Music | KCUR

Music

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Initiative to improve neighborhoods east of Troost Avenue calls for $13 million but fails to identify a source for the needed funds.

Ambitious in its scope, an ordinance approved by the Kansas City Council looks to remediate blight, help with home improvement and economic development, and combat gentrification in the eastern parts of the city. We heard what implementing the plan could mean for residents, and where the money could be found to make it happen.

A white haired man with a scarf on stands in front of a microphone. A black man in a yellow shirt stands behind him with a guitar.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Kansas City mayoral candidates attended a debate to address the concerns of future voters.

Jacob Blickenstaff

The Recording Academy on Friday announced the nominees for the 2019 Grammy Awards, and Kansas City-based blues artist Danielle Nicole is up for her first Grammy.

Her second solo album, "Cry No More," was tapped for Contemporary Blues Album.

Dante

Variety shows aren’t all gongs and spangles.

Besides simply being entertaining, such shows are ways for artists to help build their fan bases by “cross-pollinating audiences,” says Stephanie Roberts, a theater professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

She first saw this work when she lived in Seattle and was part of a company called Annex Theatre, which hosted a variety show called “Spin the Bottle.”

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City's troubled American Jazz Museum has new leadership after its interim board of directors unanimously elected a new board Tuesdsay afternoon.

The museum has been led by that interim board, and has not had an executive director, since Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner and most of the 22-member board resigned last spring after a highly critical consultants' report released in early April.

Segment 1: The finale of My Fellow Kansans.

This election season was a doozy in Kansas. So we look back with one last episode of My Fellow Kansans, exploring the outcome of the governor's race and putting it in context.

Segment 2, beginning at 21:25: The marching band experience.

Marching bands keep spectator spirits high. But there's more to it than the music. KCUR intern Sofia Gillespie brings us this story.

Sofia Gillespie / KCUR 89.3

Sara Corrigan of Overland Park is a designer. But instead of making logos out of ink, she makes them with high school and college band students on football fields.

“Marching band for me, the visual is what it is about,” says Corrigan.

Corrigan has been involved with marching bands for more than 20 years, both performing and offering choreography expertise on her website March and Spin. She balances her time designing halftime shows, judging performances, and working in the cafeteria at an elementary school.  

NormanCorwin.com

A new concert at the Lyric Opera recalls the Golden Age of radio, when anything was possible.

Evolving from the technology of World War I, broadcasts reached into millions of homes, filling billions of minds with the culture and news of the day.

One of the leading dramatists of radio’s heyday in the 1930s and 40s was Norman Corwin. Using only voices, sound effects and the occasional full orchestra, he invited listeners into worlds conjured entirely of suggestion and imagination.

Ted Riederer

Ted Riederer’s art makes him part of strangers’ intimate moments for three hours at a time. But he’s not so much a voyeur as a cultural witness.

He records people on vinyl, doing or saying whatever they’d like, for free. Over the years, he’s recorded amateur and professional musicians, people talking in person and over the phone, and even skateboarders riding around whatever space he's using.

Victoria Botero

A new combination of ancient song and contemporary dance draws beauty from the hidden history of women.

“Morena” is a Spanish word meaning “beautiful dark woman.” It is also the name of the latest project between Kansas City soprano and musicologist Victoria Botero, the Owen/Cox Dance Group, and a cadre of international musicians.

The Battery Tour

Oct 17, 2018

AY Young is a local musician who's making a name for himself across the country with solar-powered, community-centered concerts. We hear the story of how he learned to rap without ever having heard rap music, and he fills us in on what to expect from his Open Spaces show this Sunday. Plus, a look at the latest episode of My Fellow Kansans.

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Trumpeter Hermon Mehari, 31, is a Missouri native, who’s now based in Paris.

In 2010, Mehari graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance where, as a student, he earned early acclaim as one of the founders of Diverse. The jazz group released two CDs, and toured the U.S. and Europe. 

Mehari released his own debut album, "Bleu," in 2017. He spoke with Fish Fry host Chuck Haddix about his career and his ties to Kansas City: 

Eric Howarth

Jason Blackmore, front man for 1990s hardcore band Molly McGuire, is back in Kansas City this week. Instead of rocking out, though, he’ll be screening his documentary.

