Make your best “big cat” face

photo by B Fresh Photography

Guante & Big Cats at Bedlam: Make your best “big cat” face

We checked out the Guante and Big Cats release show for their new album, ” An Unwelcome Guest” over at the Bedlam Theater, and we asked you to give us your best “big cats” face. Here are our Top 10 as well as pics from the show. PHOTOS BY B FRESH PHOTOGRAPHY. To view the slideshow link to original post on City Pages on 13 December 2009.

‘An Unwelcome Guest’ in Star Tribune

Wanna Guante?
By CHRIS
RIEMENSCHNEIDER
Star Tribune

Another deep-voiced, grit-kicking MC in the style of Crescent Moon and No Bird Sing’s Joe Horton, Guante’s full-length debut, “An Unwelcome Guest,” is a concept album about a weary traveler walking through a land of zombies. No, it’s not about a recent trip to Uptown. The real-life Kyle Myhre, who got his start as a spoken-word poet, co-produced the album with wild-eyed beatmaker Big Cats!, with whom he’s performing at Saturday’s release party at Bedlam Theater, 1501 S. 6th St., Mpls., with openers No Bird Sing and Kristoff Krane (10 p.m., $5-$7). Guests include Haley Bonar, Big Quarters and Chastity Brown.

Original post on Star Tribune on 10 December 2009.

Guante + Big Cats: ‘An Unwelcome Guest’ CD Release Party

Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records presents:
Guante & Big Cats: “An Unwelcome Guest” CD release party

Mark your calendars.  December 12, 2009 will be the Twin Cities release party for Guante + Big Cats’ debut LP, “AN UNWELCOME GUEST,” at the Bedlam Theater in Minneapolis.  Supporting acts will include No Bird Sing, Kristoff Krane and The Tribe.  The show will be 18+ and start at 10pm.  Tickets are $5 in advance, and $7 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased at Fifth Element. Bedlam Theatre, 1501 – 6th Street South, Minneapolis, MN 55454.

AN UNWELCOME GUEST is a hip hop concept album from Twin Cities producer BIG CATS and rapper GUANTE.  Over fifteen tracks, the album tells the story of one man moving from east to west in the wake of a man-made disaster and his own personal tragedy.  Also, there are zombies.

The album features guest appearances from HALEY BONAR, PROLYPHIC (of Strange Famous Records), BIG QUARTERS, CHASTITY BROWN and ERIC BLAIR (of Hyder Ali and No Bird Sing).  Through the album’s unique narrative frame, these artists join Guante in exploring issues of displacement, authority and the difference between the violence of the oppressor and the violence of the oppressed.  Also: zombies.

Stay tuned.  Much more (including the first single, some exclusive video stuff and more announcements) coming soon.

An Unwelcome Guest Release Party Flyer (Back) (700pxl)

Chastity Brown opens for Toshi Reagon

chastity brown (dusty) 2 (700pxl)Toshi Reagon with Chastity Brown @ The Cedar
November 15th
Cedar Cultural Center
7:00pm

In some ways, singer Toshi Reagon is a throwback to classic R & B artists, like Stevie Wonder or Prince, or old school rock group like Led Zeppelin; she can take any style, update it, and make it her own with incredible ease. Despite (or because of) her genre-bending, Toshi fits comfortably on a stage at Carnegie Hall, or in a dirty rock club. Toshi is an artist who’s known for energetic performances and a exemplary gift for writing engaging songs that provoke listeners to think and have fun at the same time.

Toshi finds a kindred spirit with soulful opening act Chastity Brown. With her nose ring and her loose dreads sprouting every which way in a free-fro, Minneapolis singer-songwriter Chastity looks like an urban Rastafarian, a Marley-loving Bohemian. When she opens her mouth in song, however, she reveals a complex soul — a country-born, gospel-raised, activist poet who sings about women, race, love and politics with an edgy tenderness.

Tickets go on sale at noon Fri Oct 16 from the Cedar Ticketline (612-338-2674 ext 2), Cedar outlets, and online at Ticketweb. $15 advance, $18 day of show. The Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55454.

