Milwaukee Music

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The Milwaukee Film Festival opens today. The eighth annual edition of the festival runs through October 6th and features some classic movies, along with remarkable recent films from national, international, and local filmmakers.

Bonnie North

Milwaukee singer-songwriter Peter Mulvey has been a working and touring musician for 25 years. But for the past ten, the work involved in touring has been extra-strenuous.

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When Alton Sterling and Philando Castille were shot and killed by police officers, violinist Chauntee Ross arranged a dinner. The meal was a gathering of artists and friends, and they discussed what they could do to bring their community together.

With her musical partner (and sister), cellist Monique Ross, and saxophonist Jay Anderson, the Strange Fruit music festival was created. There, artists could use their talent to encourage unity and promote a positive image of African-American culture.

Photo courtesy of FREESPACE

Many high school English classes stress reading the classics of the Western Literary Canon: things like Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, or The Odyssey. But Pulaski High School English teacher Vincent Gaa wanted to give his students some material that they would connect to because it was based on their own interests.

"If you throw some Marx in front of a kid, they're not going to care," says Gaa. "I think the best teaching techniques are leading by example."

The Milwaukee area has a rich musical history whose earliest contributors helped unify emerging immigrant communities using polka and waltz. In the late 20th Century, the sound of Milwaukee music was often characterized using the punk garage band stylings of the Violent Femmes or the heartland rock of the BoDeans. But when you think of the blues, Milwaukee may not be the first city that comes to mind. One local band thinks that's about to change.

AUTOMatic

Milwaukee hip hop artist Darius Windom is one half of the duo, AUTOMatic. The group writes its own songs that pay homage to the golden age of hip hop. 

Photo by Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Chicago-based harpsichordist, conductor and early music specialist, Jory Vinikour, founded the Great Lakes Baroque series last year. This Friday, Vinikour will be joined by another Chicago-based early music specialist, violinist Rachel Barton Pine.

Doug Seymour

Sometimes all that is needed to create art is a starting point.

The Milwaukee duo of cellist Janet Schiff and drummer Victor DeLorenzo have been performing as Nineteen Thirteen for the last couple of years. But, it wasn't until Schiff was asked to play live cello to accompany a theater piece at Danceworks that the two had the creative inspiration to make an album. 

"It got us into the recording studio making new pieces of music for this [Danceworks] performance," says Schiff.

Photo by Dakota Harper

Milwaukee-raised songstress Lili K started performing young - through church and elementary school choirs. The Milwaukee High School of the Arts alum studied classical, opera and jazz vocals and received an education in arts, entertainment and media management at Columbia College Chicago.

Bonnie North

Once a month, Milwaukee singer-songwriter John Sieger brings friends and fellow musicians into Lake Effect's performance studio to play and chat.

For May's The Monthly Beatdown, Sieger is joined only by his alter ego to perform I'm A Big Boy Now.

Jewish Community Center

The Jewish Community Center is hosting a "Concert for Peace" tonight featuring Israeli Jewish oud and violin virtuoso Yair Dalal and accomplished Israeli Arab guitarist and singer Mira Awad. Both Dalal and Awad are no strangers to musical partnerships, having worked with a myriad of musicians from around the world. This concert in Milwaukee will feature the two musicians in both combined and solo sets.

Bonnie North

Today is the third installment of the monthly music series The Monthly Beatdown featuring Milwaukee singer-songwriter John Sieger.

Once a month on Lake Effect, Sieger brings friends and fellow musicians into WUWM's performance studio to play and chat.

This month, his group is composed of fellow R&B Cadets Paul Cebar and Robin Pluer to play Kidnap You Baby.

Photo by Bonnie North

Singer Jeannine Rivers has been serenading the Milwaukee area for years. Whether she’s at Caroline’s, the Pfister’s BLU Bar and Lounge or West Bend’s Café Soeurette, her powerful and expressive vocals, along with a mix of jazz standards and original compositions, make her an audience favorite.

Bonnie North

Today is the second installment of the monthly music series The Monthly Beatdown featuring Milwaukee singer-songwriter John Sieger.

Once a month on Lake Effect, Sieger brings friends and fellow musicians into WUWM's performance studio to play and chat.

Local guitarist John Plankenhorn and singer Carol Ferrara have been playing together for more than two decades. Their current group, electri-violet, is set to release an album this spring which will feature a new set of original songs written by Plankenhorn.

Over the years, the duo has allowed their sound to shift and evolve, a choice that has given them more freedom to write and grow in their music.

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