Harmonies where you least expect them

A broad diversity of musical experiences can be found on campus.

Keri Carlson

Maybe it’s something in the water, but the Twin Cities are breeding grounds for musicians. From the Trashmen to “Funkytown,” there’s always been something exciting happening around here. Every week a hefty concert calendar will allow even the snobbiest of music snobs to find something appealing.

What makes our music community so strong is the support it receives. And a major part of that support comes from the University. Whether it is students producing the music or the University showcasing an international artist, the music on campus is a major contributor to Twin Cities music as a whole.

The School of Music is a great way to experience music and support fellow students. Check the Web site www.music.umn.edu for student recitals – they happen often and most are quite amazing.

In November, the School of Music presents the 2003-04 Interplay series at the Ted Mann Concert Hall. The theme this year is “A Choral Odyssey.” The Blind Boys of Alabama start off the series with their get-off-the-pew southern gospel. Ladysmith Black Mambazo, an African folk group with gorgeous harmonies, is another group to see in February.

For big concerts on campus, there is nothing like Northrop Auditorium. This year Northrop celebrates 10 years of great jazz. As part of the celebration and continuing the tradition, a four-concert jazz series, beginning in October, features Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, Mingus Big Band, David Krakauer’s Klezmer Madness and the Regina Carter Quintet. Don’t forget students receive a 25 percent discount off ticket prices.

Of course, smaller venues also have their charms. Deep in the heart of Coffman Union, the Whole Music Club is an amazingly intimate venue for seeing the best local and national acts while they’re still playing smaller clubs. The Whole’s Seth Nesselhuf said the goal for this year is to “reclaim the fame.” Since the 1960s, the Whole has hosted numerous artists that went on to larger fame or made an important mark in music history. In the early years, out-of-this-universe jazz genius Sun Ra played, as well as blues queen Bonnie Raitt. In the 1980s, the club booked many pioneering new-wave and punk acts, most notably the

Replacements and Husker Du and the political-jabbing Dead Kennedys. Oct. 3 features the RX.

Weisman Art Museum Music has really outdone itself this year. Starting in October, the Weisman kicks off with three very impressive shows you certainly will not want to miss. Ida returns to the Weisman on Oct. 8 with gentle and dreamy pop with everyone’s soon-to-be favorite sensitive indie singer Fred Thomas. On Oct. 25, Jeremy Jacobsen brings his one-man band the Lonesome Organist. Creating circusy rock ‘n’ roll and blues with an organ, drums, guitar, harmonica, toy piano and tap shoes, the Lonesome Organist is one novelty act that won’t get old.

The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players are scheduled for Nov. 7. Here’s their shtick: The 9-year-old daughter plays drums and looks like a mini Meg White, the mother projects vintage slides they’ve collected from such places as yard sales, and the father plays a keyboard and sings songs about the slides. You have to see it to believe it. The Weisman plans to feature music monthly throughout the year.