Week offers hip-hop, men’s chorus and more

  • By Sharon Wootton / Special to The Herald
  • Thursday, March 22, 2007 9:00pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Activism’s use of music has at least a 75-year history in the United States. It continues to extend its track record in the hip-hop performances of Blue Scholars.

With this duo, it’s more than just traditional hip-hop discontent. It’s also about hope for an improved society, performed by two musicians who also participate in grassroots efforts.

Blue Scholars, which performs in the classic DJ/MC combination, performs tonight in Bothell.

DJ Sabzi and MC Geologic participated in a hip-hop show sponsored by the Student Hip-Hop Organization of Washington at the University of Washington, then started Blue Scholars in 2002.

Geologic, son of Filipino immigrants, attended the UW and worked as a community organizer. Sabzi is an Iranian-American trained in jazz piano and is also the DJ for Common Market.

Those backgrounds shaped their perspectives, now delivered in a pop-influenced hip-hop beat. Last year, Blue Scholars won the hip-hop category of the Seattle Weekly’s Music Awards Poll.

Wired!: The house band for Wired &Unplugged makes its quarterly appearance with rockabilly and blues. Rick “The Stick” Jacobson, co-owner of the coffeehouse, keeps the beat with a 1960s jazz kit, Keith Bakke plays bass, and frontman Kevin Sutton handles the guitar chores. Saturday, Snohomish.

Seattle Men’s Chorus: “That ’80s Show,” a fundraiser for Citizens Against Domestic and Sexual Abuse, features music of pop performers of the decade, such as Cyndi Lauper, Boy George, George Michael and Madonna, as well as music from films such as “Footloose” and “Flashdance.” The chorus’s Captain Smartypants ensemble also will entertain those who purchase a $100 ticket for a wine-and-appetizer pre-event. Thursday, Coupeville.

TV on the Radio: The indie rock band started as a duo with visual artists and musicians Tunde Adebimpe and David Sitek, still the backbone of the quintet. The band delivers post-punk, electronica, jazz, doo-wop, trip-hop. It’s one of David Bowie’s favorite bands. Sunday, Seattle.

The Tragically Hip: Five childhood friends formed the band in 1983 and quickly became a mainstay on the Canadian college tour. The Hip, known for its improvisational approach to some of the songs, was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Winners of 14 Juno Awards, The Hip hasn’t toured in the United States nearly as much as it has in Canada, so this is a chance to see what the Canadians really like. Thursday, Seattle.

Vusi Mahlasela: The South African singer, songwriter and activist wrote his latest CD, “Guiding Star,” while touring internationally, bridging generations with his hybrid of folk, world, blues and soul music. As a child, Mahlasela built his first guitar out of tin and fishing line. His anti-apartheid efforts brought him harassment and his poems and songs were often confiscated, but he met all those challenges and went on to perform at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration. Saturday, Seattle.

Kenny Rankin: The tenor singer and songwriter was raised with a variety of musical influences including Afro-Cuban, Top 40 and jazz, released a few singles as a teenager, and played guitar on Bob Dylan’s landmark recording, “Bringing It All Back Home.” Tuesday and Wednesday, Seattle.

Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band: The Grammy-winning band, one of today’s most popular Latin jazz groups, is led by a conga player who has been releasing recordings since 1982. His latest is “Do It.” Thursday through April 1, Seattle

Hillstomp: The popular Portland-based hill country blues stomp band returns in support of its “The Woman That Ended It All” CD. Think North Mississippi trance blues and a bit of punkabilly with slide guitar and homemade instruments. Thursday, Seattle.

Thomas Dybdahl: The Norwegian singer and songwriter has drawn praise from NPR and the New York Times. He’s touring behind “Science” and with Sondre Lerche and Willy Mason. Mason marries personal tales with social commentary. Norwegian Lerche tends to make each CD fairly diverse in tempo, mood, energy and instrumentation. Monday, Seattle.

Music for the Mountain: Join Washington state’s Blues Man of the Year Randy Oxford and 20 other bands for the annual celebration of blues, jazz, country, bluegrass and folk. The bill also includes the state’s Blueswoman of the Year Nicole Fournier, Knee Deep Band, Free Reign, award-winning Loose Gravel and Hat Trick. The weekend benefits Mount Rainier National Park and related communities and organizations. Saturday through Monday, Ashford.

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