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Recent News
New ‘Global Folk’ Series Brings Caribbean, Latin American, Finnish and Lumber Jack Music to Hennepin County Libraries
Daydreaming about the tropics and other faraway places now that cold weather has arrived?  “Caribbean Steel Drum Music” and other programs in a new “Global Folk” series that begins Dec. 1 at Hennepin County libraries will entertain with sounds from distant locales and cultures. In addition to Caribbean music performed by the Tropics Steel Drum Band, enjoy “The Sounds of Mexico” by La Familia Torres- Peña, Finnish music by the quintet Finn Hall and “Irish Songs From the Lumber Camps” by Celtic musicians Brian Miller and Randy Gosa.
Register in advance by calling the libraries or go online to www.hclib.org (programs are listed in the Events & Classes schedule 12 weeks in advance).
“This series is a great way to introduce patrons of all ages to world music traditions and the local artists who are continuing these traditions,” said Hennepin County Library Director Lois Langer Thompson. “Local musicians from around the metro area are visiting local libraries to provide free, fun and educational performances for our community.”
Tropics Steel Drum Band
Steel drum music is the national music in its homeland of Trinidad and Tobago. Some of the earliest instruments were steel oil drums left by the military during World War II. Today, the Tropics Steel Drum Band plays instruments that are greatly refined and called pans.
The band’s Norbert Augustine has been playing the pan since he was six years old in Trinidad and is a true master of the instrument. Jahbee Bennett is vocalist and guitarist. The music performed by this talented duo reflects its Caribbean roots, includes reggae, calypso, soca, ska, and Latin and American pop, and is certain to lift spirits! They will perform at libraries in December and February.
La Familia Torres-Peña
South of the border is a land where music is the heart of family celebrations, fiestas and everyday life!  La Familia Torres-Peña — Pedro Torres, Donna Peña, daughter Laura, and son Alejandro — are delighted to share their music at “The Sounds of Mexico” programs in January. “Our music represents our heritage and it is what we love,” said Donna Peña. “It’s a privilege to share our music with neighborhood people.”
The family, which also performs as part of a full-scale mariachi band, will talk about Mexican traditions and sing to the accompaniment of guitar, violins, vijuela and accordion.
Finn Hall
In February, the quintet Finn Hall will perform “the sounds of historic Finnish-American dance hall” music at Hennepin County Library - Ridgedale. Ralph Tuttila on mandolin, Cheryl Paschke on violin, Dennis Halme on accordion, Al Reko on accordion and vocals, and Gordon Oschwald on bass will entertain with waltz, polka, schottische and other traditional dance music.
“We hope that the audience will participate in some of the songs with easy-to-learn responses, and we also encourage dancing to our music,” said Tuttila, who has performed in Finland with a group that received the Performers of the Year Award by the Finlandia Foundation National. “We plan on doing some teaching of group dances for all. The public can learn much about Finnish and Finnish-American dance music styles and types, which tell so much about the Finnish immigrant culture.”
Celtic Musicians Brian Miller and Randy Gosa
Also in February, songs that express the daily life and rigors of working as a northwoods lumberjack in the 19th century will be performed by Celtic musicians Brian Miller and Randy Gosa.
The musicians will perform a repertoire of East Coast immigrant songs that evolved as the immigrants migrated to the Midwest and found work in the lumber camps. The musical performance will be accompanied by a slideshow of lumber camp photos from the Minnesota Historical Society.
Miller grew up in Bemidji and is esteemed as a guitar accompanist and master of the Irish flute and Greek bouzouki. He has performed across North America and Ireland in various groups, including a group that won the Irish Music Award’s top traditional group award.
Wisconsin native Gosa, who performs on mandolin, guitar, and tenor banjo, has studied with several renowned Irish music masters and performed nationally with many accomplished Midwest-based musicians.  He also teaches at the Irish Fest School of Music in Milwaukee.
According to their website (http://www.evergreentrad.com/), “Old world ballads mix with colorful local lore and creative arrangements, using voice, guitar, and a variety of unusual folk instruments to bring this forgotten folk music to life.”
The programs are funded by Minnesota’s Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. The schedule:

Global Folk: Caribbean Steel Drum
Enjoy the Tropics Steel Drum Band’s Caribbean music – including calypso, reggae, ska, soca and pop – and learn about the unusual steel drums that are made from reused oil drums.
·         Saturday, Dec. 1, 1:30-2:30 p.m., Hennepin County Library ­– Pierre Bottineau, 55 Broadway St. NE, Minneapolis, 612-543-6850. Register Online or call 612-543-6850; limit 50.

·         Thursday, Feb. 21, 7-8 p.m., Hennepin County Library –­ Minneapolis Central, 300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, 612-543-8000. Registration required; begins Jan. 24; limit 230.

Global Folk: Sounds of Mexico
La Familia Torres-Peña performs traditional Mexican songs, pop and music hall tunes, love songs and more on a variety of instruments, with harmony arrangements.
·         Saturday, Jan. 12, 2-3 p.m., Hennepin County Library – Sumner, 611 Van White Mem. Blvd., Minneapolis, 612-543-6875. Registration required; begins Dec. 15; limit 33.
·         Saturday, Jan. 19, 11 a.m.-noon, Hennepin County Library – Washburn, 5244 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-543-8375. Registration required; begins Dec. 22; limit 80.

Global Folk: Scandinavian Dance Music
Finn Hall quintet throws together waltzes, humppas, polkas and even a few tangos to create an eclectic listening experience.
·         Tuesday, Feb. 5, 7-8 p.m., Hennepin County Library – Ridgedale, 12601 Ridgedale Dr., Minnetonka, 612-543-8800. Registration required; begins Jan. 8; limit 90.

Global Folk: Irish Songs From the Lumber Camps
Celtic musicians Brian Miller and Randy Gosa transport you to a 19th-century lumber camp bunkhouse where roving Irish-American lumberjacks created a unique brand of north woods entertainment based on the music of the Emerald Isle.
·         Saturday, Feb. 23, 2-3:30 p.m., Hennepin County Library – Plymouth, 15700 36th Ave. N., Plymouth, 612-543-5825. Registration required; begins Jan. 26; limit 50.
·         Sunday, Feb. 24, 3-4:30 p.m., Hennepin County Library – Brooklyn Park, 8600 Zane Ave. N., Brooklyn Park, 612-543-6225. Registration required; begins Jan. 27; limit 65.


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