50th birthday, a modest Minneapolis stage, a roster thick with old friends and family, a Prince pseudonym (Jamie Starr) on the bill—how could it not add up to an appearance by the diminutive star?”

“With tickets under $20, the bill was an impressive who’s who of Prince hired guns, a vivified wax museum of Twin Cities music history. From pioneer Revolution guitarist Dez Dickerson to sax man Eric Leeds and quirky keyboardist Dr. Matt Fink, the stage heaved with the souls who’d rocked us from beneath his purple shadow. From note one, the Prince alum seemed to be having the time of their lives.”

…and the thoughts that I think summed up the experience perfectly:

“The purple veterans looked 20 years younger as they ended a brief encore with the bubbly “She’s Always in My Hair,” and bounced off stage to passionate applause. Still, the night had come and gone without an appearance by Minneapolis’ prodigal son.

And it was just as well.

Indeed, a Prince cameo would have seemed out of place, almost unfair, on a night when the musicians who had once helped shape a scene had their well-deserved moment in the spotlight.”

This night was enough to drive me to check out the other places where Prince’s people play from Bunkers (Dr. Mambo’s Combo) to the Artists’ Quarters (Tuesday Night Band  with “Downtown” Bill Brown (Hammond B-3), Billy Franze (guitar).

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Eric S.B. - Bassist of Quilombolas“We like to mix it with different languages and different cultures, but everything is based in Mama Africa. Everything in America comes from Mama Africa.”

The message from bassist and lead vocalist of Eric S.B. of Quilombolas perfectly captured the mix the band achieved at the AfriFest Gala at the Cedar Culture Center along with four other bands. Below are photos from Quilombolas that Richard Ooga, a professional photographer with ePix Mobile Studios located in Lakeville and contributor to Mshale, was kind enough to provide me.

Papi U. - Drummer of Quilombolas Matt Levit (Levitt8) - Guitarist of Quilombolas Eric S.B. - Bassist of Quilombolas Percussionist for Quilombolas Percussionist for Quilombolas Quilombolas and Grooving Fans

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Tony and Rachel - KFAIJoin DJ Nite Nurse and Tony Paul each and every Monday at the Nomad World Pub from 5-7 pm as they mix up a version of their KFAI show on the patio. If their sultry Afro-Beat, Reggae, Latin, Boogaloo, Soul, Arabesque, and Bhangra beats are not alluring enough, the Nomad offers 2 for 1 (8 for 4, whatever your pleasure) on everything in the bar including dozens of rare international brews. Also, the pub’s spankin’ clean grills will be lit so you can bring whatever you would like to grill, free of charge. And the Bocce Courts are now open!

The Nomad is located at 501 Cedar Ave. South on the West Bank in Minneapolis.

Shake & Bake can be heard on KFAI 90.3 FM in Minneapolis every Monday, 1-3 pm, and 24/7 online at the KFAI website.

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Girls Rock!As a part of the Sound Unseen Music and Film Festival, there will be a showing of Girls Rock at the Ritz Theater followed by a discussion featuring several of the Twin Cities finest female rock artists, producers, and radio personalities, including the legendary Babes in Toyland drummer Lori Barbero, and band manager for Revolver Modele, Karrie Vrabel.

GIRLS ROCK! @ 3:00 pm at the Ritz
(Arne Johnson, Shane King, USA, 2007, 91 min.) At Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp, girls ranging in age from eight to 18 are taught that it’s OK to sweat like a pig, scream like a banshee, wail on their instruments with complete and utter abandon, and that “it is 100% okay to be exactly who you are.” The girls have a week to select a band, an instrument they may have never played before, and write a song. In between, they are taught by indie rock chicks such as Carrie Brownstein from Sleater-Kinney various lessons of empowerment from self-defense to anger management. At the end of the week, all the bands perform a concert for over 700 people.

The film follows several campers: Laura, a Korean adoptee obsessed by death metal; Misty, who is emerging from a life of meth addiction, homelessness and gang activity; and Amelia, an eight-year-old who writes experimental rock songs about her dog Pipi. What happens to the girls as they are given a temporary reprieve from being sexualized, analyzed and pressured to conform is truly moving and revolutionary.

Girls Rock Panel – Following the screening @ Ritz Theater @ 4:30pm
After the screening of the Girls Rock! Documentary, join a group of Twin Cities women who rock for a discussion of their work in local music featuring Kate Galloway, former owner of Vamp Booking, Melisa Rivière, manager of reggaeton sensation Maria Isa and owner of Emetrece Productions, Jenny Case, producer of the recent Twin Cities’ Girls Rock Camp and a member of the national Rock Camp Alliance, Rachel Lee Joyce, music publicist and DJ, and legendary Babes in Toyland drummer Lori Barbero, and band manager for Revolver Modele, Karrie Vrabel.

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We are currently signing up volunteers for the following areas. There are no small jobs; everyone counts towards the success of the event. Volunteers’ shifts run on Sunday, August 19, from 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. with six two-hour shifts.

Food and drinks for the volunteers on the day of the festival

*Stage crew
*Info booth
*Greet and Assist attendees/ pick up trash
*Clean up
*Photography, still and video
*Attendee questionnaire management and analysis
*Pop and Water Concessions

Neo Rowan: Volunteers Coordinator
Tel: 612-670-5823 / Volunteers@afrifest.org

Non-profit organizations can also sponsor Afrifest by providing volunteers to work the event and assist with festival activities. Please check out volunteer page on the website for all the info and volunteer sign-up form.

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