Radio Without Boundaries

KFAI is a volunteer-based community radio station that exists to broadcast information, arts and entertainment programming for an audience of diverse racial, social and economic backgrounds.

MinneCulture Presents

  • Every week on Wed at 7:00 PM

Arts and Culture

With Micah Whetstone

MinneCulture Presents


Live from Minnesota: Koerner & Glover by MinneCulture
West Bank music legends “Spider” John Koerner and Tony “Little Sun” Glover have been jamming together and playing clubs or parties since the early ‘60s. Their raucous enthusiasm during the folk boom garnered them national attention and fame. We find them here performing at the Mill City Museum as part of their outdoor summer concert series in July of 2010. Produced by Dick Rees and Nancy Sartor for KFAI.

Live from Minnesota: Mary Cutrufello by MinneCulture
St. Paul-based roots-rock singer-songwriter Mary Cutrufello has become a mainstay on the national Americana scene. Hailed as "a fierce guitarist with a blistered-throat voice," Cutrufello mixes original songs and classics of American music into a captivating, heartland-proud musical stew both timeless and immediate. Recorded at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall in 2012 by Daniel Zamzow.


MinneCulture Podcast, Ep. 24: The Purple One from KFAI
For our Season 3 finale, stories about the late, great Prince Rogers Nelson. We'll hear from the guy credited with "discovering" Prince, what it was like to get phone calls from Prince at 3 a.m., and we take of tour of "Purple Places" that mark Prince's roots in North Minneapolis. This episode was produced by KFAI’s Nancy Rosenbaum

Prince and the Technician by the Kitchen Sisters
In 1983 Prince hired LA sound technician, Susan Rogers, one of the few women in the industry, to move to Minneapolis and help upgrade his home recording studio as he began work on the album and the movie Purple Rain. Susan, a trained technician with no sound engineering experience became the engineer of all that Prince recorded for the next four years. We'll hear what it was like to work with Prince for 24 hours, 36 hours, 96 hours at a stretch, as he layered and perfected his hot, funky sound.

Not So Purple Rain by Xan Holston

Thirty years after "Purple Rain," African musicians reimagined the 1984 film with local music and flair. Titled “Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It," the Tuareg movie has captured the imagination of cinephiles in Prince's hometown of Minneapolis at the Sound Unseen film festival.


MinneCulture Podcast, Ep. 23: Other Duties as Assigned from KFAI
There are always parts of a job no one else understands or even knows about, unheralded tasks that are executed in the shadows. On this episode, we hear from an elementary school principal and the CEO of a hip-hop record label, each fulfilling the last line on their job description: "Other duties as assigned."

Red Owl Revival by Anna Stitt
The town of Stewart used to be a bustling farm and railroad community. In recent decades, shops have been shuttered and young people have left. But not Jim Pessek. The 34-year-old man is determined to help turn the town's defunct Red Owl grocery store into a museum.

From Fear To Fascination by Rob McGinley Myers
Forty years ago, few people wanted to own snakes or lizards as pets. But since then, the market for geckos, chameleons and bearded dragons has boomed, fueling the success of Twin Cities Reptiles, the largest reptile-themed pet store in Minnesota, which just celebrated its 40th birthday.

A Short History of Split Rock by Ryan Dawes
Wanted: Lighthouse Keeper, must live on the edge of a cliff, host 160,000 visitors a year, and keep your yard looking like it did in 1920. We speak with the man that held that job at Split Rock Lighthouse in northern Minnesota for the past 36 years.

Nature-Inspired Headphone Music by Xan Holston
When Greg Grease isn't drumming in the band Astralblak, he's often hanging out at the Mississippi River. That's one reason why Grease says his new solo album is headphone music that vibrates with introspection.

What Keeps Fiona Reading by Emily Bright
Want to get your book published? Get in line. Graywolf Press' Fiona McCrae has to sift through thousands of manuscripts to get to the good stuff. KFAI’s Emily Bright talked with McCrae about what it takes to get to "yes."

