Live and Local - September 30, 2013

Cellist Helen Gillet with Bassist James Singleton in Urbana

Cellist, singer and composer Helen Gillet (zhi-lay, in the French way) has forged a path for the cello in improvised music in New Orleans since her arrival there in 2002. She has played with a wealth of marvelous musicians, among them the New Orleans jazz bassist James Singleton, of the long-lived band Astral Project. Together they'll play a show in Urbana Monday night, and I'll visit with Helen Gillet on the Monday edition of “Live and Local.”

Live and Local - September 27, 2013

Pianist Olga Kern in Peoria and Native American Flutes in Champaign

The Peoria Symphony Orchestra will launch its new season on Saturday with a concert that features Russian pianist Olga Kern, winner of the 2001 Van Cliburn Competition. She’ll play Rachmaninov on the concert, and she’ll talk with me on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.” Also, live in our studio, we’ll hear a couple of local practitioners of the Native American flute and hear recordings of music for that instrument.

Live and Local - September 26, 2013

The Down Hill Strugglers Play Old-Time String Music in Champaign

The New Lost City Ramblers participated in the old-time music revival back in the 60s and influenced countless artists after them over a 40-plus-year career. The Brooklyn-based Down Hill Strugglers is one such collection of artists. Presenting “the authentic sound of old-time music to a new generation,” The Down Hill Strugglers will come to Champaign for a concert Friday night, and I’ll talk with one of their members on the Thursday edition of “Live and Local.”

Live and Local - September 25, 2013

Conversations about University Wind Symphony Concerts in Urbana and Charleston

I think it’s fair to say that concert bands feel a greater freedom to program newer and more adventurous music than most orchestras do. We’ll explore some of that notion on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.” I’ll welcome the conductor, two composers and the soloist for Thursday’s concert by the University of Illinois Wind Symphony. And I’ll talk with the director of bands at Eastern Illinois University about Friday’s jazz-inspired collaborative concert.

Live and Local - September 06, 2013

Del Castillo Plays Ellnora; Heartland Festival Orchestra Plays Washington

Del Castillo is the name of two Texas-born guitar-playing brothers, as well as the name of the band they formed together. They’ll bring their eclectic blend of flamenco, rock, Latin and blues to the Ellnora Guitar Festival Friday evening, and they’ll be my guests on the Friday edition of “Live and Local.” I’ll also talk with conductor David Commanday about the season-opening concert by the Heartland Festival Orchestra, in Washington Saturday night.

Live and Local - September 05, 2013

Guitarists from Norway, South Africa and the U.S. Play Live in Our Studio

Ellnora: The Guitar Festival officially opens Thursday night at the Krannert Center in Urbana, with guitarists of all genres. On the Thursday edition of “Live and Local,” we’ll hear three of those players live in our studio: classical guitarist Jason Vieaux; Andreas Aase, who specializes in traditional music of his native Norway; and South African Derek Gripper, whose latest recording translates traditional music of Mali to the Western guitar.

Live and Local - September 04, 2013

Family-Friendly Musician Dan Zanes and Irish Accordionist David Munnelly in Urbana

“Sing it high and sing it low, sing out every song they know.” Those are a couple of lines from a song by Dan Zanes, but it could also be a motto for his work bringing music of all kinds to kids of all ages. He’ll play at the Ellnora Guitar Festival in Urbana this weekend, and he’ll join me on the Wednesday edition of “Live and Local.” I’ll talk also with Irish accordionist David Munnelly about his gig with fiddle player Mick Conneely in Urbana Thursday night.

Live and Local - September 03, 2013

Victor & Penny at Sleepy Creek Vineyards

What do you get when you pair a member of Chicago’s Blue Man Group with Kansas City’s sexiest musician? Why, Victor and Penny, of course. Jeff Freling and Erin McGrane sing music they call “antique pop,” with ukulele and a vintage jazz guitar. They play early 20th-century songs, unique arrangements of modern tunes and clever originals, and they’ll be in Fairmount next Saturday. I’ll talk with Victor and Penny on the Tuesday edition of “Live and Local.”