Guante + Big Cats! ‘An Unwelcome Guest’ Megamix

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Noam the Drummer put together this megamix of our new album, An Unwelcome Guest, essentially condensing an hour-long zombie-superhero-love-story concept album into 15 crazy minutes. In it, you’ll hear some flashes of the story, a few of our guests (Haley Bonar, Chastity Brown, Eric Blair of No Bird Sing; the album also features Big Quarters and Prolyphic, though they’re not in this mix) and an idea of how the album as a whole sounds. We’ll be releasing the LP in December on Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records. Think of this as the trailer. – Kyle “Guante” Myhre. To hear the megamix, link here.

Chastity Brown features at Peace Ball

chastitybrownheadshot1The PEACE Foundation is gathering people from across all divides at the 6th annual PEACE Ball to celebrate the movement to end local violence! Get your groove on to dance floor favorite, Soul Tight Committee! Catch up with your partners in the movement to the soulful, acoustic music of Star Tribune “local top 10 artist” Chastity Brown. Enjoy complimentary appetizers and cash-bar cocktails. Bid on fabulous Northside goods and services at the PEACE Ball Silent Auction. View photographs by acclaimed Northside photographer Tobechi Tobechukwu, whose work helps to create dialogue and serve as an impetus for social change, reconciliation and healing.

PEACE Ball
Saturday, October 10th
7pm to midnight

Lincoln School, 12th & Penn Ave N
North Minneapolis

Tickets and Tables

Individuals:
Basic donor individual level / $55
If you can give more / $100

Buy a table of eight at two levels:
Basic donor table level / $440
Corporate table level / $1000

A limited number of community tickets for $15 are available. If you are from North Minneapolis and would like to attend at this level, please call 612-521-4405. If you have extra spots at your table, let us know and we will offer them to guests to attend at a community ticket level.

Ticket proceeds will support the work of the PEACE Foundation, a 501C3 nonprofit. The PEACE Foundation is creating a grassroots movement across race, class and geography to significantly reduce local violence starting in North Minneapolis. All ticket donation amounts over $25 will be tax-deductible.

E.G. Bailey’s 9/11 Memorial ‘Twin Towers’

Twin Towers Single Cover Front (600pxl)

E.G. BAILEY’s  9/11 MEMORIAL ‘TWIN TOWERS’
A Poignant  and Impressive Marriage of Poetry + Music
featuring Chasity Brown + J. Otis Powell!

Noted Twin Cities poet and producer, e. g. bailey, started writing “Twin Towers” the morning of the 9/11 attacks.  Eight years later, his evocative words seem even more resonant.

Recording two versions of the track, one with bailey himself and one with renowned spoken-word artist, J. Otis Powell! (both featuring singer songwriter Chastity Brown), bailey is releasing the track on September 11, 2009 in memory of those lost and for those who continue to feel the aftereffects of the attacks every day.

Bailey’s ‘Twin Towers’ is a moving memorial encompassing the gravity of 9/11 from a 3rd person perspective while reverberating with a visceral sense of poignancy. It is an impressive yet poetic lament on this historic tragedy.

Indeed, when Brown sings, “I watched the buildings crumble,” it’s not just the physical structures she’s describing. Likewise, “what monument will be erected to honor those we mourn?” refers to something deeper than steel and concrete.  She is able to effortlessly bring e.g.’s melodies to life.

The track also features an interpolation of Langston Hughes’ words describing the aftermath of the Battle of Stalingrad in his poem ‘Stalingrad: 1942′: “Out of the rubble from a dead hand lifted––/Out of the rubble from a lost voice calling––/I gather instead another world is falling”.

“Twin Towers” honors those lost while asking the all-important question: how do our spirits respond to tragedy and injustice? A testament to remembrance, peace and the power of the human spirit, the tracks are available online as free downloads at www.truruts.com.

FREE DOWNLOAD LINK:

• Free high quality audio download at Bandcamp.com: http://egbailey.bandcamp.com/

• Free Download at Zshare.com:
- Twin Towers (featuring J. Otis Powell! + Chastity Brown): http://bit.ly/ETP2q
- Twin Towers (featuring e.g. bailey + Chastity Brown): http://bit.ly/XV5Gn

• Free Download at Myspace:
http://myspace.com/trurutshttp://myspace.com/egbailey

• Direct Download to your computer: http://bit.ly/twintowers

CREDITS:

1. Twin Towers (featuring J. Otis Powell! + Chastity Brown)
written by e.g. bailey; music by Chastity Brown
produced by e.g. bailey + Ben Durrant

2. Twin Towers (featuring e.g. bailey + Chastity Brown)
written by e.g. bailey; music by Chastity Brown
produced by e.g. bailey + Ben Durrant

Executive Produced by e.g. bailey + Sha Cage • Produced by e.g. bailey + Ben Durrant • Mastering: Hipgnosis
Design: Matt Wood • Art Direction: e.g. bailey

Brought to you by Trú Rúts Endeavors: Harvesting the Tree of Life.
© 2009 Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records.

