It's time for Singalong Storytime! Join us in the Van Deusen Room at the Central Library at 6:30 pm this Thursday, October 20th, for a very special Singalong Storytime with special guest Rachel Flanigan, the clarinetist from the Red Sea Pedestrians! Rachel will show us the clarinet and play along with some special songs! Of course, we'll have some great read alouds, some puppet fun, and songs to sing along with or listen to.
Graham Parsons & the Go-Rounds (Andy Catlin, Grant Littler, Tod Kloosterman, Adam Danis) brought their own special breed of magic to the Van Deusen Room Wednesday night, for the 52nd installment of KPL’s concert series. Together since November 2009, the homegrown five-piece combines Parsons’ powerful voice and introspective lyrics with a layered yet balanced instrumental mix… some serious roots rock with the looseness of a jam band with just enough ambient texture and sonic psychedelia to keep things interesting. Here’s proof…
Need more? Next Wednesday, August 24th, Graham Parsons hosts a singer/songwriter showcase with Michael Beauchamp at The Strutt during the Boogie Records Revival. Graham and the Go-Rounds are back at The Strutt on September 22nd. Check The Strutt website for details.
Go Rounds “To Go”
And speaking of The Strutt… if seeing the band play live isn’t enough, you’ll find recordings by Graham Parsons (with and without the Go-Rounds) and lots of other great local artists on the venue’s own record label—not surprising since Go-Round Andy Catlin manages the Strutt Records studio in the basement of the café. You’ll find Graham’s peaceful “Migration” on The Strutt’s “350” compilation, plus a full length release on Strutt Records entitled “Farmhand.” Graham and the Go Rounds’ have released a “Triple A-Side” single and a self-titled live album.
Concerts @ KPL
As for KPL’s concert series, the fun continues in August when The Verve Pipe puts on a special family friendly concert in Bronson Park in support of their aptly titled new Family Album. Then back to Central Library for Joe Wang and the Test Pilots in September, Gifts or Creatures in October, and Midnight Cattle Callers in November. Stay tuned.
Graham Parsons & the Go-Rounds
Kalamazoo Public Library was pleased to present Joe Reilly in a very special picnic concert at the Oshtemo Township Park. Joe makes environmental education fun with original songs and raps that kids and adults can't help moving to. What a great show!
Joe performed lots of songs from his new CD Let's Go Outside! including one, "Dreams of Flying", inspired by the Caldecott Honor book Hawk You're My Brother by Byrd Baylor.
Catch Joe Reilly the next time he's in town. You'll be glad you did!
Let's Go Outside!
The Alma Powell Branch had the awesome privilege of seeing a Krump performance by the Kzoo Street KonQuerors. On Tuesday June 14 Chestin Grays and Darion Powell with the help of their krumping crew demonstrated what krumping is. As Chestin “Gully KonQueror”, Darion “Gully Shinobi”, Tashyah “Miss Gully Madness” and Jason “Gully Tactic” were all doing their routines it made me think of an urban tap dance. The krimping, stomping and agile foot work had me comparing names and clothing and thinking that styles might have changed but the basics remain the same.
Krumping is a highly popular inner city activity and, as you can see in this video, it does take talent.
The KonQuerors allowed the audience to participate in a dance routine. The kids loved it! They got up and moved. This was a great Family Program and we’re hoping to have them back again!
Krumping @ Alma Powell
Bryan Michael Fischer and his crew (Bryan Michael Fischer, vocals; Bill LaValley, bass; Bryan V. Blowers, guitar; Eric Busch, drums; Tom Eldred, Hammond B3 and Fender Rhodes) brought a full load of blues, rock and soul to the Van Deusen Room on June 15th for the 49th installment of the library’s ongoing series of free live concerts. Though far from your typical blues venue, the library provided an intimate setting. The band favored the crowd of 75 or so with a spirited ninety minute set, which included several classic covers and a few originals.
