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Rapper Coolio, has died age 59; pushed back against “gangsta rap” label

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The rapper with distinctive braids and even more distinctive voice, Coolio has died. According to reports, the 59-year-old rapper collapsed suddenly in Los Angeles while visiting a friend. What is known is the impact Coolio had on modern music and America's popular culture. Coolio and 1990s rap Coolio, whose real name...

James Caan, actor, dies at 82

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James Caan, famed actor has died. He was 82. NPR and other media outlets has reported Caan’s death. No cause of death has been given. Caan is probably best known for his portrayal of Santino “Sonny” Corleone in “The Godfather” franchise. His toughness, his ability to bring a variety of characters to life will be for some...

Famed bands Yes and Depeche Mode lose members this week

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The progressive rock band Yes, and the music world at-large has lost a monumental performer. Alan White, the group's longest-serving drummer, has died. His death was announced Thursday, May 26, 2022. According to numerous media outlets, White died after a brief illness. Alan White and the legacy of Yes At the...

Gospel singer LaShun Pace passes away at age 60

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Popular Gospel singer LaShun Pace passed away Monday, Mar. 21, 2022. Her death was reported by numerous media outlets. Fans of Gospel music felt the loss of the powerhouse soprano whose voice not only hit the right notes, but also conveyed the messages that Gospel fans seek. The sound and style of LaShun Pace

Meatloaf, rock singer with dramatic flair, dies

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For millions of rock fans, there has been no American rock music as they have known it without Meatloaf. The singer’s career spanned five decades and found him sharing his talents on theater stages, the big screen, and in his own rock shows. According to TMZ the singer died of COVID-19. Meatloaf was 74.

Ronnie Spector, singer with The Ronettes, dies age 78

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Ronnie Spector, one of the most distinct voices in American popular music, passed away Wednesday, January 12, 2022. The singer had endured a brief battle with cancer, The New York Times and other media outlets have reported. No further information has been provided. Spector's passing is the latest in a series of celebrity...

“The Voice” ends 21st season – – some say predictably

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Season 21 came to an end Tuesday night. The long-running singing show pulled out its usual finale show tropes. There were performances by famous musicians, such as Ed Sheehan, Kid Cudi, and Jennifer Lopez. Finalists sang with their coaches, and previously eliminated contestants sang with finalists. The last feature was less awkward than audiences might have anticipated....

Fort Wayne Philharmonic presents “spooktacular” sounds for Halloween

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Thanks to the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Halloween has never sounded so good. The long-running classical music group presents three performances during Halloween weekend 2021. The first is less a concert in the traditional sense, and the second spotlights spooky and intense classical selections, and the third is a concert featuring youthful performers playing scary tunes.

“Halloween Kills” is a different, yet same of the franchise

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"Halloween," the horror movie franchise that frightened moviegoers for the first time in 1978, is back. So much is familiar in "Halloween Kills," that a moviegoer might think he or she has wandered into a retro version of the movie. This is especially true if a moviegoer has been waited on by an elderly theater employee who...

Baby of “Nevermind” fame all grown up and suing Nirvana and others

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Spencer Elden might be better known as “the Nevermind baby.” As a 4-month old, Elden appeared on the front of the album that catapulted grunge band Nirvana to super stardom. Elden, now 30, is suing a more than a dozen defendants in a suit that claims that his participation on the now-iconic album cover constitutes child pornography...

Biz Markie, hip-hop trailblazer, has died at age 57

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Known for his reportedly purposely off-kilter hit, "Just a Friend," Biz Markie passed away this week at age 57. In April 2020 Markie was hospitalized due to Type 2 diabetes complications. Later that same year, the rapper suffered a stroke, and there had been speculation that he had died. He had to announce that he was in...

Jeff LaBar, Cinderella guitarist, has died at age 58

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The world of hard rock mourns the death of Cinderella guitarist, Jeff LaBar. The talented musician was reportedly found in his Nashville apartment by his ex-wife. His son Sebastian announced the sad news on social media. The responses from musicians who knew LaBar, and from Sirius XM's deejays, such as Keith Roth, have been heartfelt and poignant....

Bon Jovi reaches one billion views with “It’s My Life”

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Twenty years after the song was released, and 12 years after the video for it was uploaded to YouTube, Bon Jovi's "It's My Life" has reached one billion views. This feat is significant because it shows that the band's message is still important to audiences. It also shows that despite the existence of video channels, people continue...

Now Streaming: “High on the Hog” exposes myths and explores food history

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Food plays an integral role in any culture. The US is a place of multiple cultures and those cultures representative foods. "High on the Hog" now streaming on Netflix, explores the roots of black American food from West Africa to the cuisine of black cowboys in Texas. What the four-part documentary series points out is that "black...

Now Streaming: “This is Pop” explains what happened to Boyz II Men

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For music fans who want to go beyond the music, but not too much, "This is Pop" on Netflix seems the perfect streaming series. The show began airing in Spring 2021. Each episode highlights either a definitive performing group, or era in pop music. The one on Boyz II Men is particularly enlightening.