Emma Lou Diemer

Performing music by women is trickier than it would seem.

For centuries, women were discouraged or forbade from composing, their works relegated to salons and home audiences, and rarely published. In many cases, once a composer died, her oeuvre was abandoned and forgotten.

Helping to right that historic wrong is the Midwest Chamber Ensemble, presenting its fifth annual concert of women composers this weekend (the ensemble was founded in 2011).

MR King Images

Kansas City songwriter Amanda Fish has just proclaimed herself "Free." That's the title song on her newly released sophomore album, after 2015's "Down in the Dirt."

The record reflects Fish's literal and philosophical growth. The older sister of another Kansas City singer, Samantha Fish (who has a few more records to her credit), Amanda started playing music at 18 but set that aside to earn a living. By age 25, she was working as a security guard and unhappy, so she quit to go into music full time.

Chris Lee

No one who lives in the United States today is removed from the coal industry.

Composer Julia Wolfe makes that point in the final movement of her 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning oratorio “Anthracite Fields,” listing various everyday activities that require energy — baking a cake, drilling a hole, washing clothes — energy powered, at least in part, by the coal industry.

Oleta Adams / Folly Theater

A Grammy-nominated singer and pianist who has traveled the world performing blues and gospel music has a pretty simple answer for the question of why she still lives in Kansas City.

"Why not?"

Oleta Adams tried living other places that people might more quickly associate with an internationally recognized performer, but it just didn't seem practical.

William Burkle Photography

A legitimate rock star is leading a life of quiet anonymity in Johnson County.

As front man for the abrasive rock band Sevendust, Lajon Witherspoon has spent decades cultivating a rebellious image. When he’s not on stage, though, he embraces tranquil suburban domesticity.

“I've been wanting to be a part of this Kansas City lifestyle for a long time,” he insists. “I don't think people know that I even lived here.”

Brian Rice

This weekend’s Kansas City Irish Fest, which kicks off Friday at Crown Center when The Maguire Brothers take the stage at 5 p.m., marks the end of an era in local music history.

One of the region’s most popular musical groups of any genre, The Elders, will take the stage for the last time after performing for 16 consecutive years at the annual Labor Day weekend festival. 

The musicians' ages have finally caught up with the name of their band. They've been on a farewell tour throughout 2018, and now it’s time for them to say good-bye to a festival that has done so much to fuel their success.

Man in dirty jeans, a t-shirt and ball cap walking along a concrete median holding a cardboard sign out to cars along the road.
Hanlly Sam / The Accent / Flickr - CC

Segment 1: A proposed ordinance would limit the amount of time pedestrians could spend in crosswalks and traffic islands.

William P. Gottlieb

Mary Lou Williams only spent a dozen years in Kansas City during its first jazz heyday, but this is where she solidified her professional reputation, gaining the respect of leaders in the field.

“Mary Lou Williams is increasingly ranked as one of the most significant and influential composers to have ever made Kansas City their home base,” says Dan Cameron, artistic director of Open Spaces.

Among the ten-week festival's opening-weekend events is a free performance of Williams’ “Zodiac Suite” by the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra in Swope Park.

Jenny Wheat

When singer/songwriter Kelly Hunt arrived in Kansas City from Memphis three years ago, the relocation came with a surprise: There was already a well-known musician in town who had the same name — or practically the same. Kelley Hunt (who spells her name with just one more e than Kelly Hunt) is the R & B pianist who’s been rocking this region for a few decades.

Now, the newcomer says with a laugh, “I’m ‘Banjo Kelly Hunt’ in these parts.”

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City's first biennial Open Spaces launches this week. 

And, like the metropolitan area itself, Open Spaces is sprawling. It stretches 62 days, from August 25 to October 28, with more than 150 performing and visual artists.

File photo by Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Classical music doesn’t have to be an intellectual exercise. For composer Ingrid Stölzel, it's an accomplishment when the audience feels goosebumps.

“It’s such an amazing thing we can experience when listening to music. It’s just a physical reaction to what we’re experiencing,” Stölzel told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard. “It’s a phenomenal thing.”

Segment 1: The average age of the U.S. farmer is 60. Who will step up to feed America?

A recent documentary looks at the challenges the next generation of farmers in America are experiencing.

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