Junauda Petrus

Recent Articles

Otaak Band brings East Sudanese soul to the west bank

 

By Junauda Petrus
Contributing Writer

 

It was a glimpse into a world nearly lost. But the rituals, the traditions, the passed down legacies and teachings from ancestors were still evident in his being. Ahmed Said Abuamna, from Otaak Band, sang as though the music was shooting up from the ground through him, his voice sounding transcendent of earthliness. Watching the smooth and effortless way in which movements flowed from Abuamna’s limbs and in the way songs poured seemingly unencumbered from his soul at the January 29th performance at the Cedar Cultural Center, became a reminder of the importance of keeping a people’s culture and traditions alive. Otaak Band is the collaboration of Abuamna who hails from Eastern Sudan, and Miguel Merino, a percussionist from Indiana. Continue Reading →

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‘I’ll Fly Away’: Soul singer Jayanthi Kyle uses her talent to comfort mourning families

 

 

By Junauda Petrus
Contributing Writer

 

“There are funerals where they bring out a boombox and it’s so impersonal. It doesn’t honor or celebrate the person. It doesn’t touch souls the way live music can, the way a live human being could move with the spirit of the room, the feelings people are having, and pick up on that energy,” shares Jayanthi Kyle reflecting on what inspires her emerging work of singing at funerals. Kyle now offers the healing power of song to families who are celebrating the lives of loved ones who have passed on. Kyle’s experience as a young woman in many ways prepared her for this work. Continue Reading →

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Noelle Scaggs from Fitz and The Tantrums talks touring, music and her three wishes

 

 

 

 

By Junauda Petrus
Contributing Writer

“I love the rush of performing on stage, and watching the emotional responses from the crowd,” says Noelle Scaggs the dynamic co-lead singer extraordinaire of Fitz and the Tantrums. “It’s always a great challenge for me to get the most stoic person in the room dancing and shouting towards the end of the show.”

Fitz and The Tantrums brought their “soul-influenced indie-pop,” to the metro area when they performed club Myth in Maple Grove November 21. The L.A. based band has created a name for themselves with soon-to-be pop classics from their second and most recent studio album, More Then Just a Dream, which was released in May of this year to critical and popular acclaim. The forming of the band, much like its sound, was from a place of impulse, synchronicity, fun and inspiration. Lead singer, Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick formed the band from friend and fellow musician Saxophonist James King, who recommended singer Scaggs and Drummer John Wicks. When Wicks brought in bassist Joseph Karnes and keyboardist Jeremy Ruzumna to the clique of Fitz, the synchronicity was apparent and unstoppable. Continue Reading →

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The re-rebirth of soul

Electric Lady Janelle Monáe delivers
By Junauda Petrus
Contributing Writer
Janelle Monáe’s concert on Tuesday, October 22 at the Skyway Theater, like her music, referenced a legacy of soul that young audiences were eager to witness. The music from her latest contribution, The Electric Lady, like her past works, is thought-provoking and critical, yet funky and cutting edge. Monáe’s music is bringing Afro-futurism to modern-day realities with cleverness, freshness and fun in a musical climate that is in desperate need of her fearless, funky soul. The show was a dynamic unforgettable experience that made it clear she has all of the makings of a musical icon. Monáe is a genius at making music that is complex and entertaining – an impressive pairing in a musical era in which mainstream content is often saturated with lyrics that seem allergic to any real depth or social reflection. Continue Reading →

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The Artist’s Way: Sarah White on Music, Motherhood, and Her New Band

 

 

 
By Junauda Petrus
Contributing Writer
 “You can always break rules and challenge limits. You can always be the boss of your art, because it comes from the soul. I really love when the art becomes the boss of me and moves and molds me into its process,” says Minneapolis native and soul musician Sarah White. We are at a Northeast Cafe on a graciously sunny September afternoon. She is squeezing our interview in between her environmental science homework and meeting her oldest daughter, Iza, at the bus stop. Continue Reading →

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This week’s Entertainment spotlights!

 

 
The Music
 
Nicole Henry
Fri., June 7, 7 pm • Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-332-1010 or www.dakotacooks.com • Nicole Henry has firmly established herself as one of the most acclaimed entertainers in jazz. Her powerfully expressive voice and her soulful, sophisticated and uplifting energy has earned her three top-10 albums.

 

 

 

 

 
Onyx
Fri., June 7, 9 pm • Cabooze, 917 Cedar Ave., Mpls., 612-338-6425 or www.cabooze.com • East Coast hardcore hip hop group Onyx makes an appearance in the Twin Cities • W/SSK of Homegrown Crew and Desdamona

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Tyga
Sat., June 8, 7:30 pm • Myth, 3090 Southlawn Drive St. Paul, 651-779-6984 or http://mythlive.com/ • Currently touring in support of his new album Hotel California • W/ Mod Sun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Hugh Masekela and Larry Willis 

Tues., June 11, 7 pm • Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-332-1010 or www.dakotacooks.com • Hugh Masekela is a world-renowned African flugelhornist, trumpeter, bandleader, composer, singer and defiant political voice. His music protested about apartheid, slavery, government, and the hardships individuals were living.  

 

 

 

 

 

 
Jay Young’s Tribute to Earth, Wind and Fire
Fri., June 14, 8 pm  • Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-332-1010 or www.dakotacooks.com • Jay Young is a monster on the bass, and one of the most versatile musicians to come out of the Twin Cities. Continue Reading →

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Up-and-coming playwright Junauda Petrus shows There Are Other Worlds

 

 

By Jamal Denman

Online Editor

 

Junauda Petrus had been living in New York when she was initially inspired to begin the creative process of writing and developing the concept for the gripping play entitled There Are Other Worlds.  Her original idea for the performance, which sold out each night of its four-night run, was a little different than the work which was presented at the Open Eye Figure Theatre in Minneapolis April 25-28, 2013. At first Petrus just “wanted to do an aerial performance piece featuring all Black women” and combine those elements with “poetry vignettes,” and was inspired by Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. But during the creative process, the concept eventually transformed into a powerful and poignant story that touched on a number of topics considered taboo, such as the treatment of Black women, rape, murder, and the prison industrial complex in the United States. One element of the original concept that remained was the aerial performance, something Petrus wanted to exhibit. She describes aerial performance as “a circus art that deals with hanging apparatuses,” where acrobatic movements are incorporated with the use of materials hung from the ceiling. Continue Reading →

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