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Minnesota Music Notes | Minnesota Music Notes: Seasons 1 & 2

Minnesota Music Notes: Stories from First Avenue | celebrating noteworthy artists, people and moments that shaped the history of Minnesota’s Mainroom First Avenue

Minnesota Music Notes: Seasons 1 & 2 | celebrating noteworthy songs, artists, and musical performances from Minnesota

Jayanthi Kyle and Wes Burdine Pen an Anthem

Jayanthi Kyle and Wes Burdine from the group Gospel Machine were finishing the lyrics and melody of a new song hours before Kyle had to premier it outside the Government Center in Minneapolis. In this segment, Britt Aamodt examines how their song, “Hand in Hand,” became the unofficial anthem of Black Lives Matter – Minneapolis.

A New Accordion Sound

If you took accordion lessons in Duluth between the 1950s and ‘70s, you probably had John Copiskey as a teacher. And if Copiskey was your teacher, then you probably played on a Duluth Accordionaires album. Britt Aamodt shares the story of a music teacher, his students and their new accordion sound.

Music for a Meatpacker’s Strike

In 1985, the union workers at the Hormel plant in Austin, Minnesota, went on strike. When they did, Minnesota’s musicians rallied behind them. Britt Aamodt takes a listen to the benefit album Boycott Hormel: Live from Austin.

Venus de Wow

In the 1990s, Venus de Mars was the goddess of Minneapolis dark glam with her group All the Pretty Horses. Today, she is an icon. Britt Aamodt takes a look at how a musical rebel became a trailblazer for transgender artists.

Hmong Hip Hop Pioneer Tou SaiKo Lee

Tou SaiKo Lee is a man of words. He’s a poet, spoken word artist and hip hop emcee. Britt Aamodt tells the story of how Lee married his Hmong heritage with a hip-hop beat in the group Delicious Venom.

The Qeej: Instrument of Celebration and Afterlife Journeys

The ancient Hmong culture developed a number of musical instruments. Britt Aamodt looks at the qeej, an instrument whose tradition that is kept alive and celebrated by St. Paul’s Hmong community.

Minnesota’s First Rock-n-Roll Record

Cornbread Harris was a Minneapolis pianist noodling around with a song recorded by the Count Basie Orchestra. Augie Garcia was a guitarist from St. Paul, who started improvising lyrics over Cornbread’s piano. Britt Aamodt tells how together the two came up with Minnesota’s first recorded rock-n-roll single.

When Bruce Swedien Met Billie Jean

Bruce Swedien set up his first recording studio in his parents’ basement in Minneapolis. But he’s best known for his work with Michael Jackson. Britt Aamodt looks back at 1982 and Swedien’s contribution to “Billie Jean”, the breakout track from Thriller, still the best-selling album of all time.

Thomas Abban: A Sheik’s Legacy

How does a kid go from being a coffee shop guitarist to City Pages’ best new music act of the Twin Cities? Britt Aamodt unravels the legend of Thomas Abban and his 2017 album A Sheik’s Legacy.

The Wallets Cash Out

The Wallets were a band in 1980s Minneapolis known for their high-energy jams and theatric performances. Producer Daniel Zamzow describes how in one of their earlier shows at Jay’s Longhorn Bar, the band attempted a prank that didn’t go as planned.

Supported by...

McKnight FoundationPohlad family foundationThe Minneapolis FoundationSaint Paul & Minnesota Foundation