Opening the show from the back of the room, Fischer belted out an a cappella adaptation of Mance Lipscomb’s “Captain, Captain,” which then led nicely into a Fischerized version of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Goin’ Down Slow.” Other standouts included covers of Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues” (made famous by the Allman Brothers), Taj Mahal’s “Leaving Trunk,” and Ray Charles’ “Drown in My Own Tears.” As a friend of mine in the audience said just before the show, “this place should be SRO... these guys are amazing!” I couldn’t agree more.
Last February, The BMF Band participated in the 2011 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, and is currently working on a new recording, while looking at a full summer of touring throughout all corners of West Michigan. Check the band’s website for full details, and be sure to catch them if you can – you won’t be disappointed.
On July 20, KPL’s 50th free concert will feature the return of Steppin’ In It—the very same band that began the series for us back in 2008. And the fun certainly does not stop there… August includes performances by Joe Reilly, Graham Parsons & The Go Rounds, and a special summer-topping concert by The Verve Pipe! Check the KPL Concerts page for full details. Happy summer!
The BMF Band
Accolades from the music press are always nice, but when Corky Siegel calls someone his favorite harmonica player, people tend to pay attention. Once a student of Big Walter Horton, Peter Madcat Ruth has been blowin’ harp around these parts for more than four decades and has performed with some of the best.
In 1990, Madcat joined guitarist and singer Shari Kane, “the most dangerous fingerstyle blues guitarist north of the Yazoo,” to form Madcat & Kane. Since then, the Ann Arbor-based couple has toured extensively, playing at some of the most prestigious blues venues in the country. Then add two of Michigan’s most versatile musicians to the mix, Mark Schrock and Mike Shimmin, and you have Madcat, Kane & Maxwell Street, an acoustic quartet of considerable power and finesse.
To be able to witness talent like this in our own fair city is a treat in and of itself, but to see them at the library—free of charge nonetheless—made last Friday an Art Hop to remember. The fast-paced set opened with a Charley Patton standard from the 1930s, “Moon Goin’ Down,” and rolled on through more than ninety minutes of Delta blues standards, trains songs and “Mississippi party music” by the likes of Furry Lewis, Walter Davis, Blind Boy Fuller, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, and others. “We like to dig deep, deep down,” Ruth noted, “and find some of those old acoustic blues things that kinda’ got lost and no one’s doing them anymore… keep ‘em goin’.”
You can find lots of what they played at KPL on the quartet’s latest CD, Madcat, Kane & Maxwell Street Live at the Creole Gallery, and you can download a podcast of the Art Hop show in the KPL Concert Archives.
“This is a gorgeous library,” Shari adds. “I love Ann Arbor, but it was such a treat to come here… it’s such a jewel of a city that you have here.” Thanks, Shari, we think so, too—please come back and see us any time!
Madcat, Kane & Maxwell Street
An Dro likes to call itself Celtic-based, globally infused world-beat music—a fairly accurate description, it seems. And its members, none of whom are strangers to Kalamazoo audiences, come from an equally diverse mixture of backgrounds and musical experiences. Michele Venegas, once a member of Fonn Mór, is an accomplished fiddler who can certainly stand with the best. Fred Wilson, once a member of the Irish music group Amadaun, brings influences from his years of teaching at home and abroad to his articulate guitar and mandolin work. Jim Spalink, also a member of Amadaun who later went on to form Puck Faire, adds texture to the An Dro sound with a blend of Celtic harp, hurdy-gurdy, bouzouki, lute and recorder. Percussionist extraordinaire Carolyn Koebel, also a member of Fonn Mór, is well known and loved around these parts for her work with Blue Dahlia, Dunuya Drum and Dance, and a host of others.
For those of us who relish the instrumental side of Celtic-world fusion, this show was indeed a real treat. The four members seamlessly wove traditional Irish reels, an dro dance tunes (an dro is a traditional form of folk dance from Brittany), floating European and Middle Eastern influenced melodies and inspired originals into a dozen pieces to fill a gorgeous 90 minute set. The crowd of more than a hundred rewarded the group with a well-deserved standing ovation at the end. If you missed the show (shame on you) or you would like to relive part or all, you’ll find audio, video, and photo souvenirs on our Concert Archives page.
