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House music as religion? A Hopkins professor says amen

Music can move the soul, but is it a religion? Hopkins professor Lester K. Spence uses house music not just for motivation but also as therapy to soothe his troubled spirit.

Here's an excerpt:

"House is our release, house is our sanctuary�can you feel it like I feel it?"

The quote above is taken from a track that I play every now and again.

For those of us whose lives have been changed from exposure to house music, the quote captures a great deal. I am a father, a husband, a professor, a writer. But with the exception of the birth of my children, the closest I've come to God was on the dance floor."

Read the entire article here.

Lithuanians say it's in the mail as Frank Zappa busts begins long journey to Bmore

It's taken two years, but the bust of Frank Zappa is finally on its way to the city of the quirky rock icon's birth. The statue, a replica of a bust located in Lithuania, was gifted to the city by fans in that country in May 2008.

Here's an excerpt:

"The copy of the original bust, which is standing in central Vilnius, was made two years ago with the thought of bringing it to Baltimore. Zappa, weighing more than a tone, will be taken to US by a sea transport by UPS company. "Our mission is simple � this is not even close to the risks that were taken by French, when they presented the Liberty sculpture to US," said UPS representative to Lithuania Vladas Lasas.

It is planned that Zappa will reach its hometown within a month. The opening of the bust will take place in Baltimore on 18 of September..."

Read the entire article here.

Lineup announced for Baltimore's 5th annual Whartscape music fest

The all volunteer organized and operated music festival happens in Baltimore July 22-25. The four-day event, presented by Wham City and devoid of corporate sponsorship, takes place at various locations throughout the city with music, theater, and video performances from hundreds of artists and bands from the Baltimore area and beyond.

Here's an excerpt:

' *Sniffle* Whartscape has really grown up, guys. This year the Baltimore music fest celebrates its fifth birthday with a sprawling lineup of approximately 435 bands over three days. See the almost complete lineup..."

Read the entire post (scroll down to the bottom of the page) here.

Rapper Rye Rye stays true to her roots in Baltimore

Eighteen-year-old rapper Rye Rye, who's rising to fame with the help of artist M.I.A (of "Slumdog Millionaire" fame), is about to join other well-known Baltimore musicians, singers and rappers, taking her flow onto the national -- dare we say global -- stage. But she's staying true to her East Baltimore identity.

An excerpt from the article reads:

On a hot summer afternoon, Ryeisha "Rye Rye" Berrain � wearing turquoise-and-black leggings, gold hoop earrings, fake lashes � walks along her East Baltimore neighborhood, holding a bag of Cheetos and a blue drink.

She passes the store where kids buy candy and sodas; the public housing units where her sister Elisa, 12, hangs out; the steps where the guys used to chill at night � until they got shot up.

"Before I started touring, I really used to hang on the corner all night until 3 in the morning," Rye Rye, now 18, says.
That was before the shy dancer became an underground dance darling and the prot�g� of Grammy-winning indie-rap artist M.I.A. Now Rye Rye is on a path to become Baltimore's ambassador of club music � a frantic blend of hip-hop and house.

Read the entire article here.

Bloggers unite on Insider's Guide to Baltimore

Two popular blogs are teaming up to create a guide by Baltimoreans for Baltimoreans. Each week they'll ask a question to discern everything from where to buy the best music to where the best neighborhoods are. They want to hear from you.

An excerpt from the post reads:

The Shank is partnering with our friends at Smile Hon to put together a Baltimore Insider's Directory. If we use your answers/submissions, you'll get a free copy when we're done. Just make sure you post your name & email if you want credit and the comp copy.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be asking these types of questions and compiling the results. Please tell your friends to answer too. The more reseponses we get, the better the guide will be.

Read the entire blog post here:

Celebrated horror/fantasy editor will be a eulogist at Poe funeral in October

New York-based Ellen Datlow, winner of nine World Fantasy Awards, announces that she will be a eulogist when "Baltimore gives Edgar Allen Poe the funeral he should have had" on Oct. 11th. Her post gives links to information on the event (http://www.poebicentennial.com/events.html).

