Pippi Ardennia sings jazz straight—without runs, without the vocal “somersaults” they performed at her grandfather’s Pentecostal church on Chicago’s Southside, where Ardennia grew up. “I didn’t like doing all that stuff,” she says. Her parents introduced her to Broadway belters—no frills. “But at the same time, I don’t sing any song the way it was written; every song has to go through my filter.” Ardennia tries not to rehearse. Read more about Spontaneity, No Regrets
In our August 2014 issue, we featured the story of Minnetonka High School graduate Holly Henry, who found success in a national singing competition. Since then, Henry’s star has kept rising. With one full-length album and two EPs under her belt, Henry also has a YouTube channel where she sings originals and cover songs to engage with her nearly 350,000 subscribers. Read more about Small-Town Girl, Big-City Music
To those of us who live here, Lake Minnetonka means home. To some global music fans, however, it might mean funk and jazz.
In Melbourne, Australia, there’s a band called Lake Minnetonka. The members are Australian—so how the heck did they choose such a name? For one thing, they say, their music is influenced by Minneapolis native son Prince, who referred to the lake in his songs. Lake Minnetonka (the band, that is) also incorporates sounds inspired by other Minnesota artists like Mazarati, Alexander O’Neal, the Time and Sheila E. Read more about From Minnesota to Australia
In celebration of the Capital City’s music scene, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has declared 2016 the Year of Music. The initiative highlights the people, venues and sounds that make up the city’s diverse music community.
One of the talented people being spotlighted by this program is Solomon J. Parham, a veteran jazz musician and teaching instructor at Walker West Music Academy on Selby Avenue. (Read more about Walker West Academy here). Read more about Celebrate the Year of Music with St. Paul Musician Solomon J. Parham
The Mount Calvary Academy of Music, originally founded by the music ministry of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, has been shaping musicians for the past 14 years. Read more about Making Music at Mount Calvary
Dan Riggs is still amazed that the radio internship at KDWB he landed shortly after graduating from St. Paul’s North High School turned into a 17-year career as an on-air host for popular local stations also including Cities 97, KOOL 108 and WLOL.
“The goal was to take a year off between high school and college and have fun,” Riggs says. Read more about DJ Dan Riggs Spins Radio Success in to Summit Hill Studios
Born in North Carolina in 1933, Nina Simone would go on to find success in several roles: singer, songwriter, pianist and civil rights activist. Thirteen years after her death, Simone’s legacy and message remain timeless. In the upcoming Nina Simone: Four Women at the Park Square Theatre, actress Regina Marie Williams will bring the iconic vocalist to life. Read more about Tribute to a Legend
The members of LeagueAires are all about spreading music. The women’s vocal group, sponsored by the Junior League of Minneapolis, brings the joy of music to older adults and people with special needs, performing at nursing homes, rehab centers and other venues. This year, the group celebrates its 50th anniversary, and we spoke to three members who live in the Lake Minnetonka area to learn what makes being part of the group so special.
At 17 years old, David Grams is in a class all his own. Quite literally, in one sense of the word: He was homeschooled, graduated when he was 16, and now spends his time pursuing his own personal studies. Chief among them: the art of classical and flamenco guitar.
Both of Grams’ parents are musically inclined, so it isn’t surprising that he showed an aptitude for music at a young age. But his successful venture into the complicated Spanish rhythms of flamenco guitar was a path he chose to follow on his own. Read more about Soul of Spain