Shinjin offers a jazz concept album with “Theory of Everything”

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"Theory of Everything" is jazz quartet Shinjin's second album. The description of the work does not do it justice. From beginning to end, the recording is replete with catchy rhythms, interesting arrangements, and energy. While all eight songs possess their own merit, "Unexpected Discovery," "You Are Here," and "Time Travel" are standout tracks. About...

“Cruella” tells a necessary backstory with a rocking soundtrack

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At first glance, "Cruella" the movie that attempts to tell the backstory of "101 Dalmatians'" villain, Cruella De Vil, might not appeal to anyone who does not love Disney. However, with a rocking soundtrack, and a rags-to-riches trajectory, "Cruella" develops widespread appeal. "Cruella" began streaming and appearing in theaters May 28, 2021. "Cruella": fiction...

Kamillion’s “Fine Azz” sets the tone for “A Black Lady Sketch Show”

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"A Black Lady Sketch Show" is a comedy series on HBO. The show depicts realistic moments in hyperbolic ways that are likely to resonate with professional women - - especially black women. The series' second season is announced with a song called "Fine Azz" by rapper Kamillion. The song is the soundtrack for confident women - -...

John Davis, one of the voices behind Milli Vanilli, dies, age 66

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John Davis. The name might not sound familiar in terms of late 20th century popular music, but it should. Davis was one of the real voices behind German pop duo, Milli Vanilli. Davis' daughter announced Monday on Facebook. Davis passed away due to COVID-19 complications, but it was the role he played in a hoax on the...

The Weeknd brings a different style Super Bowl half-time show

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The singer known for his falsetto and arguably dark lyrics if a person listens just right, The Weeknd, performed at this year's Super Bowl half-time. The singer's main set included people in neon makeup and white choir-like robes. This group of people was divided by lighted props with lettering that spelled out some themes...

Now Streaming: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” on Netflix

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The work of two-time Pulitzer-winning playwright August Wilson is a gift that has been overlooked by too many people for too long for a variety of reasons. Wilson's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" premiered on Netflix Dec. 18, 2020. For a number of American viewers, this was the first they had heard of the masterpiece. The play was...

Iconic hard rock guitarist, Eddie Van Halen dies, age 65

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The New York Times and other media outlets reported today that guitar legend, Eddie Van Halen has died. The 65-year-old guitarist is reported to have suffered from throat cancer, which eventually moved to his brain. The loss is brutal for so many who have revered the Dutch-American musician for his evolutionary style "Where Have...

Rachael and Vilray play swing music of yesteryear with a side of charm and wit

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Without any introduction or explanation otherwise, anyone listening to swing duo Rachael and Vilray would think that the duo had stepped right out of the 1930s or 1940s to bring the world harmony and humor-rich songs that shake away the anxieties and doldrums of the present day. Recently, the pair appeared on NPR's...

Kayle’ Brecher’s “Kayleidoscope” is full of surprises

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"Kayleidoscope" is vocalist, arranger, and composer Kayle' Brecher's eighth recording. She has created new arrangements for classic songs. The arrangements illustrate her approach to re-visioning songs. With a hearty ensemble of more than a dozen musicians, Brecher brings a fresh style to beloved tunes. Among them, "My Favorite Things." A bit about Brecher

Jake Hoot wins “The Voice” season 17

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And, seemingly just like that, it's over. After weeks of speculation, commenting and reading comments online, judging performances as they aired, it is over. A new winner of "The Voice" has been crowned. Jake Hoot, a six-foot-six country crooner with a humble persona and radio-friendly voice has won. Did anyone see this coming? Odds...

Radio station bans Kanye West after slavery remarks

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A radio station in Detroit has placed a ban on all things Kanye West. According to the Detroit Free Press, msn.com and others, 105.1, a hip-hop station, has begun using the hashtag "mute Kanye" because of his recent comments about slavery, in which he claimed that black Americans chose to be enslaved. West has stated that because slavery had...

A conversation about music with blues musician, John Minton

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John Minton is a legend in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but he would never describe himself that way.  Music- and culture-minded students at Indiana University-Purdue University, now Purdue University, Fort Wayne have flocked to his graduate and undergraduate classes on folklore, rock ‘n’ roll history and master classes on popular culture, music and society. The popularity of those classes coupled...

Michael Sweet of Stryper talks God, music, and Wal-Mart

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Michael Sweet is the lead singer of Christian metal band, Stryper. Recently I had the opportunity to interview the singer via email just as the band was embarking on a tour that will take them around the world. I first learned of Stryper upon the release of “In God We Trust.” I was a child, and naively thought that it...

Influential gospel singer and arranger, Edwin Hawkins dies

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Edwin Hawkins, gospel singer, and arranger died Tuesday, Jan. 15. Hawkins is best-known for his contemporary arrangement of "Oh, Happy Day." Hawkins' version of the song influenced performers across racial and genre boundaries. The beauty of "Oh, Happy Day" For decades, I thought that the late Andrae Crouch was the originator of "Oh, Happy Day." The gospel singer's version was popular...

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