Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What I Learned in Iraq: MN Underground Hip-Hop

by Doug MacRostie

Something about falling in love with music while stationed in Iraq strikes me as profound... The other day a young man named Alex Aldrich came into the KAXE Studios inquiring about volunteering. It didn't take long to figure out he was very passionate and engaged with music. When I asked him about it, he said he especially likes the MN underground hip-hop scene, so I asked him to join me on Centerstage MN for a Pick 3 of MN Favs. Between his selections, and a conversation with Roma Di Luna, this week is another wild mix of MN talent. Alex is 24 years old. He joined the military when he was 17 and served in Iraq. He told me that when he was young(er), he didn't have a huge emotional connection with music. His older sister started sending him music while he was overseas, which helped to fill the long voids of staring out at the desert on duty and waiting during down time. This is when his passion and connection with music was born. I can't imagine the situation, but I can understand developing an intimate connection with music, which we'll be talking about.

The band name Roma Di Luna translates to 'Gypsies of the Moon' - the name is a mish-mash of different languages and cultures; 'Roma' references the gypsy life-style and the sound in Eastern European folk music, and 'Di Luna' meaning 'the moon' in European and American cultures. This combining of cultures and styles serves as a perfect name to represent the unique and exciting sound that is Roma Di Luna, who take influences from all over the world and combine them into a new style of folk song story telling.

I am very excited to have Channy and Alexei Moon Casselle of Roma Di Luna on Centerstage MN. Husband and wife, Alexei and Channy are the songwriting core of RDL. When I heard their debut release Find Your Way Home back in 2007 I was floored - such moving and compelling vocals with a genuine, bare-bones style of 'new old music.' For their latest release Casting the Bones they expanded to a full band which only served to enhance and elevate the sound further into new sonic territory. Channy's beautifully haunting vocals combined with Alexei's songwriting create a truly original sound that I look forward to talking with them about.

Centerstage MN is Thursday evenings at 6, streaming live online at www.KAXE.org; or 91.7 Grand Rapids, 89.9 Brainerd and 105.3 Bemidji and can be heard again Sunday mornings at 6. All interviews are archived at www.KAXE.org. Centerstage MN is also heard on Pioneer 90.1 in Thief River Falls, Saturday nights at 11pm.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was on the way home when I heard the interview. It was wonderful to hear you speak about Hip-Hop/music and the many ways it heals and helps. I have been listening to HH since I was five-years old and the culture is a part of who I am and how I choose to look at life. I have spent the last ten- years working in Asia and there wasn't a week that passed where I wasn’t streaming Hip-Hop from the States, Australia, Japan, and South Korea.

Thank you,