Music roundup: African Children's Choir to make stop in Janesville

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By Bill Livick/Special to The Gazette
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Tannahill Weavers, 7 p.m. Sunday, May 14, Café Carpe, 18 S. Water St., Fort Atkinson. Tickets: $25. Call 920-563-9391.

Traditional Celtic music comes to the Café Carpe when The Tannahill Weavers take the stage.
The acoustic group is one of Scotland’s premier traditional bands, performing a diverse repertoire that includes topical songs, original ballads and high-energy instrumentals.

The Weavers formed in the 1970s and released their first album in ’76. Since then, they’ve released 16 more albums, toured internationally and earned a reputation as one of Celtic music’s most accomplished bands.

The group features tight four-part harmonies, sometimes sung in Gaelic, with spellbinding performances of modern and traditional folk songs. The Weavers incorporate such instruments as fiddle, large and small bagpipes, bouzouki, flute, bodhran and guitar, along with a blending of voices unmatched in Scottish music.

The band was inducted into the Scottish Music Hall of Fame in 2011. Three years later, the innovative piper Lorne MacDougall joined the group in time to perform on the band’s 17th recording, “Live and In Session,” which includes foot-stomping reels and jigs interspersed with the occasional slow ballad.

The 1975, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 16, The Rave, 2401 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee. Tickets: $39-$44. Call 414-342-7283.

British pop-rock band The 1975 draws on funk and other elements of “black American music” and combines them with themes of sex, love and fear to create a sound that’s both present and rooted in the past.

Bandleader Matt Healy cites such influences as Talking Heads, My Bloody Valentine and Michael Jackson in explaining the band’s history and evolution, while critics have described the band’s sound as electropop, funk rock, indie pop and pop rock.

The quartet began performing together in 2002, when its members were 15-year-old high school students. In 2012, the band released its first EP. One year later, it released its self-titled debut studio CD and toured extensively to promote its sound.

The 1975’s commercial breakthrough came in 2016 with the release of “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it.” The album reached No. 1 on both the UK charts and the U.S. Billboard 200, and in 2017, it won the Brit Award for Best British Group.

Healy cited D’Angelo, Roberta Flack, Boards of Canada and Sigur Rós as inspirations for the band’s latest album. He described The 1975 as “a post-modern pop band that references a million things. I don’t even know what my band is half the time,” in a 2016 interview in Paste magazine.
African Children’s Choir, 7 p.m. Friday, May 19, Crossroads Church, 3815 S. Dutch Mill Road, Madison. Call 608-222-1159. Also, 10:15 a.m. Sunday, May 21, First Lutheran Church, 612 N. Randall Ave., Janesville. Call 608-752-7434.

For 28 years, the African Children’s Choir has been a nonprofit humanitarian and relief organization dedicated to helping Africa’s most vulnerable children.

The choir, which features children between the ages of 7 and 12, was founded in 1984 in Uganda when founder Ray
Barnett gave a small boy a ride from his destroyed home to a safer village. During the journey, the child did what he knew how to do best—sing—and his song became the catalyst for a program that has changed the lives of thousands of children.

“When I went back to Canada and people were not very interested in Uganda, I remembered this small boy,” Barnett explains on the organization’s website. “I knew that if only a group of these beautiful children could go to the West, people would be deeply moved and would certainly want to help.”

From there, the African Children’s Choir was born. Barnett organized the first tour in 1984, and as the choir and organization to support it grew, so did the needs of the African children.

The choir began selecting Kenyan children in 1990, and by 2002, the first South African choir toured in North America. An organization that supports the choir, Music for Life, has now facilitated more than 40 tours through the US, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Bonobo, 8 p.m. Saturday, May 20, Orpheum Theater, 216 State St., Madison. Tickets: $25-$48. Call 608-255-8755.

British musician, DJ and producer Bonobo (Simon Green) returns to Madison in support of his new album, “Migration,” a fusion of experimental electronica and world music.

Green made the album exclusively on his laptop, mixing and engineering it at home in Los Angeles, but he reproduces the music live on tour with a 12-piece acoustic band.

Since releasing his debut album, “Animal Magic,” in 2000, Green has used the stage name Bonobo and explored electronic music with elements of jazz, Afrobeat, European electronica and Indonesian gamelan. His debut was “completely self-produced and self-instrumented,” according to his website, and Bonobo’s music has won acclaim for its thudding European electronica and impressionistic style.

His latest album, released in January, was driven by Green’s feeling of “displacement” after international touring for his previous album, “The North Borders,” in 2014 and some changing relationships. He settled in Los Angeles, an experience that shaped his latest album’s underlying themes.

“People think about L.A. as being sunny and relaxed, but there’s a darker side to it,” he told Paste magazine in January. “There’s people living in tents under bridges in the thousands. The culture almost encourages you to look the other way. I haven’t seen that kind of poverty since being in places like Mumbai.

“It’s right there, but a kilometer away you’ve got the mansions in Beverly Hills and people riding around in convertible cars with poodles on the back shelf. You have to take some sort of responsibility for that, you have to acknowledge it, but sometimes you’re encouraged not to. That side of L.A. really gets to you.”

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