Veda Ponikvar is known as “The Iron Lady of Chisholm,” and recognized by the Historical Society as one of Minnesota’s 150 most important people. Born of humble beginnings to Eastern European immigrants on the Iron Range in northeastern Minnesota, Veda attended college, served in World War II, and returned to her hometown to start the Chisholm Free Press. She is a life-long advocate for workers, children and the mentally disabled. KFAI producer Britt Aamodt journeyed up north to talk to this 93-year-old icon.
This summer at Black Dog Café, poet and playwright Lisa Brimmer gathered a group of free-style jazz musicians called High Society for a night of spoken word and improvisational music. The show was recorded and produced for KFAI by Daniel Zamzow. High Society includes Chris Bates on bass, Evan Montgomery on guitar, Peter Hennig on auxiliary percussion, Cory Grossman on cello, Nathan Hanson on saxophone and Greg Shutte.
Joy Islam, Tushar Ahmmed and Palbasha Siddique are three impassioned Bangladeshi musicians who have made Minnesota their home. Fusing Bangla musical roots with other genres including folk, classical, heavy metal, and pop, they’ve made an indelible mark in the Twin Cities. KFAI producer MJ Gilmore talks to Joy, Tushar and Palbasha about how their personal journeys have influenced and affected their music.
In 1886, the State-Run School for Dependent and Neglected Children opened in Owatonna, Minnesota. For nearly 60 years the orphanage housed thousands of children, and during the Great Depression, was massively overcrowded. For some, the orphanage provided a safe haven, but for many others, beatings and neglect were commonplace. In this documentary, KFAI producer Dan Greenwood talks with Harvey Ronglien—a former state-schooler who spent his entire childhood at the orphange—to learn about the dark and sordid past of the institution. Since the 1990s, Harvey and his wife Maxine have worked with the city to create a museum honoring the children who lived there. Today the campus at West Hills is on the National Registry as a Historic District. For more information, visit orphanagemuseum.com.
MinneCulture features a special concert recorded at the Perpich Center for Arts Education. The student-organized ensembles perform original compositions and songs, including:
Super Raccoon Bat!
D’Arcy Spiller (solo)
100% Groove Train
Singer/songwriter Mary Cutrufello was raised in Connecticut and spent years as a recording artist in Texas. She settled in the Twin Cities 10 years ago, and continues to play locally and nationally. Known as a “honky-tonk heroine,” she’s been featured on Austin City Limits and has produced a number of albums, including a major release on Mercury Records. Vocal nodes silenced her for three years, but in 2007 she returned to performing and released the album, “35.” Her most recent release is “Fireflies till they’re Gone,” which showcases both her full-throated rock wail and quiet intensity. This “Live from Minnesota” segment was produced for KFAI by Daniel Zamzow.
California native Brian Laidlaw considers himself a poet first and musician second. After several years of touring, Laidlaw settled in Minneapolis to earn his Masters of Fine Art in poetry at the University of Minnesota. He wrote the album “wolf wolf wolf” as the audio counterpart to his masters’ thesis and released it in the fall of 2011. In this edition of Live from Minnesota, Laidlaw shares his poetry, music and insight on blending of these art forms. For more information, go to brianlaidlaw.com. Produced for KFAI by Flor Trevino.