Few industries have been hit harder by the pandemic than the music industry. Although things are definitely looking up for the 2021 concert season, there’s still a whole lot of ground to make up. One idea that a friend of mine had is one that I think a lot of musicians could use: driveway concerts!
In these uncertain & chaotic times, it can really lift your spirit to share the joy of music and art This week the Kalamazoo Bach Festival has you covered with live, online events tonight & Thursday night:
The Bach Festival Society was founded in 1946 by Henry Overley, Professor of Music at Kalamazoo College, who wanted to bring “town and gown” together to experience the joy of making music and to create something sublime — in particular, to recreate the choral and instrumental music of J. S. Bach and his contemporaries.
Since 1947, the Festival has grown and expanded, due to the active involvement of the community: now year-long, it includes “Bach-to-School” educational programs, Bach Legacy Lectures, a “Bach-Around-the-Block” organ crawl, a Young Artist Competition and Concert, a High School Choral Festival, master classes for young singers, and performances with the Kalamazoo Symphony,
June 2 will feature Dede Alder and her magical marimba and beautiful voice with song and stories in collaboration with the Kalamazoo Public Library. On June 4, live-streaming from our Facebook page, Jordan Hamilton will spread his love and message with his cello and thought provoking vocals. Join us at 7 pm on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday for these amazing programs brought to you buy some very talented local artists!
Diana Ross, 1976 by Motown Records/Wikimedia Commons
Today is the birthday of Detroit-born Motown singer, actress, record producer, and all around legend Diana Ross. The Black PR Wire Power news release in honor of her birthday says:
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Ross rose to fame as the lead singer of the vocal group, The Supremes, who during the 1960s became Motown’s most successful act, and are the best-charting female group in US history, as well as one of the world’s best-selling girl groups of all time. The group released a record-setting twelve number one hit singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, including “Where Did Our Love Go”, “Baby Love”, “Come See About Me”, “Stop! In the Name of Love”, “You Can’t Hurry Love”, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”, “Love Child”, and “Someday We’ll Be Together”.
Following her departure from the Supremes in 1970, Ross released her eponymous debut solo album that same year, featuring the No. 1 Pop hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” She later released the album “Touch Me in the Morning” in 1973; its title track was her second solo No. 1 hit. She continued a successful solo career through the 1970s, which included hit albums like Mahogany and Diana Ross and their No. 1 hit singles, “Theme from Mahogany” and “Love Hangover”, respectively. Her 1980 album “Diana” produced another No. 1 single, “Upside Down”, as well as the international hit “I’m Coming Out.” Her final single with Motown during her initial run with the company achieved her sixth and final U.S. number one Pop hit, the duet “Endless Love” featuring Lionel Richie, whose solo career was launched with its success.
Ross has also ventured into acting, with a Golden Globe Award-winning and Academy Award–nominated performance in the film “Lady Sings the Blues” (1972); she recorded its soundtrack, which became a number one hit. She also starred in two other feature films, “Mahogany” (1975) and “The Wiz” (1978), later acting in the television films “Out of Darkness” (1994), for which she also was nominated for a Golden Globe Award, and Double Platinum (1999).
She is the only female artist to have number one singles as a solo artist; as the other half of a duet (Lionel Richie); as a member of a trio; and as an ensemble member (We are the World-USA for Africa). In 1976, Ross was named the “Female Entertainer of the Century” by Billboard magazine. In 1993, the Guinness Book of World Records declared her the most successful female music artist in history, due to her success in the United States and United Kingdom for having more hits than any female artist in the charts, with a career total of 70 hit singles with her work with the Supremes and as a solo artist. She had a top 10 UK hit in every one of the last five decades, and sang lead on a top 75 hit single at least once every year from 1964 to 1996 in the UK, a period of 33 consecutive years and a record for any performer.
In 1988, Ross was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Supremes, alongside Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard. She was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2007, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.
Dig into the Supremes at Motown Museum!
“From the time that Dinah Washington first told me that Aretha was the ‘next one’ when she was 12 years old until the present day, Aretha Franklin set the bar upon which every female singer has and will be measured. And she did it with the professionalism, class, grace and humility that only a true Queen could. I treasured every moment that we spent together from working in the recording studio, to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, or simply hanging in the kitchen, and I will miss her dearly. RIP Ree-Ree. You will reign as the Queen forever.”
