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Lojo Russo at the Ritual CafeLojo Russo, who I first became aware of on my travels to Des Moines, is an exceptional voice offering the power of Ani and the grace of the Indigo Girls.

Originally from the Twin Cities, she’s playing Tuesday, August 28th, at the Minnehaha Falls Park Pavillion at 7:00 pm. The concert is free and the food at Sea Salt Eatery is great. Try the fish tacos.

Minnehaha Falls
Aug. 28 – 7:00 pm – Free
4801 Minnehaha Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55417
Phone: 612 230-6400

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On July 18th at the Cedar Cultural Center five bands performed all influenced by or hailing from Africa. Richard Ooga, a professional photographer with ePix Mobile Studios located in Lakeville and contributor to Mshale, was kind enough to provide me with images he took of the concerts.

Wegegta
Wegegta - The Entire BandMany of Wegegta’s band members come from Ethiopia but now reside in the Twin Cities. Wegegta means a sprinkle or a ray of light, according to bass guitarist, Jonathan Bekure. The bands sound fuses jazz, Afropop, and a fat sound from keyboardist, Samuel Francis, that at times are more reminiscent of East African pop.

Jonathan Bekure - Bassist for Wegegta  Kody Ellington - Drummer for Wegegta  Mehanie Woldemichael - Guitarist Wegegta  Samuel Francis - Keyboards for Wegegta  Robert Bell - Guitarist for Wegegta  Wegegta - The Entire Band

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.

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.

It’s not often when I’m surfing iTunes or looking through CD’s that I wonder, gosh, what would Antibalas listen to? But then I stumbled onto a post from Spinner that answered just that question. They asked Martin Perna, barry sax player for Antibalas, to run down his five favorite albums that fall under the vague label of World Beat:

1. ‘Os Afro Sambas,’ Baden Powell: Baden Powell is one of my favorite Brazilian guitarists. This project was from the ’60s, I think … really lushly orchestrated music of the Afro-Brazilian orixas.

2. ‘Cymande,’ Cymande: One of my all-time favorite bands — Caribbean expats in London in the late ’60s making West Indian hippie music. Find dozens of famous hip-hop samples on this album.

3. ‘Best of …,’ Victor Jara: Jara is the Bob Dylan of Chile, except that he was kidnapped by the army, tortured, dismembered and killed in front of thousands of other political prisoners during the CIA-funded Dirty War.

4. ‘Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense,’ Fela and Egypt 80: One of my favorite Fela tunes — full of subtlety and sophistication. At this point, he had stopped calling his music “Afrobeat” and referred to it as “African Classical Music.” This album will show you why.

5. ‘Concepts in Unity,’ Grupo Folklorico y Experimental Nuevayorquino: An incredible summit of legendary Afro- and Afro-Caribbean musicians throwing down on the ultimate diasporic fusion record that doesn’t sound like fusion at all. ‘Chocolate’s Guajira’ is one of my all-time favorites.


Antibalas live in Harrisonburg, Virginia in 2004.

Maria Isa performance at the Cedar for AfriFestThe bomba beat began and I was on my feet moving to the groove along with most of the crowd at the Cedar. Maria Isa combines hip-hop sounds with a full salsa band, politically-charged Spanglish lyrics that flow as seamlessly from English to Spanish as they do from rap to singing, and a body that won’t quite as she moves to beats of the band.

The band was amazing and tight, the bomba beat blended with drums, bomba drums, trumpet, synthesizer, back-up vocalist, and guitar. With ease the band switched music styles from the hip-hop performance of “Die, Not Kill” and an instrumental piece featuring the bomba drum that had everyone on the floor to an ironic lyrical playoff of everyone from the North Star state being so…MN Nice.

Powerful behind the mic and empowering in her lyrics, Maria Isa’s music best embodied the idea of AfriFest, as a coming together of all cultures, and with her band owned the Cedar audience on Saturday.

City Pages reporter Peter Scholtes checks out rising reggaeton star Maria Isa at Babalu, Nov. 16, 2006. With appearances by Desdamona and the b-girls of B-Girl Be.

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.

Quilombolas performing during the Afrifest GalaThe message from bassist and lead vocalist of Eric S.B. of Quilombolas perfectly describes the AfriFest Gala concert experience with bands hailing from Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Puerto Rico – the rhythms and beat of the drum all called out to the original homeland of Mama Africa in an experience that had the audience grooving for five hours and wanting more.

Wegegta
Mehanie Woldemichael, guitarist for Wegegta With some of the band’s members hailing from Ethiopia, Wegegta means a sprinkle or a ray of light, according to bass guitarist, Jonathan Bekare. The bands sound fuses jazz, Afropop, and a fat sound from keyboardist, Samuel Francis, that at times are more reminiscent of East African pop. Opening with a traditional song from south Ethiopia and then grooving into a cover of Ransome, a hard-driving tune from the Groove Collective dedicated to Fela Kuti.

Wegegta’s guitarists Mehanie Woldemicheal and Robert Hall carried the band going back and forth through the set with great solos and finger-work. The band was amazingly tight as the music changed time though out songs. The intermix of the jazz beat and Ethiopian sound and rhythms worked well to warm the crowd up for a great evening of music. The half-hour time they played was too short, and Wegegta could easily have easily held their own for an entire show.

Matt Levitt of QuilombolasQuilombolas
Before the AfriFest gala, Quilombolas guitarist and vocalist Matt Levitt greeted concert goers with an acoustic set. His ability to change up styles from the acoustic set to samba during the first number epitomized the band’s travel around the world of musical genres from rap and rock to samba and reggae. The act blended the styles of Rage Against the Machine with Ozomatli and guitar solos that were pure rock through their entire set.

Quilombolas Eric S.B. (bass) and Papi U (drums) perform at the CedarWith as seamlessly as the band blends different music styles, the vocals blended just as well with the sometimes higher falsetto voice of drummer Papi U complimenting the hip-hop vocals of Eric S.B. and Levitt8. In addition to the threesome, the band was joined by two guest percussionists which added a great Latin beat to the mix.