MANITOBA X MINNESOTA: Manitoba Music Teams Up with MPR's The Current for Music Exchange Project, Showcases in Winnipeg and Minneapolis

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Clockwise from top left: Mise en Scene, Living Hour, Gospel Machine, Reina del Cid

Manitoba and Minnesota have a lot in common. Of course, there are the oft-cited temperatures and a certain brand of Midwestern humility. But there’s a long history of nurturing and supporting incredible artistic talent that connects the two Ms… and next month, they’re getting together and crossing the border.

Last year, Manitoba Music trekked south to make connections with Minnesota-based industry and media, making friends with the people behind popular Minnesota Public Radio's The Current. This year, the two are teaming up to bring Manitoba bands to Minnesota and Minnesota bands to Manitoba for a new music exchange project: Manitoba X Minnesota. Offering a chance for the four export-ready acts to expand their audience base and network with key industry players. 

Manitoba’s own indie rock/pop four-piece Mise en Scene and dream pop outfit Living Hour will take over for some Midwestern fun at The Good Will on November 7 along with garage gospel act Gospel Machine and pop/rock singer/songwriter Reina del Cid. On November 12, the four bands will take the show to Minneapolis’ 7th St. Entry. Between shows, each act will have the chance to network with key industry players, offering a chance to share and develop their audiences. 

Always captivating on stage, Mise en Scene’s sound has hints of everything from ‘60s pop and alt-country to early punk and garage rock – organic and unadulterated by studio trickery. Produced by the team of Howard Redekopp (Tegan & Sara), Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire), and Tony Berg (Beck), the band’s debut, Desire's Despair, charted for 16 weeks on the !earshot Top 50 national charts in Canada, picked up a 2014 Sirius XM Indies Award nod, and landed the band coveted spots performing around the world including at the esteemed Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona, repeat appearances at SXSW, and festivals in the UK, Australia, and downtown Paris to over 15,000 people. Now in the midst of recording their sophomore album, the band is also set to return to SXSW this March. 

Formed by childhood friends with a sound inspired by the dreamy and open prairie sky from their Winnipeg home town, Living Hour carries an influence from the Velvet Underground and Mazzy Star, blending a passion for psychedelic dream-like guitar with old school love songs. With a limited edition cassette released with U.S. indie label, Tree Machine Records in April 2015 to extremely positive reviews, Living Hour recently finished up a 29-date North American tour. 

Gospel Machine takes the soul of ‘60s Motown and puts it in the hands of a garage band. The Minneapolis quintet uses soul, R&B, and gospel music to craft songs that cry out for a better day, songs that point to redemption from the struggle. Fronted by lead singer Jayanthi Kyle (Romantica, Black Audience), a curator of African-American folk songs and spirituals who has been singing around the Twin Cities for over a decade, together with songwriter Wes Burdine and his bandmates from indie rock outfit The Small Cities, they call the band's sound "garage gospel". Capturing the raw energy of a Gospel Machine live performance, debut album Your Holy Ghost was release on October 2, 2015. 

Often compared to Regina Spektor and Ingrid Michaelson and influenced by the likes of Virginia Woolf or Sylvia Plath, Minneapolis singer/songwriter Reina del Cid has established a strong following for her engaging brand of pop rock. Along with her band, del Cid combined lyrical and musical forces compellingly on their sophomore album, The Cooling, and has played more than 300 shows in over two years both in their hometown and on national tours. 

Minnesota Public Radio® (MPR) is one of the U.S.’s premier public radio stations producing programming for radio, online and live audiences and operates a 45-station radio network serving nearly all of Minnesota and parts of surrounding states. Reaching 900,000 listeners each week, MPR and its three regional services—MPR News, Classical MPR, and The Current—produce programming for radio, online, and face-to-face audiences. The Minnesota bands participating in next month’s Manitoba X Minnesota project were chosen by fans in The Current's music exchange contest.

The showcases are part of a busy season for Manitoba Music, which wrapped up market development events in Berlin, Hamburg, London, Warsaw, Toronto, and Montreal, just in time for a slate of upcoming events this month at M for Montreal and a first trip to Japan with Canadian Blast. Bringing Manitoba music to new markets and intensifying business activity in existing markets is a key component of Manitoba Music's trade and business development activities, which are funded by Western Economic Diversification Canada. Manitoba Music's market development initiatives are also funded by FACTOR through the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Music Fund) and of Canada's Private Radio Broadcasters, Manitoba Film & Music, and Manitoba Trade & Investment.

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