E.G. BAILEY

There is very little in the realm of Spoken Word that E.G. BAILEY has not done. One of the most prolific and innovative spoken word artists of his generation, he has been called a spoken word extraordinaire. Amiri Baraka states, ‘He makes language live.’ A multi-disciplinary Liberian American artist, who works in theatre, film, radio and spoken word, often mixing the different disciplines in his work, he has been creating work in these mediums for the last 15 years. As a performer he has worked solo, or with a band, dancers and vocalists. He is influenced by the jazz aesthetic and often works with jazz musicians, but has also worked with singer songwriters, and hip hop artists. He has been known arrived in a new city, gather an ensemble of musicians and improvise with them. He is both adaptive and versatile.

He has not only created innovative works, but founded a number of endeavors and organizations that have provided opportunities for other artists. The core of his work, whether in theatre, music, film or radio, has been grounded in the art form of spoken word. He not only practices the art form but teaches, promotes, writes about and works to advance the art form. In his work, he specializes in studying and teaching the history of spoken word, and how it has developed from the griot tradition in Afrika, and influenced literary movements throughout time, including the Harlem Renaissance, the Beat Generation, the Black Arts Movement, the Slam Movement and others. He also teaches how it helped to create the Hip Hop Movement, and how it continues to influence artists–poets, musicians and filmmakers alike. He has produced over 15 albums and singles for a number of artists in spoken word and hip hop, and produced a noted and innovative National Poetry Month radio series for 9 years. He has developed radio formats and radio shows that promote poetry, spoken word and hip  hop. In the same program, you may hear Claude McKay, Daara J, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Zap Mama, Fela, Common, Langston Hughes and the Last Poets.

He is currently working on his album, ‘American Afrikan’, traversing experiences as a child born in Afrika and raised in America. It brings together Afrobeat musical stylings and spoken word, along with hip hop and other genres. It also has songs in Igbo (Nigeria), Mano (Liberia), and includes artists roots in Ghana, Guinea, Senegal, Tanzania and Germany. Part of the goal of the album is to highlight the talents of Afrikans living in the U.S., and also to show how Afrikans are influencing and changing America in the areas of music, politics and the literary arts. The first single from the album, called ‘America’, has already been well received.

e.g.bailey has won awards in poetry, filmmaking, and radio, and has traveled to South Africa, England, Bosnia, West Africa, the United Arab Emirates and more for his work. He is a winner of the Hughes Knight Diop Poetry Award and several of his poems have been published in Solid Ground, the millennial issue of Drumvoices Revue, and Warpland, a publication by the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for creative writing. He is also the co-founder of the MN Spoken Word Association, Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records, and Arkology spoken word and music collective. Most recently he was honored at the 2009 Urban Griots Awards for “Outstanding Contributions” to the spoken word art form.  To learn more about e.g. bailey, go to www.truruts.com, www.egbailey.com, or www.myspace.com/egbailey.

CHASTITY BROWN

Chastity Brown is “…a roots soul singer of the first order,” as noted by music critic, Jim Walsh. With her folk-jazz style, this Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter has been steadily winning over her audiences since the release of her debut album, “Do the Best You Can.” Playing more than 150 dates in the past year, Chastity Brown has become known as a gospel-raised, activist poet who sings about race, love, and politics with an edgy tenderness. Her lyrics are both personal, infused with a deeply rooted spirituality, and politically, ethically hard hitting. She wrote her first song at age 15 in her home state of Tennessee and began her growing repertoire in public playing saxophone, piano, drums, and guitar.

Chastity Brown is drawn to the power of music. Her fans are continually amazed at how passionately she can bring them into real life situations of overcoming struggle and then walk them out with a blues, stomp-enticing groove. In 2007, she began gigging full-time in jazz clubs, festivals, folk houses, and college campuses. She is often accompanied by Micheal X. on drums and Adam Wozniak on upright bass. www.myspace.com/chastitybrown

J. OTIS POWELL!

J. Otis Powell! is a writer, performer, educator, curator, producer, consultant and arts administrator. He is also a practitioner of Open Space Technology and has used OST for more than fifteen years with notable success in various productions, in educational scenarios, in administrative consultations and as a means to resolve conflicts. J. Otis lives and works in a jazz aesthetic while calling attention to the improviser in us all; the Open Space everywhere and artificial constructs that keep us from freedom. He is no longer preoccupied with what he has done and focused on who he is because of his experience.