Me Against the Stain by Sam Radwany
For Patric Richardson, Mondays are sacred. It’s the only day of the week that his small clothing store is closed and the day is reserved for his most important ritual. With an iron and a bottle of detergent at the ready, he finds his peace in a basket of dirty laundry. He thinks others can find it there too

One Speed, No Brakes, 43 Degree Angle by Sophie Nikitas
After watching bicyclists swoosh around the National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine, KFAI's Sophie Nikitas joined them. Like the other cyclists, the bike she rides has a single gear and no brakes. This allows for speed demons like Nikitas to get the most of their rides. But Minnesota's only Velodrome - a wood, outdoor track - is closing.


MinneCulture Podcast, Ep. 22: Minnesota History, in Their Own Words from KFAI
Minnesota's oldest auctioneer reflects on rural life, the Kim Loo Sisters face discrimination in the jazz scene during the 1930s and 1940s, and a rusticly bunkinghistorian sheds light on the history of slavery in Minnesota. The episode was produced by KFAI's Emily Bright.

A Short History of Minnesota High Wheel Bikes by Britt Aamodt
Mastering a new hobby can be tricky, especially if that hobby is learning to ride a high wheel bicycle from the 1880s. The high wheels, so named because of their giant front wheels (and tiny back wheels), stood as high as a horse and competed with them for space on cobblestone streets. As we'll hear, dismounting from a high wheel bike can be a wobbly adventure.

10,000 Kids Out-Muscle Horses in 6-Mile House Pull by Matthew Schneeman
Next to Minnehaha Falls sits an old house that hosts exhibits recalling Minneapolis’s past. The house itself is the site of early business deals drawn up by the newly arrived white people and even the naming of Minneapolis. The house is the building that hosted of these deals, but the location has changed. Sounds like a riddle? Tune-in for the answer.

Connecting with a Once Shunned Finnish Past Through Song
by Ryan Dawes
Finnish immigrants to Minnesota often faced discrimination. Many were radicals. To avoid the "Dirty Finn" label, some Finns shunned their heritage. Diane Jarvi, a third-generation Finnish-American, makes music that embraces her under-celebrated culture. KFAI's Ryan Dawes explores Finnish history and music in this profile of Jarvi.

Unraveling the Mystery of the Minneapolis Mummies by Britt Aamodt
For most of the last century, books weren't the only attraction at the Minneapolis Public Library. A pair of Egyptian mummies were. But around 1980, the mummies disappeared from public view. Few people knew what happened to them or how they got to the library in the first place.

It's a Bird. It's a Plane. No, It's SuperMayor! by Britt Aamodt
He cruised the streets in a Lincoln Continental, monitoring police calls and magically making red lights turn green. He wasCharlie McCarty, St. Paul's "super mayor." Elected in 1970, defeated in 1972, he spent two years in the spotlight, long enough for two songs to be written in his honor and a drunk to floor him at a White Castle..


Lady Midnight Live from Minnesota
After years of lending her voice to numerous projects, Lady Midnight finds herself ready to step into the solo spotlight. Her collaborating credits have been numerous and deeply rewarding -- acts such as Malamanya, Parables of Neptune, VANDAAM, P.O.S, Brother Ali, Bon Iver, among seemingly countless others. In this recent live performance backed by the brilliant DJ Sophia Eris, MinneCulture caught Lady Midnight showcasing songs from her newest album at Minneapolis's Icehouse. Our show was recorded by Ryan Mach, mixed and produced by Tom Garneau for KFAI. L8DMDNT's record release showis this coming Friday at the Turf Club in St. Paul!

Malamanya Live from Minnesota
Blending original songwriting with traditional rhythms and melodies of Cuba, Central and South America, Malamanya are able to create a classic sound all their own. Their acoustic-driven dance rhythms celebrate salsa and samba, while drawing on organic forms of the past. Band members for this performance were: Adriana Rimpel providing lead vocals, Jason Marks blew trumpet, Tony Schriner with the bass, Trevor May on guitar, and percussion by Jesse Marks and Luis Ortega. Produced for KFAI by Daniel Zamzow and recorded live at the Cedar Cultural Center in 2012.


