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O'Shaughnessy's new season spotlights women artists; a free day of music at Orchestra Hall

The Wailin’ Jennys
Photo by Morten Fog
The Wailin’ Jennys will be performing September 14 at the O’Shaughnessy.

Four Women of Substance events, three world premieres, the conclusion of a major series, the return of beloved favorites and an imaginative pairing will bring local, national and international artists to the O’Shaughnessy’s stage for its 2018-19 performing arts series, which was announced Wednesday.

Programmed by O’Shaughnessy director Kathleen Spehar, this series is one where women shine, and not only in designated Women of Substance performances. Women’s ideas are showcased, their voices are heard and their work is honored all season long.

Here’s a look at the line-up, a mix of dance and music performances that starts in September and ends in May. Tickets are available online and by phone at 651-690-6700.

September 14: The Wailin’ Jennys. They’ve just released their first new recording in six years. “Fifteen” celebrates the 15-year partnership among Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody and Heather Masse and features some of their favorite songs, including tracks by Tom Petty, Emmylous Harris and Dolly Parton. A Women of Substance event.

September 21–22: Ananya Dance Theatre. With “Shaatranga: Women Weaving Worlds,” choreographer Ananya Chatterjea will conclude her five-year series, “Work Women Do.” A Women of Substance event.

October 5: Manual Cinema, “The End of TV.” In this regional premiere, the Emmy-winning Chicago troupe uses shadow puppets, actors, vintage video clips and live music to explore two sides of the American dream: the promise of TV ads and the reality of industrial decline. Set in a Rust Belt city in the 1990s, with an art-pop score inspired by 1970s R&B. Here’s a trailer.

November 16–17: Karen L. Charles Threads Dance Project. Threads will open its 12th season with “In the Margins,” an examination of implicit bias experienced by deaf/hard of hearing communities and women. “To Hear Like Me,” a world premiere, incorporates American Sign Language, music visualization and silence.

December 21: Katie McMahon’s Celtic Christmas. Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without McMahon, Minnesota’s own “Celtic Woman” and the original voice of “Riverdance.” This year’s performance will be a Solstice celebration.

February 14, 2019: Kevin Kling & Friends: “The Love Show.” Back by popular demand for Valentine’s Day. Storyteller Kling will be joined by musical friends Marc Anderson, Dan Chouinard, Prudence Johnson, Simone Perrin, Claudia Schmidt and Dane Stauffer.

February 22–23: Contempo Physical Dance. An evening of fiercely athletic contemporary Afro-Brazilian dance will feature a world premiere by Brazilian choreographer Nildinha Fonsêca, who is a black movement activist and Afro-Brazilian feminist from Bahia.

Anoushka Shankar
Photo by Anushka Menon
Anoushka Shankar will be performing March 12, 2019, at the O’Shaughnessy.

March 12: Anoushka Shankar. The sitar virtuoso – daughter of Ravi Shankar, half-sister to Norah Jones – just completed a two-night engagement at the Dakota featuring music from her album “Land of Gold.” This will be an all-new program reflecting on her life’s journey and experimenting with new ideas. A Women of Substance event.

April 12: Ragamala Dance Company and Brooklyn Rider. This creative pairing is a chance to hear the New York-based string quartet and see the Minneapolis-based, internationally-known Bharatanatyam dance company. Brooklyn Rider will perform a regional premiere of new works by five female composers. Ragamala will dance “Nocturne,” choreographed by Ashwini Ramaswamy. A Women of Substance event.

May 3–5: TU Dance. For its 15th season, the St. Paul-based dance company will perform works by Jawole, Willa Jo Zollar, Alvin Ailey, and Ron K. Brown, whose “Where the Light Shines Through” was created for TU in 2017.

P.S. Since opening in 1970, the O’Shaughnessy has premiered more than 400 new works.

The picks

Update: Tonight’s Third Thursday: Bike Night at Mia has been pushed forward to next Thursday (July 26) due to expected rain.