Over the summer, you’ll find An Dro performing at the Buttermilk Jamboree near Yankee Springs on June 12, and elsewhere throughout West Michigan. Check the band’s calendar for details.
Coming up at KPL, don’t miss a special Art Hop Concert on June 3 with special guests Madcat, Kane & Maxwell Street, and on June 15, be sure to catch the amazing Brian Michael Fischer and the BMF band. And Summer @ kpl is just getting started…
A warm spring breeze, a little much-needed sunshine, and some outstanding roots music all combined to make for an unforgettable Saturday afternoon at the Oshtemo Branch Library. Earth Day was Friday, April 22, but somehow KPL managed to stretch the celebration into a two day affair with a truly unique set of performances by a close-knit group of musicians from the Earthwork Music Collective.
While the younger members of the audience danced in the sunshine and adorned the parking lot with artistic sidewalk chalk creations, a crowd of more than 300 filled the tent and library garden area to enjoy an afternoon’s worth of music from some of the finest singers, songwriters and musicians Michigan has to offer. Yes, these folks are really that good.
Seth Bernard acted as MC for the afternoon and welcomed to the stage an amazing lineup of friends and family for a variety of captivating original tunes and timely “Earth-friendly” covers. Seth joined his longtime performing companion May Erlewine, the extended “Davis Family” (Rachael Davis with Joshua Davis and Dominic John Davis of Steppin’ In It and honorary Davis-for-a-day, Michael Shimmin “Davis”), Sam Corbin & Jen Sygit, Brandon and Bethany Foote (known collectively as Gifts or Creatures), Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp (known collectively as Red Tail Ring), and Josh Keller of Who Hit John? fame for some truly inspirational music in honor of the big blue ball. And there were several surprises along the way—from a glimpse of an upcoming Josh Davis solo project to an inspired sing-along of a timeless Woody Guthrie classic. KPL’s Kevin King kept the youngsters occupied with a reading of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss during intermission. You’ll find audio, video, photos and more from this event and others in KPL’s Concert Archives.
This was 46th show in KPL’s ongoing series of free live concerts, and (thankfully) there’s no end in sight. Upcoming shows include a May 18th appearance by An Dro, A special June 3rd Art Hop with Madcat, Kane & Maxwell Street, high octane blues from the BMF Band on June 15, and to celebrate our 50th show, a special July return performance by Steppin’ In It, the very group that started the live music series back in June 2008! And that’s just a start. Watch for more details coming soon!
The Western Dance Project, the touring ensemble from Western Michigan University's Department of Dance, came to the Central Library to perform in the Rotunda over Spring Break. The program began with a dance choreographed to a movement from composer John Adams's trancelike Shaker Loops. The program also included a piece called "Little Blue Worm", a crowd favorite, about kids playing on the playground. After many other entertaining and beautiful dances, the program closed with an amazing hip hop peice by WMU Department of Dance alum Chopper Platt featuring eight different tracks of music in sequence.
Western Dance Project director and dance professor David Curwen told us about how dance works and even taught us some moves in between the dances. We're glad Western Dance Project made a stop at the library and we look forward to having the Western Dance Project back again!
Western Dance Project
With Spring Break just around the corner, you can look forward to lots of great events to enjoy at your library!
These events and more at Kalamazoo Public Library are listed on the KPL calendar!
In a recent Chinese New Year program in the Van Deusen Auditorium, families who visited Kalamazoo Public Library enjoyed a story and performance by the Lion Dance Troupe from the Chinese Association of Greater Kalamazoo. We learned about the Chinese zodiac and everyone had the opportunity to meet the dancers, see the costumes up close, and even play the percussion instruments. That was fun!
Events at Your Library