Live and Local
The Henry Girls are a trio of sisters from County Donegal in Ireland who got their start in folk and roots music about a decade ago. Karen, Lorna and Joleen are all multi-instrumentalists who sing in close harmony, and their sound has been described as a mix of traditional Irish folk music and Americana. They’ll play at a new venue in Champaign called The Upper Bout, and they’ll play for us live on the Monday edition of “Live and Local.”
The Chicago-based piano-and-drums duo The Claudettes have a curious back story involving a bar owner named Claudette who hired them as her house band. But that’s a distraction from music they describe—with question marks—as “post-burlesque? neo-vaudeville? cosmic cartoon music?” Or, some kind of fusion of blues, jazz, soul and punk. The Claudettes will play in Champaign Friday night, and they’ll play for us live, and loudly, on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.”
The musical Smoke on the Mountain is said to be one of the most-produced shows worldwide, telling the story of a Sunday night gospel sing in North Carolina in 1938, starring the slightly imperfect Sanders Family. Smoke on the Mountain will make a return appearance in Sullivan starting Friday, and we’ll have a live preview on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” Also live in our studio: flutist Ai Yamaguchi, who will give a recital in Urbana Sunday afternoon.
Since their founding in 1996, the Baroque Artists of Champaign-Urbana have explored the major choral works of George Frideric Handel, including of course the famous oratorios like Messiah and Israel in Egypt. On Sunday afternoon, they’ll present two of Handel’s large but lesser-known anthems, written for British royals and nobles. I’ll talk with the Baroque Artists’ music director, Chester Alwes, on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.” We'll also hear about a production of the operetta Orpheus in the Underworld at the University of Illinois, opening on Thursday.
The Champaign-Urbana Symphony will give a concert Saturday night that features Carl Nielsen’s Fourth Symphony, called the “Inextinguishable.” It’s an especially powerful work, with a passionate advocate in conductor Stephen Alltop, who will join me on the Tuesday edition of “Live and Local.” I’ll also talk with Sever Tipei, director of the University of Illinois Computer Music Project, celebrating its 30th anniversary with two upcoming concerts.
Alan Kelly—no relation—has been called one of the finest piano accordionists in the world, at least in Irish music. He’s got three solo albums to his credit, as well as recordings and tours with numerous luminaries in traditional and folk music. For some years he has headed a quartet called The Alan Kelly Gang, and they’ll play in Urbana Monday night. They’ll also play for us live on the Monday edition of “Live and Local.”
Saturday night, the Springfield Classical Guitar Society will present a recital by John McClellan, one half of the Hanser-McClellan Guitar Duo. He plays classically, of course, but has also collaborated with country singer Vince Gill and is an authority on finger-pickin’ guitarist Chet Atkins. I’ll talk with John McClellan on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also have a live preview of The Clean House, the current production at the Station Theatre in Urbana.
Charlie King calls himself a musical storyteller and political satirist and in 2014 celebrates 50 years as a performer and 40 as a songwriter. He normally travels with his musical and life partner Karen Brandow but is making a solo tour that includes Urbana on Sunday. I’ll talk with Karen on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.” We’ll also hear about Saturday’s concert in Decatur featuring Giuseppe Verdi’s Four Sacred Pieces.
We bill the show as “your connection to local performances.” But on the Tuesday edition of the show, I’d like to draw your attention to the latest recording by American pianist Simone Dinnerstein, on which she plays all of Bach’s Two- and Three-Part Inventions. Much more than a Bach specialist, she has a wide repertoire and has made some interesting collaborations. Join me to explore this and more with the artist herself.
In December 1968, an obscure California scientist gave a ninety-minute demonstration of much that would come to define modern computing: videoconferencing, hyperlinks, digital text editing and something called a “mouse.” Composers Mikel Rouse and Ben Neill and their collaborators have made a hybrid theater piece called The Demo, which they’ll present in Urbana Friday night. I’ll talk with Neill and director Bob McGrath on the Tuesday edition of “Live and Local.”
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