MinneCulture Podcast, Ep. 20: Minnesota Musicians, in Their Own Words from KFAI
Meet some Minnesota musicians that take old music, and put their own twist on it. Jumondeh visits backstage with Debbie Duncan who's known as the Twin Cities' "First Lady of Song." We'll also travel to South Minneapolis, where Minnesota’s oldest African-American drum corps is keeping an old musical tradition alive. And we hear from some passionate classical musicians at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra about the album that won them a Grammy in 2018.

MinneCulture Podcast, Ep. 21: Pain, Pain, Go Away from KFAI
For some artists, sickness can fuel their creativity. But for others, illness can drain the inspiration right out of them. In this episode, musician P.O.S and radio producer Katie Thornton discuss the ways chronic illnesses has affected their lives.


A Fiery Unrest: Why Plymouth Avenue Burned by Nancy Rosenbaum

During the summer of 1967, Plymouth Avenue in North Minneapolis went up in flames. This was a period which would become known as the Long Hot Summer. Frustrations about racial discrimination and a lack of opportunity for black Americans were erupting on city streets across the country. Here in Minnesota, those tensions came to a head between July 19-21 on Plymouth Avenue. It was the commercial heart of a racially and ethnically mixed neighborhood; home to the city's largest concentration of African-American residents as well as many Jewish-owned businesses. For some black Minnesotans, Plymouth Avenue was a brick and mortar reminder of racial inequality that could no longer be silently tolerated. In this hour-long documentary, producer Nancy Rosenbaum examines what happened, why, and how people in Minneapolis responded.


MinneCulture Podcast, Ep. 19: Minnesota Eats from KFAI
Immigrants are spicing up Minnesota food. In this episode of the MinneCulture Podcast, host Jumondeh Tweh gets cooking tips from his Liberian mother and listens-in on stories about Hmong and Somali food. Follow us inside three kitchens to learn more about the intersection of food and culture and the ever-shifting definitions of traditional cuisine.

MinneCulture Podcast, Ep. 20: Minnesota Musicians, in Their Own Words from KFAI
Meet some Minnesota musicians that take old music, and put their own twist on it. Jumondeh goes backstage at a Saint Paul jazz club with Debbie Duncan who’s known as the Twin Cities’ “First Lady of Song.” We'll also travel to South Minneapolis, where Minnesota’s oldest African American drum corps is keeping an old musical tradition alive. And we hear from some passionate classical musicians at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra about the album that won them a Grammy in 2018.

From Vacant Lot to Skate-able Park by Emily Bright
On a busy street corner in North Minneapolis, there once stood a fenced-off, vacant lot. It was the site of a building Juxtaposition Arts had to tear down. While they worked to fund a new building, they weren’t about to let that space go to waste. What stands there now is a community gathering spot complete with some very cool artwork - and teenagers were a key part of the design process.

President of the United States had yet to acknowledge the crisis in public. In Minneapolis, as in other cities, activists were now taking control of the conversation through organizations like ACT UP. Individuals did what they could to help people living with HIV/AIDS survive long enough for that hoped-for cure. These samaritans included a leather-clad anthropology professor with a knack for cooking and a young doctor with a big idea. But would there be a cure? The lives of David Bjork, Rene Valdes and Michael Reinbold depended on it. (Photo of Bruce Brockway by Alan Lessik)


Minnesota's HIV/AIDS Crisis (1981-1986)
by Britt Aamodt

In July 1981, the New York Times published an article about a mysterious illness plaguing gay men in New York City. After reading the article, Bruce Brockway, a gay activist and publisher of the Twin Cities' first gay newspaper, turned to his partner and said, "I think I have that." That was AIDS and Bruce was right. Numbers-wise, Minnesota was never a hot zone of infection. But for the Minnesotans living with HIV/AIDS, the struggles were the same: to stay alive and to fight the homophobia that wanted to ignore an epidemic dismissed as a gay man's disease.


Aby Wolf Live from Minnesota
Although sometimes called Dessa's "secret weapon of harmony," Aby Wolf is a powerhouse in her own right. In this performance at the historic Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing, Wolf explores her rich back catalog alongside more recent work to create a powerful and tightly packaged electro-pop mix. This show was part of the Minnesota Music Coalition's Caravan du Nord. Produced, recorded and mixed by KFAI's Tom Garneau for MinneCulture.