-musician & producer Quincy Jones
Aretha Franklin, the unquestioned Queen of Soul, has passed away. Her career spanned 6 decades and in that time she won 18 Grammy awards and such honors as the Presidential Medal Of Freedom and membership in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame & the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
I really liked The Guardian’s Aretha Franklin photo gallery , Rolling Stone’s list of Aretha’s 50 best songs and their article about her multi-level impact as an artist are both excellent, and you can see what folks are saying about Aretha on Twitter.
Here’s Aretha singing Amazing Grace <3
A big thing that’s happening right now is the South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. SXSW celebrates the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries and is ground zero for the future of media. I was gratified to learn through my friend Seth Bernard (who’s at SXSW) that a number of Michigan artists, organizations and companies have partnered for Michigan House, an effort spearheaded by Creative Many Michigan. Creative Many is a statewide organization focused on developing creative people, creative places and the creative economy for a competitive Michigan.
They have some cool things on the schedule including a Michigan music showcase featuring Flint Eastwood and the Go Rounds, so if you’re in Austin, definitely drop by and in any case, check out the folks who are taking Michigan messages to the world!
This weekend I’m where I am this weekend every year, helping out at the Earthwork Harvest Gathering. One of the photographers who’s helping out is Michigan in Pictures contributor Adam Johnson of Brockit, inc.
“The heat is rising and only getting hotter, ready to blow
I think I’ll pour myself a glass of water, let it flow
She’ll show you what she’s made of
Yeah she’s comin’ for ya
She’s gonna try to break ya
Yeah she’s comin’ for ya
No, she don’t mess around”
-Cage The Elephant, Mess Around
You know that when I pull out Cage the Elephant lyrics, I’m probably going to say something that will anger a slice of Michigan in Pictures readers, so be warned! Longtime readers will also know that I am pretty committed to saying what I want to say, so it’s probably good keep that in mind as well.
Speaking of warnings, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) spends a lot of time looking at the Earth and crunching data from an extensive satellite and – in conjunction with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Anyway, these folks – literally rocket scientists – have reported (based on science and data) that the Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate:
The planet is warming at a pace not experienced within the past 1,000 years, at least, making it “very unlikely” that the world will stay within a crucial temperature limit agreed by nations just last year, according to Nasa’s top climate scientist.
This year has already seen scorching heat around the world, with the average global temperature peaking at 1.38C above levels experienced in the 19th century, perilously close to the 1.5C limit agreed in the landmark Paris climate accord. July was the warmest month since modern record keeping began in 1880, with each month since October 2015 setting a new high mark for heat.
But Nasa said that records of temperature that go back far further, taken via analysis of ice cores and sediments, suggest that the warming of recent decades is out of step with any period over the past millennium.
“In the last 30 years we’ve really moved into exceptional territory,” Gavin Schmidt, director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said. “It’s unprecedented in 1,000 years. There’s no period that has the trend seen in the 20th century in terms of the inclination (of temperatures).”
Read on for more. I’d like to go on record as a parent and member of the human race that I’m really alarmed by this, and also the fact that what appears to be a serious emergency is being ignored.
I would really like to share the video of Mess Around from Cage the Elephant because I really like the band. In the interests of responsibility however, here’s a 30-second video showing the temperature rise of the last 145 years:
Music is music, ultimately. If it makes you feel good, cool.
Prince was a musician who had a huge effect on my life. I went to school near Minneapolis when he was transforming music through his own work and what he did with a host of artists. I’m very sad at his passing. Down at the bottom I have one of my favorite clips of Prince.
I’ve been lucky enough to see the northern lights dozens of times but have probably only seen purple auroras three or four times. Causes of Color explains the colors of the northern lights:
The sun radiates all visible colors, which is why sunlight appears white. The spectrum of visible light associated with the aurora is much more restricted. The aurora is caused by charged particles in the solar wind colliding with atmospheric atoms and ions. The collisions cause the electrons of the atmospheric atoms to become excited. As the electrons return to their original energy levels, these atoms emit visible light of distinct wavelengths, to create the colors of the display we see.
