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A world of sound

Published 5:01am Sunday, June 2, 2013
Greg Herriges
Greg Herriges

When the artists Greg Herriges, Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino and Pacific Curls play their shows at the Paramount this summer it will be more than music the public will be getting. It will be an experience.

For the third year in a row the Paramount Theatre and Rochester’s Riverside Concerts are teaming up to bring music lovers a taste of the world. The condensed versions of their Rochester performances will feature music and talk in an effort to open up the music pallets of area enthusiasts to something that maybe they haven’t experienced before.

“People have loved them,” said Paramount Theatre executive director Jennie Knoebel. “They’re smaller crowds, but everybody who ended up coming, loved them.”

The shows, last about an hour each, will feature the artists — most always without the entire band — on a level that people don’t often get.

“They are more intimate shows,” Knoebel said. “It will be about an hour and they will be talking about what they do.”

The extension of Riverside Concerts to Austin is part of a much bigger drive to get different kinds of music out to the people of southeastern Minnesota, something it has been doing since before the turn of the previous century.

“Riverside Concert has been a city department since 1936, but it dates back to the turn of the previous century,” said Steve Schmidt, general manager of the series. “Our history began with our park band like so many small towns at the time.”

That park band, the Rochester Concert Band, is just one arm of an extremely busy music organization that features live shows in Mayo Park on the river, Mayo Civic Center, and of course, the outreach to places like Austin.

These shows are mini-residencies and grand total there are three locations this year including the Paramount that falls under Riverside’s World Music Concert Series.

“We really like mixing it up to introduce the region to music and musicians that they’ve never heard before,” Schmidt said. “It’s been really exciting. We’ve had Tuvan throat singers, artists from Quebec, India, various countries in Africa and South and Central America. It’s been a wonderful thing to introduce music to our region.”

 Spreading the sound

Groups like Rochester’s Riverside Concerts follow a very simple path when you get by how much work it takes to organize and get the groups out — Spreading the sound.

“It’s being able to bring in these big name artists who are international that we wouldn’t be able to bring in otherwise,” Knoebel said. “Rochester isn’t that far. We give them a chance to listen and if you want to hear more you can go over to Rochester.”

Helping spread the word is the idea that the crowd will get the chance to interact with the artists themselves.

“While the shows at the Paramount are only an hour long, we have artists that have the ability to cross the footlights and engage in conversation,” Schmidt said. “We encourage people to ask questions of the artists and the artists also stick around and talk to the guests.”

It’s part of what works for Riverside Concerts in working with outlying organizations like the Paramount. Audiences may not be getting the whole show, but they are getting an experience most won’t get.

And in the end, it works for everybody, because the sound does indeed get out and word of these artists many haven’t heard of reaches new ears.

“We want to be able to share the great things happening in Rochester with the rest of the region,” Schmidt said. “It helps with audience development purposes. Hopefully they will see a group and will want to see these groups again.”

Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino
Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino

 The acts

The three acts schedule to appear at the Paramount are once again a great example of the partnership in the World Concert Series.

The Twin Cities-based artist Greg Herriges kicks things off for Austin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Though rooted in the Metro area, Herriges has been delving into the world music scene in the Twin Cities, working with world music artists who have settled in the area.

“He is a guitarist with midwestern heart but he has the soul of a guitar player from India,” Schmidt said.

It’s this collaboration that makes Herriges one of the best examples of what this series is trying to accomplish.

“He’s part of a music genre called world music and he’s a good example of this,” Knoebel said. “I think it will be a great way to expose people to music they might not know was there. The beauty is it’s not specific to one sort of ethnicity. It’s more variety.

At 7 p.m. on July 10 the people of Austin will be exposed to an Italian experience with Canzoniere Grecanico Salention, Italy’s longest-standing traditional music ensemble.

The group takes its sound from traditional Italian sounds as well as from the surrounding Mediterranean region. Formed in 1975 the band features a broad range of interments as well as a dancer that is part of the group. The ensemble is made up of Mauro Durante, Maria Mazzotta, Masimiliano Morabito, Giulio Bianco, Giancarlo Paglialunga, Emanuele Licci and Silvia Perrone.

“They perform European carnival street festival music,” Schmidt said. “It’s unlike anything I had heard and when I saw them in New York, I knew I wanted to bring them to our region.”

Pacific Curls
Pacific Curls

The final act is Pacific Curls and they will play at 7 p.m. on Aug. 28.

This group, consisting of Kim Halliday, Ora Barlow and Jessie Hindlin combine styles from halfway around the globe with a melding of Pacific style beats and Celtic music with lyrics in both Maori and English.

Mix in jazz chordal transitions and you have one of the more varying acts to hit the Paramount.

“This is a totally new form of music,” Schmidt said. “Exotic polynesian music married with traditional Sheltland fiddle.”

All of these shows are made possible through money from the Clean Water, Land & Legacy Amendment, an important component to cities bringing in these music acts.

“We encourage folks to turn out,” Schmidt said. “This money makes it possible to take these shows on the road. We encourage to turn out and see the hard work that we and Jennie and her group does. It’s a team effort.”

“It’s free,” Knoebel said. “It’s an hour of your time and a great chance to check out music you wouldn’t think to listen to.”


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