Tonight (Thursday, July 19) at the Show Gallery: Opening party for “Black & White Blues.” An off-site, pop-up show from the Minnesota Museum of American Art, timed to complement the Lowertown Blues & Funk Fest happening this weekend (see below). The exhibition samples the M’s collection of black-and-white portraits of iconic blues musicians by Marc Norberg. The opening party features a 7 p.m. performance by guitarist and singer Erik Christenson. 346 N. Sibley St. in Lowertown. 6–9 p.m. FMI. Free and open to the public. Closes July 29.

Eclectic Edge Ensemble
Photo by Bill Cameron
Eclectic Edge Ensemble perform tonight through Sunday at the Lab.

Tonight through Sunday at the Lab: Eclectic Edge Ensemble Presents “Rhythm & Flow.” For its 15th anniversary concert, EEE looks back and looks forward, celebrating the history of jazz dance in Minnesota, showcasing its repertoire (including works by nationally recognized guest artists), and presenting new and recent work. Includes Danny Buraczeski’s “Points on a Curve” (1988), Karla Grotting’s “Hold and Release” (2017), Zoe Sealy’s “Ella” (1999), two works (one a premiere) by Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner, and a collage of works by EEE artistic director Karis Sloss. Lots of history here. 7:30 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. FMI and tickets ($20 advance/$25 door).

Saturday at Orchestra Hall and WCCO Plaza: International Day of Music. A 12-hour music and dance marathon, courtesy of the Minnesota Orchestra, nonstop and almost entirely free. (The only exception is an orchestra concert at 8 p.m.) Featured performers include iNsingizi, an a cappella trio from Zimbabwe; violinist Ernest Bisong, born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria; Papa Shalita and the Global Music Alliance; the Somali Museum Dance Troupe; 29:11, a vocal ensemble from Cape Town, South Africa; TU Dance; pianist and arranger Luke Turner, born and raised in Cape Town under apartheid; the Minnesota Orchestra String Quartet, performing music by South African composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen; jazz vocalist Bruce A. Henry; and the Kevin Washington Trio. Plus food trucks, displays and events in the lobby, and two $5 happy hours. 12 noon–12 midnight. Here’s a schedule of events, and one for your phone.

Marcia Ball
Photo by Mary Bruton
Saturday’s Blues Day headliner is New Orleans boogie-woogie blues pianist Marcia Ball.

Saturday and Sunday in Mears Park: 5th Annual Lowertown Blues & Funk Fest. Two nights of funk, blues and zydeco in one of the Twin Cities’ prettiest parks. Friday’s Funk Day brings the sounds of the Ohio Players, Free and Easy, and High & Mighty. Saturday’s Blues Day headliner is New Orleans boogie-woogie blues pianist Marcia Ball, preceded by Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, the Toronzo Canon, Crow, the Scottie Miller Band, and the Mae Simposon Band,  winner of Famous Dave’s Battle of the Blues Bands. 4:30–10 p.m. Friday, 12 noon–10 p.m. Saturday. FMI. Free, with preferred seating available in front of the stage ($60/day, $100/weekend). Ball recently released her latest album, “Shine Bright,” a celebration of life’s banquet, and we’re sure to hear some of that this weekend.

Plan ahead

In April, three-time Grammy winner, living legend and NEA Jazz Master Ramsey Lewis announced he would retire from touring. In June, the 83-year-old jazz pianist and composer said in an interview, “Recently, it just so happened I had three weeks off. I thought, ‘Let me see what retirement feels like.’ So, for three weeks I bounced around the house, read, listened to music, went out to dinner with my wife and friends. It got boring.” He’ll be at the Ordway on Sunday, Oct. 21, with his longtime band the Urban Knights. Lewis is best known for his 1960s hit “The In Crowd,” but he’s so much more. Oh, and he’s working on a new album, too. 7:30 p.m. Presented in collaboration with the Dakota. Tickets here ($37-79) or call 651-224-4222.

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