Current projects include but are not limited to: writing a novel titled Bottomless Sky, a new collection of poems titled Chocolate Blue and collaborating with several individual artists on long term endeavors. He’s also working as a radio producer at KFAI Community Radio, a curator with Pangea World Theater on Bridges, as a mentor, editor and roster artist for The Givens Foundation for African American Literature, collaborating with The April Sellers Dance Collective and occasionally performing solo and with various ensembles through out the state of Minnesota and the USA. www.myspace.com/jotispowell

Twin Towers Single Cover Back (600pxl)

An Unwelcome Guest Welcomes Guests

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New album from Guante & Big Cats! boasts some killer guest-spots

“An Unwelcome Guest,” the zombie-superhero-love story hip hop concept album from Twin Cities duo Guante & Big Cats!, wrapped recently after a couple of grueling sessions at Ben Durrant’s Crazy Beast Studio.  While the album itself won’t be released until late 2009, label Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records is leaking the guest roster now.

The most recognizable name is probably Haley Bonar, the popular singer/songwriter who just made the move to Portland after a long and successful stay in the Twin Cities.  Bonar lends her distinctive voice to “The National Anthem,” a dark and propulsive track that mixes an eerie piano sample, lyrical throwbacks to Pete Rock & CL Smooth, and the first appearance of the album’s signature catchphrase: “we are waking up in our caskets.”

Another singer, Twin Cities-by-way-of-Knoxville folk/soul artist Chastity Brown makes an appearance on the track “Welcome to the Border.”  Successfully blending threatening with beautiful, her sections of the song are warnings: “crawling, walking, running, pressing up against your lovely lines/ we are underwater breathing, we are walking through your fire/ pressure building, burning, pressing up against your lovely home/ we are so close…”

The Twin Cities vibrant hip hop scene is well represented by guest spots from Big Quarters (on “The Stockholm Syndrome”) and Eric Blair of the bands Hyder Ali and No Bird Sing (on “Yes God is a DJ; No, Not a Good One”).  All three emcees get to flex their creativity and develop characters that fit into Guante’s overarching narrative, the story of one man traveling from east to west in the wake of a man-made disaster.

Finally, Strange Famous (home of Sage Francis, B.Dolan and Doomtree’s Cecil Otter) recording artist Prolyphic delivers a fiery storytelling verse alongside Guante and Big Quarters on “The Stockholm Syndrome,” a track about survival at all costs.

“I love putting people on the same song whom you wouldn’t ever expect to be on the same song,” Guante says.  The track with Prolyphic and Big Quarters is a monster, and the one with me and Haley Bonar might be my favorite on the album; who would ever think that she’d sound so natural and at-home on a hip hop album about displacement, zombies and the political/social nature of violence?”

Add to this the beat-making talents of Big Cats! and the critically acclaimed lyrics and vocals of rapper, slam poetry champion and activist Guante, and you’ve got a potent mix. “An Unwelcome Guest” will be out late in 2009 on Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records.

For further updates, check out http://deadrunning.blogspot.com and http://www.truruts.com.

Chastity Brown kicks off Five Days in September Residency at 331 Club

chastitybrown copy

Chastity Brown has had a summer of highlights including the Shadow & Light Tour through out the Southwest, the East Coast Fling mini tour (which featured her first New York performance + a performance as part of the Woman’s Music Series at Highlands Inn), the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, the Stone Arch Festival, the Art A Whirl, the St. Paul Art Crawl, the LaCrosse Pride Festival, and a spotlight on TPT’s Almanac. She will be capping off the summer with the Five Days in September residency at the 331 Club. The residency will take place every Tuesday in September and will also feature some of the Twin Cities dynamic singer songwriters, including Nick ‘The Feelin’, The Floorbirds, Aby Wolf, Paul (from Painted Saints), and Javier Trejo.

Every Tuesdays in September. 9:00pm. Free. 331 Club, 331-13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN.

Chastity Brown returns to Gun Flint Tavern in Grand Marais

Chastity Brown Gun Flint Poster Sept Final (700pxl)