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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Micah Erenberg
Sleeping Jesus
Le Garage Cafe
The Secret Beach

Minnesota is one of Manitoba’s closest and largest music markets. Just over the border, the Twin Cities alone is home to over 3.2 million people. And much like their neighbours (or, um, neighbors) to the north, Minnesotans have a long history of nurturing and supporting incredible artistic talent.

Manitoba Music is teaming up once again with Minnesota Public Radio's The Current for a music exchange that will deepen connections with Minnesota-based industry and media. Manitoba X Minnesota Music Exchange offers the chance for four export-ready acts to expand their audience base and network with key industry players.

Manitoba’s own groove-filled alt-pop outfit Lanikai and bedroom country/pop act Micah Erenberg will trek south for some Midwestern fun at Minneapolis’ 7th St. Entry on November 10 along with Minnesota acts indie rock singer/songwriter Sleeping Jesus and electronic R&B collective ZULUZULUU. The fours bands will then head across the border for a night of music and fun at Le Garage in Winnipeg on November 12. Between shows, each act will have the opportunity to network with key industry players, offering a chance to share and develop their audiences.

Leading up to the shows, The Current and UMFM 101.5 will also be spinning tunes from a cross section of Manitoba and Minnesota acts. The Current's Jim McGuinn and David Safar will also speak at a MusicWorks panel on November 12 at Manitoba Music exploring strategies artists can use to make Minneapolis and St. Paul as a launch pad to tour this thriving market and open other regions in the U.S.

The new project from Imaginary Cities front woman Marti Sarbit, Lanikai pulls together lush, sparkling alt-pop vibes and swaggering ‘60s soul groove to create a timeless, distinctive sound. Lanikai’s self-titled debut – out November 2016 on Hidden Pony Records and already landing on Spotify playlists – distills this approach to its finest form: gorgeous, poignant pop music. Her previous band – along with Rusty Matyas, who co-produced two songs on Lanikai's debut – was an award-winning indie-pop goliath that toured North America with Pixies and was long-listed for the Polaris Music Prize. Lanikai – more than any musical voyage she embarked on before – is the crystal clear sound of Sarbit's purest voice.

Micah Erenberg is a storyteller and a singer/songwriter; an engineer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist; a front man in a rock band, and a side man for anyone else. Micah’s music has been described as “bedroom country/pop”, with production qualities reminiscent of Beck and story-based lyrics reminiscent of Townes Van Zandt. This year Micah is set to release his debut album, Poor Mic’s Toe, which was almost entirely self-recorded and self-produced at a cabin in his home town of Matlock, Manitoba and backed by the a diverse guest list of some of the finest musicians on Manitoba’s scene.

Sleeping Jesus, the soft-spoken hopeless romantic, turned themes of unlikely love and summer in New York into his acclaimed debut release, Perennial. The EP sweetly delivers a dose of nostalgia, drawing the listener in and delivering a sermon of young love and the beautiful foolishness that accompanies it and landed him a spot in Paste Magazine’s tastemaking Daytrotter Session in August.

Named as one of First Avenue’s Best New Bands 2014, ZULUZULUU gathered to build collectively and contribute to the new vanguard of Black music. Made up of six musicians/producers armed with various synths, drum machines, and instruments, the band sets out to bring a new, exploratory modern sound influenced by the greats of funk, soul, and jazz with electronic excursions, hard grooves, Afro-futurism and soulful melodies. ZULUZULUU explores the psyche and searches for Black Excellence.

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 just wrapped up market development events in Berlin, Hamburg, London, Warsaw, Ottawa, and Toronto. 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. Manitoba Music's market development initiatives are funded by the Province of Manitoba, Manitoba Film & Music, and FACTOR through the financial support of the Government of Canada and Canada's private radio broadcasters.

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