PREVIEW: Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Ladysmith Black Mambazo

You may have not heard of Ladysmith Black Mambazo but you most likely have heard their music. (Curious? click here!) Hailing from South Africa, Ladysmith is one of the most globally celebrated groups of the last few decades.  In addition to being the “cultural emissaries” of South Africa, their collaboration with Paul Simon almost 20 years ago launched “Graceland” as a pivotal album in world music.  Their roots are unique to South Africa, singing in a musical style called isicathamiya (Is-Cot-A-Me-Ya) which was traditionally sung by black, displaced rail workers for entertainment, but their voices also have the influence of gospel.

They have collaborated with many artists, including Natalie Merchant, Sarah McLachlan, Mellissa Etheridge, Emmylou Harris, Pete Seger, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, and many others.  They have numerous grammy nominations and recived their second grammy in 2005 for Best Traditional World Music Recording.  Their music has been featured in many familiar films and advertisements including Lion King and The Land Before Time.  Aside from setting a world example of peace, harmony, and hope through music, Ladysmith continues to grace the world with their unique and beautiful music.

This is A UMS first so if you have an interest in world music, or learning more about another culture through music, tickets are still available through the UMS website.   The event will be tomorrow at 4 pm at the Hill Auditorium.  It will be a great experience and is part of UMS global focus.  If you can’t make it, be sure to check out other upcoming events in the next few months (may I suggest Béla Fleck or Baaba Maal with local heroes Nomo).

PREVIEW: Ann Arbor Folk Festival

Power Duo Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar
Power Duo Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar

Excitement is in the air my friends!  A longstanding tradition in Ann Arbor, the Ark brings you the 33rd annual Ann Arbor Folk Festival this Friday and Saturday.  If you have never been, I highly suggest you try to make it to this one as the lineup is extremely impressive (as always).  I am a folk festival newbie so I’m very excited to see how the night will play out.

Both shows start at 6:30 p.m. sharp at the great Hill Auditorium.  Friday’s lineup includes favorites Iron & Wine as well as Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar performing their new collaborative release, One Fast Move or I’m Gone, inspired by Jack Kerouac.  If those two acts aren’t enough to get you excited there are a host of other performers including Band of Heathens, Hoots & Hellmouth, Po’ Girl, Jer Coons, and Nervous But Excited.

That’s not all folks! Saturday night focuses on the roots and traditions of folk and the lineup includes Rosanne Cash, Richie Havens, Doc Watson, Raul Malo, Hot Club of Cowtown, and Enter the Haggis.  Both nights are hosted by Patty Larkin.  Tickets may still be available through ticketmaster.  I hope you can all make it but if not here’s something for you sleepless fans, amazing concert!

Click here!

PREVIEW: An Evening with Frank Warren

Sometimes -Frank Warren
"Sometimes we don't keep secrets, our secrets keep us" -Frank Warren

An event not to be missed, America’s “most trusted stranger,” Frank Warren, will bring his most inspirational stories and secrets to Ann Arbor this Friday.  Warren is the mastermind behind PostSecret, a community art project he started in 2004 that has since exploded into numerous publications across the globe and the largest ad-free blog,, where every Sunday new secrets are posted.  Click here to see a moving collection of Postcards submitted to PostSecret.

“When I started PostSecret my motive was to create a “place” where people could feel free to share their private hopes, desires and fears,” says Warren, “A place where the secrets they could not tell their friends and family would be treated with dignity in a non-judgmental way.”

Read more:

PostSecret is a place not only for those to share their own secrets but for readers as well who identify with those secrets, possibly giving them the courage to release their own.  Even Warren himself was inspired to send his own secret on a postcard to his house about a supressed childhood incident.  The secrets sent in are so personal, heartfelt, and insightful that the ones you identify with make you feel that you are not alone.

An example of the artistic and emotional confessions of the postcards
An example of the artistic and emotional confessions of the postcards

His fall tour to colleges across the U.S. coincides with the release of his new book, “Confessions on Life, Death, and God,” which will also be available for signing during the event.  Warren says the live events usually consist of background on the project as well as display of postcards that were banned by the publisher, and also a chance for audience members to share their own secrets in an open atmosphere.

Confessions on Life, Death, and God
Confessions on Life, Death, and God

If you’ve got something to get off your chest, or you just plain love PostSecret,  I highly suggest you get your tickets asap.  Tickets are still available through MUTO or on the ticketmaster website.

Who: Frank Warren, creator of PostSecret, shares his stories as part of the ConversA2tions series.
When: Friday December 4th, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Michigan Theater
How much: $15-$35 a ticket

Hope to see you all there!


