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Local artists inspire Philadelphia’s youth at Aspiring Young Artists

Aspiring Young Artist | photo by Richard Sanders | courtesy of Aspiring Young Artists

The city of Philadelphia has a very incredibly vibrant music scene and a rich music history that spans genres. But imagine if those two intangible things could become more of a direct resource for the adolescents of the city who are in school and have a passion for creating music. That’s where Aspiring Young Artists steps in.

While most schools can only advocate for more funding so they don’t have to make really hard choices, like cutting out art programs because of lack of funds, AYA cuts out the middle man and connects North Philadelphia students from schools like Youth Build Philadelphia, Kensington CAPA and Olney Charter High School with local artists who teach them how to compose their own music and expose them to the beautiful things that are happening in their hometown’s music scene.

Recently I was able to sit with AYA’s founder Ricky Strickler about how the music programs and the local artists that lead them have made an impact on its students. Continue reading →

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Grandchildren and Vessna Scheff benefit shows to support Big Picture Alliance and Aspiring Young Artists

Grandchildren | photo courtesy of the artist
Grandchildren | photo courtesy of the artist

Grandchildren‘s Aleks Martray has teamed up with fellow Philly musician Vessna Scheff to put together a short series of benefit shows. In a fundraising effort for local youth film and music programs, the two artists have assembled a variety of local musicians to perform at Boot & Saddle on November 16. The second show, November 17 at Warehouse on Watts, will feature youth films and musical performances. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Mitski at Union Transfer, Cayetana at Skid Row Garage & more

Mitski | photo by Ebru Yildiz | courtesy of the artist
Mitski | photo by Ebru Yildiz | courtesy of the artist

Indie rock goddess Mitski returns to Philadelphia tonight in another round of touring to support her latest album Puberty 2The singer-songwriter has made her way through several local venues from our own World Cafe to First Unitarian Church to PhilaMOCA and more, and this time around she has graduated to headlining Union Transfer. Mitski’s cutting lyrics and powerful voice driven by electric guitar makes for an intimate live performance in both the quiet moments and in the loud no matter the size of the venue. The night will also be a hometown show for Philly-based opener Half Waif who will be on the road with Mitski for the duration of the tour. For more information on the sold out show, click here. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Vessna Scheff at Bourbon and Branch, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah at Johnny Brenda’s, You Blew It! at First Unitarian Church, and more

Vessna Scheff | Photo by Johnny Call via artist’s Facebook page

Vessna Scheff grace the stage tonight at Bourbon and Branch, and you can expect clear, sultry vocals atop ukulele strumming and saucy trumpet backings (courtesy of Koofreh Umoren.) Yes, this eclectic combination is a real thing, and it’s refreshingly amazing. See for yourself by watching Vessna Scheff perform “Nodding (Always On My Mind)” live below, and then head over to the XPN Concert Calendar for more info on the show. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Honus Honus at Boot and Saddle, Sun Organ at Kung Fu Necktie

honus honus | photo courtesy of the artist
honus honus | photo courtesy of the artist

In light of his recent debut solo album release, I would say now is the perfect time to catch Honus Honus live. Use Your Delusion is the product of years and years of touring and making music with his band Man Man, which gave him a decade to cultivate his own personal persona and style. Honus Honus is playing tonight at Boot and Saddle with the Brooklyn-based garage-rock band Pink Mexico. Go to the WXPN Concert Calendar for more details on this 21+ show, and check out the video for “Heavy Jesus” below. Continue reading →

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A Journal Come to Life: Vessna Scheff translates experiences into songs

Vessna Sheff | photo via vessnascheff.com
Vessna Sheff | photo by Rohan Ayinde Smith | ayindesmith.com | via vessnascheff.com

Art is a form of expression. Many great artists, whether it’s through music, painting, or poetry, find creative ways to share how they’re feeling or how they once felt with the public. Philadelphia native Vessna Scheff is a perfect example of an artist using their work to speak for them. With the help of her ukulele mixed with the assistance of her angelic voice, the singer/songwriter recently released an EP called Come Home which can be described as a journal of poems detailing the ups and downs of love that are dedicated to a special person in her life. Continue reading →