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‘Global Folk’ Music Series Will Feature Irish Jigs, Bluegrass and Music of Persia at Hennepin County Library March-May
A lively mix of folk music from around the world for all ages — from lilting Irish jigs to soulful original bluegrass and the sounds of Persia — will entertain and increase cultural understanding at “Global Folk” programs March 9-May 18 at Hennepin County libraries. Admission is free.
“Global Folk” programs are enjoyable and educational “together time” for families. Karl von Reuter of Minneapolis attended a program in January. “What a great surprise to walk into Washburn Library on a weekend morning to find a beautiful live musical performance,” he said. “Not only was the music entertaining for me and my three kids, the musicians offered narrative explanations of the cultural significance of the music. This type of experience makes a Minneapolis neighborhood an absolute joy to live and raise a family in!”
Global Folk: Songs From Ireland
Saturday, March 9, 2–3 p.m.
Wayzata Library
Register online or call 612-543-6150.

Saturday, March 16, 2–3 p.m.
Hosmer Library
Register online or call 612-543-6900.
Northern Gael will enliven your pre-St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans when it performs traditional songs, music and jigs of Ireland, some in Gaelic and accompanied by virtuoso performances on traditional instruments such as guitar, bodhrán (frame drum), button accordion, wooden flutes, whistles, concertina and bagpipes.
Northern Gael is a collaboration of award-winning musicians/recording artists Ross Sutter and Laura MacKenzie and dancer Danielle Enblom. Accolades for their artistry include “masterful” (St. Paul Pioneer Press), “one of the loveliest CDs I’ve ever heard” (review of “Ye Banks and Braes,” in Irish American News), “Celtic music wizard” (Star Tribune) and “a jewel in the Twin Cities crown of Celtic players” (Irish Gazette).
Sutter was trained in music at Luther College, and MacKenzie at Beloit College and the University of Minnesota. Both say their most important “training” has been spending time in workshops, kitchens, dance halls and pubs with traditional musicians in Ireland, Scotland and throughout the U.S. Enblom has studied dance and fiddle in the U.S. and Ireland, including a year of music study at University College Cork in Ireland, and teaches traditional Irish step and sean nós dancing.
Northern Gael has appeared at the Guthrie Theater, the Landmark Center, the Dublin Irish Festival, the Walker Art Center, the Children’s Museum, on “A Prairie Home Companion” radio show and at many other notable venues and festivals.
“Traditional Irish music transcends the lines of ancestry,” said MacKenzie, whose heritage is Scottish. “The lively dance tunes and their accompanying steps are delightful and engaging for all ages, and the traditional songs speak with words and melodies captivating for all.”
Global Folk: Bluegrass
Washburn Library
Saturday, April 13, 2–3 p.m.
Registration required, begins March 16. Register online or call 612-543-8375.
North Regional Library
Saturday, May 4, 2:30–3:30 p.m.
Registration required, begins April 6. Register online or call 612-543-8450.
The award-winning Ivory Bridge Bluegrass Band, well-known and accomplished veterans on Minnesota’s music scene who have shared the stage with regional and national talents, will perform original and traditional bluegrass music with a contemporary style.
Kathleen Liners (songwriter of most of their tunes, plus vocalist and stand-up bass player), Bill Liners (guitar and vocals), John Bodle (guitar, banjo, mandolin and some songwriting) and Jim Tordoff (banjo and some songwriting) share a great love and respect for bluegrass’ origins while creating their own unique sound.
Bill Liners has won the Minnesota State Flatpick Championship twice and Bodle has taken second place. Kathleen Liners has won the Minnesota Vocal Duet Championship.
“Bluegrass is a traditional American genre that defines the ‘edge’ of acoustic music and is best described as ‘the Wall of Sound,’” Bill Liners, co-founder of the group, said. “It is an energetic and dynamic music that is played with finesse and precision. It requires no drums to create the groove, and it requires no fancy electronics or effects to give it that ‘rich, high, lonesome sound.’ In fact, these add-ons only serve to detract from the true essence of the music.”
Global Folk: Music of the Middle East
Saturday, April 13, 2–3 p.m.
Plymouth Library
Registration required, begins March 16. Register online or call 612-543-5825.
Saturday, May 18, 2-3 p.m.
Sumner Library
Registration required, begins April 20. Register online or call 612-543-6875.
The ancient kingdom of Persia consisted of many countries of today, and Iranian-American musician Maryam Yusefzadeh says the music, languages and lifestyles of the region reflect the intermingling of all of those people. Hear the sounds of Persia and learn about its culture, history and geography when Robayat — award-winning recording artists Yusefzadeh, Tim O’Keefe and David Burke — performs for all ages.
Playing on drums (daf, tombak, dayereh, darbooka and others) and strings (setar, guitar, ude and others), the trio will entertain with ethnic and traditional samplings from Persia.
“This music and poetry represents the heart and soul of the people of that region,” Yusefzadeh said.
Yusefzadeh trained at the Tehran School of Music, and after immigrating to the U.S., at the University of Minnesota. She has created music for local theater and is a co-founder of Minnesota Global Arts. O’Keefe, a well-known percussionist in the Twin Cities ethnic music community, has extensive experience in Persian, Brazilian and Arabic music styles and also has created music for local theater. Burke studied Middle Eastern stringed instruments in Qatar and has performed and/or recorded with ensembles throughout North America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
Winner of a Minnesota Music Award, Robayat has mesmerized audiences at Orchestra Hall, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Northrup Auditorium, on Minnesota Public Radio, and at many other venues.
Funding for “Global Folk” programs is provided by Minnesota’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund. For more information, call the libraries or go to www.hclib.org.

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