The color of the aurora depends on the wavelength of the light emitted. This is determined by the specific atmospheric gas and its electrical state, and the energy of the particle that hits the atmospheric gas. The atmosphere consists mainly of nitrogen and oxygen, which emit the characteristic colors of their respective line spectra. Atomic oxygen is responsible for the two main colors of green (wavelength of 557.7 nm) and red (630.0 nm). Nitrogen causes blue and deep red hues.
Most of the auroral features are greenish-yellow, but sometimes the tall rays will turn red at their tops and along their lower edges. On rare occasions, sunlight will hit the top part of the auroral rays to create a faint blue color. On very rare occasions (once every 10 years or so) the aurora can be a deep blood red color from top to bottom. Pink hues may also be seen in the lower area of the aurora. In addition to producing light, the energetic auroral collisions transmit heat. The heat is dissipated by infrared radiation, or transported away by strong winds in the upper atmosphere.
Ross took this on August 10th last summer. He says “The Northern Lights over Moskey Basin in Isle Royale National Park. This is the first time in my life I have seen a bright purple aurora develop.”
“If you’re ever sad, just remember the world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.”
When I was a kid my parents had a kicking stereo, and the album we decided was the most rocking was Space Oddity. We would turn the title track up to 11, turning the windows of the old farmhouse into a crazy bass reverberator and dance around and sing. Probably because of the science fiction/fantasy feel of the album, Bowie was my first rock idol, and he’s always remained a favorite for giving voice to the struggle of fitting into a world that doesn’t always fit you and the need reinvent yourself again and again.
Now here’s a video of Space Oddity … I find I don’t care that he’s probably lip synching.
The documentary Louder Than Love: The Grande Ballroom Story premieres on Detroit Public Television this Friday (Dec 18) at 8 PM. Dan Austin of Historic Detroit has a great look at the history of Detroit’s Grande Ballroom that says (in part):
Designed in 1928 by Charles N. Agree for dance hall entrepreneurs Edward J. Strata and his partner Edward J. Davis, the Grande started off as a place Detroiters would go to dance and listen to jazz and big band sounds, but it would later achieve immortal status in the annals of music history as a rock venue. It is arguably the birthplace of punk and hard-driving rock, where bands like The MC5 and The Stooges cut their chops and became legends.
The building was designed in the Moorish Deco style and contained storefront space on the first floor and on the second a ballroom with Moorish arches featuring a floor on springs that gave dancers the feeling of floating. The dance floor held 1,500 dancers and was one of the largest in the city. Its ground floor had several retail tenants, such as W.T. Grant Department Stores, Beverly’s and a drugstore. The neighborhood was a predominately Jewish enclave in the 1930s and ’40s.
…Russ Gibb, a social studies teacher at Maples Junior High School in Dearborn was a popular local radio DJ at the time. Gibb took a trip out to San Francisco to visit a friend in early 1966 and paid a visit to the storied Fillmore Auditorium and saw The Byrds. When he returned to Detroit, he set out to bring Bill Graham’s Fillmore to the Motor City. He scouted out several locations, including the then-closed, since-demolished Gayety Burlesque theater on Cadillac Square downtown and the ballroom of the Statler Hotel on Grand Circus Park, which also has been razed. He settled on the Grande, which was near the neighborhood he grew up in back in the 1940s and entered a rent-to-buy deal with the Kleinman family.
Read on for the story of how the Grande Ballroom grew through local acts like the MC5 to become the place to play in Detroit in the late 60s, hosting amazing acts including Led Zeppelin, John Lee Hooker, the Yardbirds, The Who, Cream, Pink Floyd, Canned Heat, the Jeff Beck Group, The Byrds, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf, the Velvet Underground, Canned Heat, and many more.
Watch the trailer for the movie below and see many more photos of the Grande past & present, on the Louder Than Love website. Also don’t miss their collection of posters for some of the concerts at the Grande Ballroom from artists Gary Grimshaw, Carl Lundgren, and Donnie Dope and be sure to check out the Louder Than Love group on Facebook for many more great photos!