An excerpt from the post reads:

The following people are confirmed as speakers at Poe's Funeral:

The Reverend Rufus Griswold (literary acquaintance)
Sarah Helen Whitman (former fianc�e)
George Lippard (devoted friend from Philadelphia)
George Rex Graham (editor, Burton's Gentlemen's Magazine)
Nathanial Parker Willis (loyal friend)
Dr. John Moran (Poe physician at the time of his death)
J.T.L. Preston (childhood friend, Virginia Military College)
Charles Bauldelaire (French writer and Poe admirer)
Narrator from The Tell Tale Heart

Read the entire blog post here:

Baltimore's appetite for summer music puts it on the list of Most Rockin' Cities

For the first year, Baltimore's summer concert season has placed it on the list of the 20 Most Rockin' Cities, compiled annually by StubHub, the world's largest ticket marketplace. StubHub compiled its list of the markets where fans have been "the most active this summer grabbing tickets to their favorite shows" based on total market sales via StubHub for concert events only, occurring between May 15th and Sept. 15th.

An excerpt from the article reads:

Washington D.C. took the biggest leap on this year's chart, landing in the top 10 at #6, up from #18 in 2008. The live concert ticket market in the area was bolstered by performances by Bruce Springsteen in late May, Billy Joel/Elton John at Nationals Park and Paul McCartney at FedEx Field in the last month. In addition, sales from the Nissan Pavilion in nearby Bristow, Va. were more appropriately attributed to the Washington D.C. metro area after formerly being included with Richmond, Va. returns.

Newcomers to this year's chart include Milwaukee, Toronto (Canada), Baltimore and Pittsburgh. With the exception of Toronto, each newcomer to the top 20 hosted the popular jam band Phish for at least one night, one of the biggest sellers of the summer nationwide.

Read the entire article here:

National women's magazine explores influence of Bmore Club music

M.I.S.S. feature "Funky Expedition," which explores the creation and development of region-specific genres of music, takes a look at Baltimore Club Music. While it sings its praises, it questions -- hopefully -- whether Bmore Club will "ever have lasting potential outside of the DMV (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia)."

An excerpt from the article reads:

It always stings a little bit when you are on top of something � whether it be a new artist, new designer, or new style � and then a year or two later, everybody's on the jock of that artist, designer, or style. You just look like a major tool mentioning that you were into it "ages ago," but then you are also a bit angry because your friends didn't like it when you told them about it. Once it was on TV, they liked it. Sound familiar?

Besides the fact that you might just be a trendsetter, or a daring human being, (or a M.I.S.S. girl), it's frustrating any which way you look at it. Such might be the case for fans of Baltimore Club AKA Bmore Club AKA Gutter music AKA the sound of Bodymore, Murderland (Baltimore, Maryland). It has only been gaining national attention in the past few years, but it has been around -- in Baltimore -- starting from as early as 1989 or 1990.

The sound of Gutter music is best described by a blend of hip-hop, house, and dance music. Some even call it hip-house. The songs are often dark, but contain an infectious, hyper energy that explodes with each short song. Unlike typical house songs, Bmore club songs alternately build and drop intensity as they play, with bridges and sections of fast-paced, loud crashes that mimic fluttering heartbeats. The songs are like the sprint of the music race: the cuts are specifically crafted by DJs for the club environment, based on a 8/4 beat structure, and include tempos as high as 130 beat per minute.

Read the entire article here:

Baltimore on Baltimore: Local bands try on each other's tunes

Cities that mix together, stick together: a new original compilation features Baltimore artists covering music by Baltimore artists.

An excerpt from the blog post reads:

Baltimore hip hop artist Mickey Free has remixed "That I Do" from Wye Oak's new album, The Knot, out now on Merge Records. Wye Oak and Merge were good enough to let us premier this remix, which makes this as good a time as any to introduce Splice's second original compilation, Baltimore Does Baltimore, featuring more than twenty Baltimore bands covering their favorite songs by other Baltimore bands -- so basically one big Mobtown lovefest. Look for it in late September.

Read the entire post -- and hear the music -- here.

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