Ever since the release date of Marvel’s Black Panther, people worldwide have been giving the movie nothing but amazing reviews. From the cast themselves, to the soundtrack made by Kendrick Lamar, Marvel fans say this is the best MCU movie to date, while others who may not be Marvel, or comic book fans, are even going to see this movie for cultural purposes, and have said themselves that watching this movie has been an amazing experience. Personally I thought this was an amazing movie from the beginning. I’m already a comic book and MCU fan. I also came to see this movie from a cultural aspect. Since I always wanted to go to Africa, and see were I can connect with my ancestors, and how they all use to live their day to day lives in such a beautiful place. Black Panther is out in movie theaters right now!
On Saturday, September 30th, I had the thrill of seeing a true opera superstar at the Auditorium, here in Chicago. The five-time Grammy Award winner, Kathleen Battle has sung all of the great Operas and reigned supreme at the Metropolitan Opera House, in the 80’s and early 90’s. Reviewers have long rhapsodized about the quality of her voice. One of opera’s premier lyric and coloratura sopranos, the Washington Post said of Battle “…without qualification, one of the very few most beautiful in the world”; from The New York Times “cream from a miraculous, bottomless pitcher”.
Singing “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra
Her current tour is called Kathleen Battle – Underground Railroad: A Spiritual Journey While not an opera program, per se, Battle’s training and background come through. Presented recital style with only a single piano for accompaniment and backed by a 30 voice chorus including The Chicago Freedom Singers. The show also incorporates the Reverend Dr. Otis Moss III and Jackie Taylor as Narrators who educate the audience about the history of the Underground Railroad. There are quotes from Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, who both used the Underground Railroad to escape to their own freedom and in the case of Tubman, she then helped many other slaves find freedom through the Underground Railroad.
Kathleen Battle’s stage presence was amazing and her voice as beautiful and pure as ever it was, considering she is now in her late 60’s, that’s impressive. She also showed great generosity in giving showcasing solos to several of the other singers. The repertoire contained such well known gems as “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”, “All Night, All Day” and “Glory, Glory, Hallelujah (Come Out the Wilderness)”. The presentation was interesting and uplifting, leaving one with the sense of not only having enjoyed an evening of beautiful and unique music, but of also having learned a great deal.
I for one, look forward to future concerts presented by Ms. Battle and having the opportunity to enjoy her beautiful voice once again.
By Rachelle French
Kacey Musgraves knows what she’s doing. The release of her second album, Pageant Material showcases her growth as an artist, shifting from the contemporary sound of her Grammy award-winning 2013 album, Same Trailer, Different Park, while capturing new and classic western elements in the new record.
Musgraves is known for tackling controversial issues lyrically. Same-sex marriage, marijuana, smoking and drinking are discussed without casting a shadow on her sweet disposition.
Pageant Material is a compilation of Musgraves’ small town southern observations. Having already established who she is as an artist with Same Trailer, Different Park, Kacey has finally gotten a chance to put out an honest and truly country record.
From Willie Nelson-esque tracks like ‘High Time’ and ‘Fine’, to the dream-like small town girl themes in ‘Dimestore Cowgirl’, Musgraves blends classic sounds and new ideas seamlessly.
Throughout the album, Musgraves clings tightly to themes of “doing her own thing”. “Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy,” is the hook contained in ‘Biscuits’, the album’s debut single. “I’d rather lose for what I am than win for what I ain’t,” she sings on the title track. “Nobody’s everybody’s favorite,” she continues on ‘Cup of Tea’.
Kacey’s lyrics are brutally honest and intelligent. The concepts that she ties into her classic western sound have the power to reshape the country music industry — and I bet they will.
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