Midwest Music Exchange

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Silence Kit (Photo: BNB Studios)
Silence Kit
Lady Lark
Zed Kenzo

Manitoba Music Teams Up with MPR's The Current and Radio Milwaukee for Music Exchange, Showcases in Winnipeg, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee April 9-12 

Manitoba and the American Midwest have a lot in common. There are the oft-cited temperatures and a certain brand of humility. There’s also a long history of nurturing and supporting incredible artistic talent that connects us. Next month, three music hotbeds are joining forces for the Midwest Music Exchange, in Winnipeg, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee.

Manitoba Music is teaming up with Minnesota Public Radio's The Current for the fourth edition of the music exchange aiming to continue deepening connections with Minnesota-based industry and media. New partner this year, Radio Milwaukee, is supporting a showcase date in Wisconsin’s largest city.

“The American Midwest is one of Manitoba’s closest and largest music markets, so we’re thrilled to be working with our friends at The Current and our new partners at Radio Milwaukee to offer these artists an opportunity to share audiences and connect with industry and media, which are critical to building successful and sustainable careers.,” says Manitoba Music’s executive director, Sean McManus.

Manitoba’s own rock outfit Silence Kit will join up with Minnesota-based pop/soul artist Lady Lark and rapper Zed Kenzo from Milwaukee for a series of showcases and business-building activities. They’ll kick things off at The Good Will Social Club in Winnipeg on April 9 before trekking south for some Midwestern music and fun at Minneapolis’ Icehouse on April 10. Silence Kit will get on air with The Current for an interview and live session on April 11. Meanwhile, the annual Minnesota Music Summit will host a special Manitoba reception on April 11 followed by a stop at Milwaukee’s Company Brewing on April 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, Radio Milwaukee, and Winnipeg’s UMFM 101.5 will be spinning tunes from a cross section of Manitoba and Midwest acts. The Current's music director David Safar, will join hip hop producer Aaron Mader, aka Lazerbeak, The Current's Jade, Minnesota Music Coalition's Symone Wilson, and TR Agency’s Tyler Rehm at a MusicWorks roundtable lunch on April 9 at Manitoba Music exploring strategies artists can use to make the Midwest a launch pad to tour this thriving market and open other regions in the U.S.

Silence Kit is fresh from the release of their new album, Silence Kit presents: Kitty Kitty, produced with Jesse Gander (Japandroids, White Lung, Pack AD), a tour of Ontario and Quebec, and a showcase spot at Winnipeg’s winter music discovery festival, Big Fun. The four piece blends the driving method of early 2000s alternative and the unrestrained vision of post punk, made readily apparent by their intimate and explosive live performances that always deliver.

Lady Lark is a Minneapolis artist reviving a sound that echoes 20 years of pop, soul, and funk music. City Pages named her 2018's Best R&B Artist and The Current has called her "a pop/soul star to be".

Rapper Zed Kenzo has been turning heads and building buzz with her new single, “Go Psycho”, which dropped in January. Dubbed one of Milwaukee’s best rappers by Shepherd Express, the alum of Radio Milwaukee’s music accelerator program, Backline, hit Austin for a coveted SXSW showcase spot in March.

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 showcases are part of the winter/spring season for the Manitoba Music Export project, which just wrapped up market development initiatives at Folk Alliance International’s annual showcase, this year in Montreal, and preparing for Austin’s massive SXSW music fest with six local artists showcasing. Manitoba Music also co-presented the PASSPORT: Music Export Summit masterclasses in Winnipeg and Halifax in February and hosted over a dozen national and international industry pros at January Music Meeting.

Bringing Manitoba music to new markets and intensifying trade activity in existing markets is a key component of Manitoba Music Export initiatives. Manitoba Music Export is funded by the Province of Manitoba, FACTOR and the Government of Canada, and Manitoba Film & Music. Through events like these, Manitoba Music is able to increase the connection between our province’s music industry and the broader national and international industry, which is vital to the career advancement of Manitoba artists and industry professionals, and contributes to the growth and development of Manitoba’s economy.

Find out more at manitobamusic.com/midwestmusicexchange

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