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Dyke About Town: Seattle Men's Chorus and Charlie Musselwhite

by Mercy Moosemuzzle - SGN Contributing Writer

Seattle Men's Chorus
Ole! Ole! Ole!


Mercy and Cuteness loved Seattle Men's Chorus' (SMC) salsa concert last week. The chorus was in good voice with the upbeat material. Their guests, the Bailadores de Bronce, danced masterfully. The band was hot. Mercy liked the fact that all the business of the concert was done bilingually. Cuteness liked it that the event ended with a chance for the public to dance, letting people put all that rhythm into their feet. She would like all of the SMC's concerts to end that way.

David Maddux's "Estilos Latina de la Danza" gave an opportunity to display salsa dancing that Cuteness felt missed its chance. She would have liked to have seen some of the salsa dancers from the Century Ballroom, who are much better dancers. She also wondered why so much of the dance in the program was repetitious and seemed inspired by the Chippendales.

Mercy enjoyed the appearance of Lucy and Ricky (the United States' most famous Cuban). She liked how the songs in "Hollywood Goes Latin" echoed those that had inspired them. The music from In the Heights moved her. She liked learning that "La Bamba" is a traditional wedding dance, and seeing the dance that goes with it, which involves the bride and the groom each tying a knot in a rope with their feet. She gets that it is metaphoric.

Emerald City Hoedown
Mercy and Cuteness are very excited about the Emerald City Hoedown, coming up April 23-25. A lot of country dance lovers will be polishing up their boots and coming from out of town for Rain Country's biggest event of the year.

You can find more information and registration at raincountrydance.org.

Free Concert at Jazz Alley
The Pacific Jazz Institute at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley presents a performance by The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz featuring Antonio Hart (saxophone) and Lisa Henry (vocals) with selected members from the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. Band members from LACHSA are students Zak Astor (piano), Max D'Anda (drums), John Egizi (trombone), Balam Garcia (bass), Adam Moezinia (guitar), and Max Zooi (saxophone).

The concert is part of the "Peer-to-Peer" jazz education program at Seattle Public Schools. Alongside Hart and Henry, jazz's future "young lions" will perform standards, jazz classics, and contemporary jazz, as well as compositions from Hart and Henry's latest CD releases. Renowned jazz educator Dr. J.B. Dyas will also be present.

The show will be on Monday, April 26. It starts at 7:30 p.m., doors open at 6 p.m. It is a complimentary performance, but reservations are required. You can get yours at www.jazzalley.com.

Compañía Nacional de Danza
One of Spain's national treasures, Compañía Nacional de Danza dazzled Seattle audiences the last time they were here. The virtuosity and commitment of the dancers combine with Artistic Director Nacho Duato's distinctive choreography to create an endless stream of unforgettable images. They should give the U.W. World Series 2009-'10 Dance season a spectacular finale.

The group performs Thursday through Saturday, April 22-24. You can get tickets at www.uwworldseries.org.

Charlie Musselwhite
"Blues is tough," Charlie Musselwhite explains. He could just as easily be talking about himself. Described by the San Jose Mercury News as "the second coming of Led Zeppelin, with Tom Waits on vocals," Charlie and his band embody the direct and timeless power of the blues.

Charlie continues to deliver that high-wattage intensity on stage, testifying to the truth of living in real America night in and night out. Whether it's the rough river town of Memphis of his childhood, the rough South Side Chicago juke joints where he cut his teeth as a performer, or the disillusioned 21st-century New Orleans, Musselwhite's music still speaks loud and clear to the soul with passion and grace.

When Charlie released his first record, 1967's defiant Stand Back, the country was in the midst of an unpopular war and entering the slipstream of rapid cultural and political change. Fast-forward four decades and not much has changed. Neither has Musselwhite's musical wanderlust, nor his creative ambition.

His hunger to explore new sounds and possibilities resulted in an acclaimed 2007 collaboration with alt-rock institution Eddie Vedder on the Golden Globe-nominated soundtrack to the film Into The Wild. Vedder's haunting vocals and Musselwhite's aching harp strains added to the movie's already powerful story. Charlie recalls recording sessions filled with mutual admiration. "It was great. Sean Penn was there, too. They were fans and knew a lot of my records. We hit it off right away and had great rapport."

Charlie describes this give and take between himself and performers from other generations and different genres as "a conversation." It is an ongoing one that has been a key reason why his music remains so vital. "Every situation has something to offer and can spark new ideas," he explains. "Something new comes out of it."

Musselwhite sums up: "It's like, I know what I know. What do you know that can make things even more interesting?"

For Charlie Musselwhite, the thrill and challenge of engaging an audience ultimately fuels his artistry. "It's about the feeling, and connecting with people," he explains, "And blues - if it's real blues - is loaded with feeling." Charlie continues that, "it ain't about technique, either; it's about truth, connecting to the truth and communicating with people."

Musselwhite will be at the Triple Door on Saturday, April 24. Tickets are available at www.thetripledoor.net.

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