The auto mechanic for whom this benefit was organized remembers dance parties in his village in Guinea in which Tabu Ley Rochereau records played on a hand-cranked turntable—whoever had the job of powering it could still hold a beer in the other hand. Coup-torn Guinea has seen better days. Now Jean Akoy Beavogui is trying to bring his wife and children over, and pianist Jim Reilly has put together a unique matinee event to raise the needed plane fare from among Akoy's friends (I'm one), community (he drums in the African mass at St. Olaf Catholic Church), and the music-loving public. Performers include Genevieve Rangel, soprano of the storied and musical Rangel family, who will sing songs in Spanish by Mexican and Spanish composers; Eeva Savolainen, a Finnish soprano; Ibe Kaba, a Twin Cities poet from Guinea; and the Choir of the Latvian Evangelical Lutheran Church of Minneapolis, singing in Latvian. There will also be an open mic for others performing in their native or family tongue, with a reception to follow.
Sun., Feb. 8, 3 p.m., 2009