Northern Nights returns for a Third Year

Kate Clark

NorthernNightsCourtesyPhotoRESIZESeven international and American musical acts from a variety of genres will be making their way to campus over the course of the next seven months as part of NMU’s Northern Nights concert series.

Northern Nights was previously known as The International Performing Arts Series. This will be the first year under the new name, according to event coordinator Dan Truckey, who said the change was in order to be more inclusive of American artists.

“It allows both students and the people of Marquette to experience a culture they never may experience in their lifetime,” Truckey said.

Truckey also said the change will avoid alienating potential concertgoers who may have been under the impression it focused solely on the world music genre.

The series began in 1989 as The Performing Arts Series and, according to the Northern Nights website, focuses on bringing internationally recognized acts as well their cultural backgrounds to the Marquette Area.

Truckey said this marks his fifth year working on the series, which is not only entertaining but educational as well.

Truckey said bringing in acts with cultural significance is a key aspect to the Northern Nights lineup. He said this year’s performers have been pulled from places such as Finland and Tuva as well as from across the United States.

Antti Järvelä of the Finnish group Frigg played during the 2011 series. He said his experience was fantastic and also said the series allows listeners to connect to artists they may not have heard otherwise.

“Our concert is about mixing old Nordic dance-influenced music traditions with more modern ingredients,” Järvelä said. “It’s about making new music based on many generations’ development and continuum of the local traditions. It’s a lot about our local fiddling traditions and its branches.”

Truckey said choosing the performance line-up is a lengthy process that begins a year prior to event.

The concerts, Truckey said, average a crowd of around 200 to 300 depending on the act and are put on by a committee of eight people with volunteer ushers and the performance area’s faculty and staff aiding.

Truckey said committee meetings begin in September to determine what genres or types of artists they’d like to bring to NMU in the next season.

Senior graphic communications major Dana Kim was a member of last year’s Northern Nights Series committee and said the series brings something new to Marquette.

”This series is important because it brings such a unique, cultural experience to Marquette, a place that is located so far from everything,” Kim said. “Especially for students, it’s a great opportunity to experience and listen to music from different cultures and genres.”

Surveys are available for concertgoers at the shows to request artists or types of music they’d enjoy to see in the lineup next year. Truckey said the committee also looks at the success of past events but also what genres and artists they haven’t brought to NMU yet.

The series will kick-off with Alash performing at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 in the Forest Roberts Theatre. The act, a trio of throat singers, hails from the Tuva Republic and, according to their webpage, plays traditional music of the area.

October will feature both the St. Louis Brass Quintet on Saturday, Oct. 12 in the Kaufman Auditorium. St. Louis Brass began in 1964 and has performed on more than 2,700 different occasions, according to their website.

BlackMahal is the second October act scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 25 in the Great Lakes Rooms. BlackMahal, who is described as Punjabi Funk will be the first hip hop act featured by the series.

After having to cancel their show last year, The Young Dubliners return to the lineup for a 7:30 p.m. performance set for Saturday, Nov. 16 in the Great Lakes Rooms. According to Truckey, tickets to last year’s canceled show will still be considered valid.

The band, according to their website, recently released its ninth studio album titled  “9” and are described as “Celtic rock.”

While there are no shows in December and January, the series resumes on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 with the Holmes Brothers, a blues trio from Christchurch, Va.. The Holmes Brothers performance will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Great Lakes Rooms. According to the event’s online schedule, their performance will be part of Black History Month on campus.

Finnish folk rock duo Markus Nordenstreng, of The Latebirds, and Tuomo Prättälä, a solo artist, will team up to play Friday, March 21, 2014 in Jamrich 102 and Regina Carter’s Southern Comfort will close out the series on Saturday, April 12, 2014 in Kaufman Auditorium.

Carter, a jazz violinist, has performed with artists such as Aretha Franklin and Billy Joel as well as releasing eight studio albums.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at any NMU EZ Ticket outlet. More information regarding the series, tickets and ticket prices can be found at nmu.edu/northernnights.