Maria Isa and Los Nativos Live from Minnesota
Born and raised in the Twin Cities to NuyoRican parents, singer-songwriter Maria Isa (pictured) celebrates her cultural diversity through music alongside political activism. Los Nativos formed in 1996 and was one of the original groups in RhymesayersEntertainment. The St. Paul duo produce music with a conscious message, integrating hip-hop, jazz, and funk with tejano, mariachi, and salsa to deliver a style all their own. Producer Daniel Zamzow caught the acts performing on May 3rd, 2012 at Conga Latin Bistro for its annual Cinco de Mayo celebration.


Sufi Melange Live from Minnesota
First we'll hear a performance of poetry sung by North Indian classical vocalist Dr. Pooja Goswami Pavan. Her original arrangements feature instruments both traditional like tabla, dholak, bouzouki, and also contemporary, like acoustic guitar, electric bass, and keyboard. An English translation of the text is provided by a narrator before each tune. Produced by Daniel Zamzow for MinneCulture, this presentation features excerpts from the 2015 concert at Normandale Community College in Bloomington as well as perspectives by members of the ensemble. Additional performers are: Greg Herriges on bouzouki and guitar, Tushar Ahmed on bass as well as guitar, Vinod Krishnan at the keys, percussion and dholak played by Abhinav Sharma, Dr. A. Pavan on Tabla, with Dipankar Mukherjee providing narration. Special thanksto Joy Islam for his engineering work.

Casey O’Brien Live from Minnesota
As a composer and bassist from Saint Paul, Casey O'Brien has collaborated with Eyedea, Sonny Knight, PaviElle, Mina Moore, and is a member of the house band for record label Secret Stash. We'll hear O’Brien embarking on several deep harmonic tangents and showcasing original compositions from his album Ghost Dance in this concert taken from the rich and vast MinneCulture archives. His own quartet features Nathan Hanson on saxophones, Ted Godbout on keys, Davu Seru on drums, and O’Brien himself on bass. Their performance was captured by Daniel Zamzow for KFAI on May 13th, 2015 at Jazz Central Studios in Southeast Minneapolis.


Mayda Live from Minnesota
A prolific musician and artist who was born in Korea, Maydais practically a force of nature. Creating a sound both raw and exciting, she blasts her unique MRDR PXP music in this recent performance. It was recorded by Ryan Mach; mixed and produced by Tom Garneau for MinneCulture. Mayda's band included Miho Takayama on bass, Peter Suttman on drums, Danny Solano on guitar, Kyle Borchert on trumpet, and Trevor Peterson on saxophone. She has an upcoming show at Icehouse with PaviElle. Also, keep your eyes out for her in Theater Latte Da's production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch as the bassist.

PaviElle Live from Minnesota
PaviElle brings her own special brand of Neo-Soul to the stage in this performance at the historic Sheldon Theatre in Red Wing, Minnesota. The show was part of the Minnesota Music Coalition's Caravan du Nord and highlights songs from her Fear Not album. PaviElle French, Ahanti Young, and Tiyo Siyolo are heard on vocals with Ahanti Young also on djembe, Ted Godbout on keyboards, Cody McKinney on bass, and Nick Dodd on drums. Recorded, mixed, and produced by Tom Garneau for Minneculture. Her performance of "Sometimes You Wanna Be" was featured on KFAI's new Live from Minnesota Mixtape cassette.


Malaga Island: A Story Best Left Untold by Rob Rosenthal

In 1912, the state of Maine evicted a mixed-race community of about forty-five people from Malaga Island. It was an act of racism, eugenics, and political retribution. Eight islanders were committed to the Maine School for the Feeble-Minded. The rest managed as best they could. The state moved the island school to another island. Then they dug up the graves and reburied the remains in the graveyard at the Maine School. The Malaga community was erased. For generations, descendants feared to speak about what happened to their families because of the local stigma of mixed-blood and feeble-mindedness. Others would rather forget the incident altogether - a story best left untold, some say. But here is that story.

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