music

Patty Larkin / Facebook

In the music world, you could very easily nominate Patty Larkin as Milwaukee’s favorite daughter. Larkin grew up here before moving on to make a name for herself for her proficiency as a musician and a songwriter.

Larkin recorded her first album in 1985, and 12 more followed. She also has played as part of the Four Bitchin’ Babes, and has championed the cause of fellow women guitarists. Larkin has long lived in Massachusetts, but returns to her hometown every so often, including this fall, when she visited family and played a show to benefit the Urban Ecology Center.

Mark Squires

In 2004, when Matisyahu burst on the scene with his album Shake Off the Dust…Arise, he stood out in more ways than one. Bearded with traditional Hasidic garb and payos (religious sidelocks), he weaved together many genres: beatbox, rap, reggae, and spiritual song.

haywardwilliams.com

Singer-songwriter Hayward Williams finished writing and recording his new album, Pretenders, last October. A lot has happened, both in the world and in the life of Hayward Williams in the 13 months since. But that doesn’t make the songs on Pretenders any less relevant.

Maayan Silver

Singer-songwriter Mike Mangione joins Lake Effect on a semi-regular basis to talk about some of the big questions he explores with people in his podcast, Time and the Mystery. But the Milwaukee-based musician continues to create music, and he recently teamed up with SistaStrings - a cello and violin duo made up of sisters Monique and Chauntee Ross. 

Marcus Goldhaber

Thinking about veterans does not have to be limited to Veteran's Day. That's the concept behind New York-based musician Marcus Goldhaber's new album Carry You On.  It’s an album with a unique hook, to get civilians and veterans to have meaningful conversations with each other.

Joy Powers

Skipper’s Alley has found a following in places far from their home in Dublin. The Irish band has played on cruise ships, on a St. Patrick’s Day tour in the African nation of Zambia, and now the group is bringing their music to Milwaukee with a performance at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center

Skipper's Alley describes itself as a "modern Irish folk band with an old-school approach," and their music falls within the traditional Irish music genre - more generally. 

norajanestruthers.com

Nora Jane Struthers has made a pretty big splash with her latest album. Champion earned a glowing review from rock critic Ken Tucker on Fresh Air recently, and the record got its streaming debut through the NPR website.

Photo by Caleb Hamernick / calebhamernick.com

Milwaukee-raised songstress Lili K was first featured on Lake Effect in February 2016 after her first album Ruby was released. Since then, the singer has kept busy - she performed at major national music festivals, appeared as a background vocalist on FOX’s hit show Empire, and had a Jazz Night Residency at Soho House Chicago.

Courtesy Randex Communications

There were many contemporary western musicians who performed with South African artists, especially as Apartheid was winding down in the late 1980s.

But musicians like Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel never went to jail for playing with those artists.  Johnny Clegg did.  Clegg moved to South Africa as a boy in the late 1960s and was attracted to the culture and tunes of Zulu street musicians in Johannesburg.  That was not legal in those days, but it didn’t deter him. 

Black Violin / Facebook

Classical music can have an elitist reputation. The conventional repertoire is based almost exclusively on the work of western European white men, and the typical audiences for those works are largely older, and also white. But the duo Black Violin thinks the music of Bach is sublime and want to bring it to people who might not otherwise hear it.

Before "Sunny Came Home" put her on the pop music map, singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin had earned a following in the folk music world, and even won a Best Contemporary Folk Album Grammy for her debut album, "Steady On."  But Colvin was hardly a household name.

So when she and her collaborator, producer Jon Leventhal, went into the studio to record the songs that would become the album, "A Few Small Repairs," their expectations were modest, and Colvin says that was fine by them.

John Sparrow / facebook.com

Of all the iconic names in Milwaukee history, among the most enduring on the musical front is the Violent Femmes. The band emerged from the punk scene more than 35 years ago and scored hits such as Gone Daddy Gone and Blister in the Sun, and became one of the top alternative rock bands of the 1980s. 

A lot has happened in the last year and a half for singer-songwriter Tift Merritt.  A new baby, a new album, and a new creative outlet - textile design. 

Almost none of it has come simply or easily.

photogolfer / Fotolia

Tomorrow evening at the North Shore Congregational Church in Fox Point, the Milwaukee/Chicago based Great Lakes Baroque ensemble opens its third season with a program that focuses on the music of the late French Baroque period.  Music for the Last Queen showcases French composers of the late 18th Century - just prior to the French Revolution.

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