The Minneapolis Sound On The Spotlight
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The Minneapolis Sound on the Spotlight

Do you remember the 1980´s worldwide number-one hit “Funkytown”? Of course you do, the unmistakable voice of singer-songwriter Cynthia Johnson stays in everybody’s head, a song that is still played regularly by radio stations across the globe, don´t you here it “… take me down to Funkytown ….” . You surely also know that this distinctive disco song as well as Prince´s and Bob Dylan´s voices will forever be linked with the Twin Cities sound. Still, these two cities continue to offer a vibrant, diversified music scene with many national and local greats, so the story goes on … .

Now there is a new television program that showcases and highlights the musical and general culture of the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) as well as several other American music cities. The other episodes focus on the vibrant music scenes of New Orleans, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Nashville, and Chicago. The show is traveling to each city and shines a spotlight on the distinct music venues and historical locations that have helped to shape the past, present, and future sounds of each respective city, while featuring live performances from well-known and up-coming bands from each city. This new TV series is hosted by singer-songwriter Cynthia Johnson and produced by Monika Hurka and Hans W. Stachowiak of the Minneapolis based production company Megabien Entertainment.

The first episode, appropriately enough, focuses on the celebrated Twin Cities. Very remarkable, the TV program is not only highlighting where the famous Minneapolis sound came from, but it is also showcasing where it is heading in the future.

Some of the high-points are Prince performing with his new all-girls band one of his new songs, not to forget that this camera-shy musical talent has been relatively silent during the last years, Grammy winner Joanne Shenandoah performing with the Native Pride Dancers at the Mill City Ruins, the location where people say Minneapolis was born, Mint Condition playing in front of the famous First Avenue Club, yes in front with the historic star-lined wall in the background, Grammy winner Kevin Bowe performing with Cynthia Johnson at the MN Music Café, a music venue that has been around forever having hosted almost all of the Twin Cities’ musical luminaries, or Ben Sidran joined by acclaimed bass player Billy Peterson, piano virtuoso Peter Schimke playing in the Sculpture Garden with a view to Minneapolis´ skyline. Oh, and not to forget the drum battle of Stokely Williams and Mario Dawson in an backyard alley that must have been out of the era of Al Capone, or the performance of five time Minnesota Music Award winner Desdamona, the premiere female hip hop and spoken word artist in the Midwest. And it goes on and on … .

But, what this TV program makes so special and unique is that it isn't just about music, it is also carefully featuring some of the most important venues which have been crucial backdrops to numerous of the Twin Cities artists' careers. Among them the First Avenue Club, the Wabasha Street Caves, the Loring Pasta Bar, Mill City Museum, the MN Music Café, plus several iconic, gorgeous outdoor locations, where you normally wouldn´t expect to have them perform. This episode celebrates such places for being just as synonymous to Minneapolis and St. Paul, as the hit "Funkytown" has been for many generations.

Curious? Of course, so watch out for the announcement of the broadcasting in US Television later this year (it already aired in Europe). A music lover or not, you definitely should not miss out this creative piece of history.


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