Northrop's 2019 Music On The Plaza Concerts Spotlight Nine Local Bands
Music on the Plaza, Northrop's popular free summer concert series, returns to campus in June with a mix of new bands and returning favorites. A campus tradition since the 1950s, the popular music series features Minnesota bands with a worldwide variety of styles. From Cajun dance music to punk-surf sounds, all concerts are free and run noon to 1:00 pm Wednesdays through early August on the Northrop Plaza. Audiences are invited to bring a lunch, find a seat and dance along to the sounds of local musicians. In case of inclement weather, check northrop.umn.edu for notification of a revised location or cancellation. These free events are part of a new #GopherSummer compilation of summer activities across the Twin Cities campus.
Here's the lineup, running noon-1:00 pm Wed, Jun 12 to Wed, Aug 7:
Funktion Junction pays homage to the legends that have played before by presenting a musical tribute to the popular dance music of the 1960s, '70s, and '80s. Funktion Junction are an ensemble of some of the best musicians in the Twin Cities, and they feel blessed to make the magic music from those decades like few others can. From Stevie Wonder to Marvin Gaye, this band of eight will entertain the masses.
New Riverside Ramblers
The high-spirited Cajun dance music of the New Riverside Ramblers derives from the rich heritage of the bayous and prairies of south Louisiana. The band covers a spectrum of old-style fiddle tunes, lively two-steps, soulful waltzes, gritty blues and rockin' honky-tonk sounds-all sounds from the dance halls and back porches of rural Louisiana. Inspired by legendary Cajun musicians, they overlay their own infectious feel that gets toes tapping.
Dan Newton's Café Accordion Orchestra
Dan Newton's Cafe Accordion Orchestra performs an eclectic mix of French flare, Latin heat, and Bohemian attitude. The heart of their repertoire is the romantic, gypsy-influenced valse-musette, which the group complements with swing, ballads, tangos, cha chas, rumbas, and cumbias to create a wonderfully varied show. They inject their music with good humor and expressive abandon for an entertaining concert act as well as a great dance band.
Innocent is a Rasta man who creates music that balances both reggae and his Tanzanian roots. His message is real and genuine. His hit song Kilimanjaro at first listen seems to be about the famous majestic mountain in Africa, but don't miss the references to oppressive governments, corrupt officials and starving children. Innocent's dedication to exposing international injustices and shining a light on unprivileged people in the world, makes him a rare breed.
The Fragrants are a new instrumental funk collaborative led by John Munson (The New Standards, Semisonic) and comprised of highly regarded groove loving players from the Twin Cities music scene, with Max Ray (The Wallets) on saxophone, Jacques Wait (The Boot R and B, Matt Wilson) on guitar, Sarah Burk (noted local jazz pianist) on organ and Richard Medek (Eric Koskinen) on drums. The band takes their cues from The Meters, Booker T and the MGs, Grant Green and Eddie Harris, among others, and always aim to get people onto their feet and dancing.
The Mae Simpson Band
The Mae Simpson Band are pure energy and soul. Hailing from South Carolina, singer-songwriter Mae has a huge voice and stage presence. She has brought together a collective of seven musicians who each bring a unique flavor to this powerhouse group that always brings the crowd to their feet with blistering funk and dance music mixed with soul, blues, country, calypso, jazz, rock, and even a little hip hop. Band members include Aaron Silverstein on drums, percussionist Ricardo J. Romero, Keaton Judy on saxophone, Paul Pederson on trumpet, bassist David Kellermann and guitarist Jorgen Wadkins.
Tim Sparks and Phil Heywood
Phil Heywood and Tim Sparks are two Minnesota acoustic guitar wizards who have both won the National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship. With more than 40 years of experience playing in bars, honkey tonks, and major European cultural citadels, they offer a rousing blend of country blues, ragtime, classic jazz, and special renditions of the likes of Merle Haggard, Tom Waits, Mark Knopfler, and Reverend Gary Davis.
Dave Sandersfeld's debut EP, Better Than This, was released in 2017 and is filled with lush arrangements, driving percussion and effortless melodies. A slice of Sandersfeld's world, his songs are honest ruminations on life, love, and the journey he has been on since his music-crazed teenage years playing guitar in his Mankato bedroom.
Founded in 2015 by guitarist Corinne Caouette and bassist Pamela Laizure, Minneapolis-based punk-surf-roxotica band Black Widows also includes Sarah Muellerleile on guitar and Kim Mancini on drums. Black Widows are known for their wily, surfy guitar storm and gritty bass grooves, topped by catchy lyrics and girl-group harmonies.
NORTHROP AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
Rooted in the belief that the arts are essential to the human experience, Northrop is committed to cultivating intersections between performing arts and education for the benefit of all participants now and for generations to come.
Artist and programs are subject to change.