Carolyn Koebel | WMUK

Carolyn Koebel

Kalamazoo Concert Band

Four years ago in the midst of a Michigan winter, the Kalamazoo Concert Band offered a musical getaway with a program called "Arabian Nights." Music director Dr. Tom Evans joined Cara Lieurance to showcase the highlights, including Sam Hazo's Arabesque, James Hosay's Persis, and Brian Balmages' Arabian Dances.


courtesy of the artist

Carolyn Koebel's musical life has introduced her to so many diverse musicians, regionally and beyond, that she no longer sees barriers between genres. The multi-instrumentalist and music therapist  likes to connect these disparate points in her projects.

Benjamin Lau

Today would have been Dacia Bridges' 47th birthday. The performer, who died of a brain aneurysm in 2019, was re-building a music career from Kalamazoo, after garnering considerable international success on the music scene in Germany. Bridges was working on an album with the Dacia Bridges Project, an all-female lineup of Michigan-based musicians. She was also raising her daughter, Billie Sky, as a single parent, and filming a documentary about an untold piece of Kalamazoo history, the Kalamazoo Boxing Academy, among other things.

In a conversation that frequently references Dacia's spirit and personality, bandmates Carolyn Koebel and Cori Somers, and La Luna Studios' Ian Gorman, talked to Cara Lieurance about finishing seven songs (including "Unpredictable Child" and "Road Back To You") for release on Bandcamp (available locally at Green Light Music).  Proceeds will go toward a fund benefitting Bridges' daughter.

Jim Triezenberg, for Kalamazoo Nature Center

The arboretum at the Kalamazoo Nature Center will ring with more than birdsong on Sunday, Sep 13 at 3 pm. Six performers and ensembles, invited by the Connecting Chords Festival, will be stationed at different points along the paths, allowing visitors to wander and listen. The performers are world music percussionist Carolyn Koebel, Ugandan singer/dancer/multi-instrumentalist Samuel Nalangira, the Celtic group Hazeltree, singer/storyteller Sidney Ellis II, Scandinavian duo Norse Code, and the Middle Eastern group Bahar Ensemble. Koebel, Nalangira, and Connecting Chords executive director Elizabeth Start joined Cara Lieurance for a preview.


Austin Colbert

From Friday, Oct 18 through Sunday, Dec 1, the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music will present the 2019 Connecting Chords Music Festival, a series of 20 events that reveal traditions of faiths around the world. In a conversation with Cara Lieurance, festival director Elizabeth Start and performer Carolyn Koebel talk about the master musicians who will be visiting the community to perform, and ways community members can become participants in activities like Taiko drumming, sacred singing, and African drumming and dance. 

Some of the prominent artists include multi-instrumentalist Samite of Uganda, early music group Schola Antiqua, oud master Rahim Alhaj, and Japanese-American Taiko drummer Ken Koshio

In particular, Start and Koebel detail the work of the Tibetan Buddhist Monks from Drepung Loseling Monastery.  From Nov 6 - Nov 10, the monks will create an intricate mandala, or sand-painting. The public can observe its creation from 9 am - 5 pm at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. The monks will also offer a concert of song and dance featuring rare instruments and costumes, at 7:30 pm Friday, Nov 8 at Comstock Auditorium.


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