“This is some of the happiest music you will ever hear,” says Pat O’Keefe, a member of Choro Borealis. When the five-man band plays its first gig at The Zephyr Theatre Aug. 4, O’Keefe promises, “you cannot help but smile.”
These Twin Cities musicians hope to introduce a new audience to the lively musical genre known as choro, which originated in Rio de Janeiro in the late 19th century. With deep African roots, it is related to Dixieland and ragtime from the U.S. and also includes strong harmonies and signature strumming from European traditions. And it’s definitely danceable. The samba is an offshoot of choro, and so is the bossa nova.
“We always encourage people to get up and dance,” O’Keefe says. But those who choose to just sit and listen will be rewarded. “There’s a lot to hear,” he says.
The music is primarily instrumental with exciting rhythms and complicated harmonies. There’s also a lot of playful interaction and improvisation among the musicians: Pat O’Keefe (clarinet), Tim O’Keefe (mandolin and percussion, including the pandeiro, which is similar to a tambourine), Robert Everest (seven-string guitar and vocals), John Croarkin (flute), and Dave Burk (cavaquinho, which resembles a ukulele).
The Choro Borealis playlist includes songs old and new. “Odeon,” from the influential Brazilian composer Ernesto Nazareth, was written in the early 1900s. Other repertoire includes everything from choro classics to original works.
“Choro is a living tradition,” says O’Keefe, whose group has been exploring, writing, and performing choro music for more than 10 years. “We’re part of that tradition.”
Choro Borealis will perform at 7 p.m. Aug. 4 at The Zephyr Theatre, 601 Main St. N., Stillwater. Tickets are $20 and are available at stillwaterzephyrtheatre.org or at the door. Cash bar open.
“Springsteen With Strings,” Aug. 10
Veteran singer and producer Mick Sterling returns to The Zephyr with a guitar, piano, and string quartet to honor Bruce Springsteen’s music. Anticipate unique renditions of “Thunder Road,” “New York Serenade,” “Incident on 57th Street,” as well as newer songs.
“Springsteen With Strings” will be presented at 7 p.m. Aug. 10 at The Zephyr Theatre, 601 Main St. N., Stillwater. Tickets are $35 and are available at stillwaterzephyrtheatre.org or at the door. Cash bar open.
Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, Aug. 25
Four musicians use guitar, fiddle, bass, drums, percussion, and vocals to present a unique art rock/jazz fusion.The group says their sound has been compared to King Crimson, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Dixie Dregs, Bela Fleck, and the Flecktones.
Galactic Cowboy Orchestra will perform at 7 p.m. Aug. 25 on the outdoor stage at The Zephyr Theatre, 601 Main St. N., Stillwater. Tickets are $20 and are available at stillwaterzephyrtheatre.org or at the door. Cash bar open. Bring your own chairs.
“The Young & The Rest …,” Aug. 28
SimpleGifts with Billy McLaughlin presents “The Young and the Rest …,” an acoustic tribute to Neil Young; Crosby, Stills, and Nash; America; The Eagles; and more.
“The Young and the Rest …” will be presented at 7 p.m. Aug. 28 at The Zephyr Theatre, 601 Main St. N., Stillwater. Tickets are $25 in advance at stillwaterzephyrtheatre.org; $30 at the door. Cash bar open.
Everything I Own …, Sept. 20
This tribute to the band Bread features Wayne Anthony and an eight-piece ensemble and promises some of the most romantic songs ever written. Bread had 13 Billboard-charting songs, including “Make It With You,” “Baby I’m a Want You,” and “If.”
Everything I Own … will be presented at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at The Zephyr Theatre, 601 Main St. N., Stillwater. Tickets are $35 and available at stillwaterzephyrtheatre.org or at the door. Cash bar open.
Literature Lovers’ Night Out, Sept. 28
Valley Bookseller will present a gathering of national and local authors at The Zephyr Theatre. Featured authors will be Peter Geye (“Sky Jumpers”), Gretchen Anthony (“The Book Haters’ Book Club”), Jillian Medoff (“When We Were Bright and Beautiful”), and Carol Dunbar (“The Net Beneath Us”).
Literature Lovers’ Night Out will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at The Zephyr Theatre, 601 Main St. N., Stillwater. Tickets are $15 and are available at fareharbor.com/valleybookseller. Cash bar open.