PREVIEW: The Swell Season Returns

The Swell Season
The Swell Season

The Swell Season returns again, this time with an even bigger tide.  I unfortunately missed their performance last year but the infamous duo grace the Michigan Theatre with their presence a second time this Wednesday night.  You may recognize them from the critically acclaimed indie film, “Once” which was sort of a mockumentary documenting the creative and emotional growth between Glen and Marketa (I actually saw the film at the State Theater during my freshman orientation).  The movie is beautifully touching with a soundtrack that essentially loans the film its fame (Two Grammy nominations and an Oscar win for Best Origninal Song, “Falling Slowly”).

Glen and Marketa in Once
Glen and Marketa in "Once"

If you’re into mesmerizing, soul-touching music, I suggest you check them out this Wednesday night.  Sorry to get to you so late on this one (I only just got my tickets yesterday) but you should still be able to snag a seat.  Tickets are still available at MUTO ranging from  $29.50-$39.00 and you should also be able to stop by at the Michigan Theatre before the show at 7:30 to see if there are any still available. This concert celebrates the release of the follow up to the Once soundtrack with “Strict Joy,” you can check out the preview here.  Concert opener will be Rachael Yamagata, hope to see you all there!

Eagerly Anticipated Strict Joy
Eagerly Anticipated "Strict Joy"

Who: The Swell Season
Where: Michigan Theater
When: 7:30 p.m. tonight!


PREVIEW: Vienna Boy’s Choir

What better way to ease back into the daily grind after an overstuffed thanksgiving break than with a lovely afternoon seranade? If you want to prolong this mini break as much as I do, I suggest  you bring in the holiday cheer this Sunday and check out the world renowned Vienna Boy’s Choir (a.k.a. Die Wiener Sängerknaben).

Here We Come
"Here We Come"

Formed during the late middle ages by Emperor Maximilian I of Austria, the Vienna Boy’s Choir is a long standing tradition, having worked with such big names as Mozart, Bruckner, Haydn, and Schubert (The names of their four respective touring choirs).  The choir itself is composed of 100 choristers from all over the country known for their angelic voices and skill but by the looks of it, seem to be regular 14 year old boys.  Check out this epic commercial they did last year for the European Football Championship, it won the best commercial at the ITB Berlin!  (BTW: If I could have O’Fortuna play everywhere I walked, I would be one happy gal)

Kickflippin it
Kickflippin' it

Aside from touring the globe, working with world renowned composers, and being some of the most skilled choristers, I find it hard to believe these kids are all under the age of 14.  Their lives will be featured in the upcoming documentary, Silk Road-Songs Along the Road and Time, which aims to explore the history of the choir and its influence and unity through a year spent with the choir boys on tour and at home.

Majestic Melodies
Majestic Melodies

The choir originated exclusively for the Viennese Court and it wasn’t until 1918 that the choir disbanded and formed their own institution, allowing them to tour the globe.  Now in 2009, the choir boys return again, since their first performance at Michigan in 1933, and bring Christmas in Vienna all the way to Ann Arbor.  If you’re looking for a way to cure those coming winter blues, you should grab some hot cocoa and head over to Hill Auditorium at 3 tomorrow. where there will be carolers on the steps before the show at 4.  You can still snag some tickets for as little as $12 but unfortunately you can only buy them online (Click here to buy).


What: Vienna Boy’s Choir

Where: Hill Auditorium

When: Sunday at 4 p.m. (Carolers on the steps at 3)

Why: To be inspired and amazed? For Christmas cheer? Something new? Insert reason here?

How much: 18 euros, or 12 buckaroos

See you there? Alright!

Later skater,


Preview: Free Ingrid Michaelson Performance and Signing!

Ingrid Michaelson
Ingrid Michaelson

Who doesn’t love a free event?  If you have some downtime this Wednesday and you’re an Ingrid Michaelson fan be sure to stop by Borders on State street for a good old time.  Borders offers many great and free events so if you’ve never been to a “Live at 01” event, I’d be sure to check it out.  Ingrid Michaelson will be performing a sold out show at The Ark the preceding night so if you weren’t able to snag tickets, this is a great opportunity to see her perform a few live songs, which will be broadcasted on Ann Arbor’s 107.1, and get some photos or an autograph.  I myself will definitely be there so if you’re interested, it is suggested to arrive at Borders around 9:oo a.m. that morning to ensure you get a wristband.  The actual event is at 12:30 p.m. so how about you stop by for some afternoon downtime and a relaxing show to get your day off to an awesome start.

If you’ve never heard of Ingrid Michaelson, her songs have been featured on Grey’s Anatomy and she provided the national anthem for sweaters in the infamous Old Navy commercials.  Here is a link to a video last time she was at Borders.  As you can see, it’s likely to be a wonderful event all happening down the street from class.  Take a break from midterms and soak up some music to calm your nerves.

Just to recap…

What: Ingrid Michaelson Show and Signing

When: Wednesday, October 28th 12:30 p.m. (arrive at 9 for wristbands)

Where: Borders on State Street

How much: FREE!

Why: Cause who really wants to study in between classes anyways?