“The climate crisis is the defining issue of our time. Fighting for climate justice is about much more than protecting the environment, or moving away from fossil fuels. The moment humanity faces is an opportunity for re-imagination of how our world can function with justice, equality, and a regenerative relationship with the earth at the forefront.”
Xiuhtezcatl (pronounced ‘Shoe-Tez-Caht’) is a 19-year-old indigenous rapper and activist. From performing for the U.N. General Assembly to leading the Youth v. Gov. lawsuit against the Federal Government, Xiuhtezcatl’s actions show his music is more than words. He grew up immersed in the indigenous Aztec traditions of his father and advocating for social and environmental justice with his mother.
“What concerns me most is that people hear the words “climate crisis” and think, “I wouldn’t mind warmer winters.” But climate is evvvrything – food systems, water, shelter – global survival. We are not separate from our climate, we are of our climate, and we need everyone on board to steward the only home we have.”
Aby Wolf is a passionate collaborator with an elastic skillset. Whether writing vocal arrangements for Dessa’s wildly successful appearances with the Minnesota Orchestra, fulfilling commissions from American Composers Forum, Prairie Fire Lady Choir, and Cedar Cultural Center, or performing with everyone from The New Standards and Doomtree to Chastity Brown and JT Bates’ Grain Trio, Aby brings a palpable element of joy to whatever endeavor she pursues. Thanks to a 2019 Arts on Tour grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, Wolf will soon tour greater Minnesota with her newest musical collaboration, Champagne Confetti- an 11-piece electroacoustic chamber ensemble featuring strings, percussion, keys, and vocal harmonies.
“What concerns me most about the climate crisis is the effect it is having on our oceans – the rise in water temp is wreaking havoc on the coral reefs and many aquatic creatures. We take for granted all the work that mother nature is doing in the background to ensure that we have an inhabitable planet.” — MMYYKK of Astralblak
Astralblak is made up of musicians/producers: MMYYKK, Greg Grease, DJ Just Nine & ∆RT P∆RTÉ ; armed with various synths, drum machines, and instruments set 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.The Twin Cities collective Astralblak recently won City Pages’ R & B artist of the year 2019 and Picked to Click, an annual poll of best new Twin Cities musical acts, in 2016. They performed at this year’s Super Bowl Live. Greg Grease, Proper-T, DJ Just Nine, MMYYKK, and Elliott.
Ben Weaver is a songwriter and poet who travels by bicycle. He uses his music as a tool to strengthen relationships between people and their local ecosystems.
Ben’s most recent project Music For Free saw him riding 3000 miles from Canada to Mexico along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route with his guitar and banjo making stops on the route to offer free performances to honor unification through diversity. Ben has completed many wilderness music by bike tours, released nine studio albums and five books of poetry. Given the choice he will side with the animals, lakes, rivers and the trees.
Based in Minnesota, but with roots in Tennessee, Chastity Brown grew up surrounded by country and soul music. In the full gospel church of her childhood, she played saxophone and drums and found her singing voice and a passion for music.
Her first show was in Knoxville, TN, and then it was on to Minneapolis. Since then, she’s been featured on NPR’s “Favorite Sessions,” CMT, American Songwriter, the London Times, Paste Magazine and others. Chastity has toured the U.S. and abroad, appearing on the U.K.’s Later…with Jools Holland. For much of 2016, she toured alongside folk icon/activist Ani Difranco.
“I want to use my voice to speak for causes I believe in and develop the ability to relate and communicate with others. At the root of understanding my climate change story is knowing as much as I can to help share with others on the matter. I’m motivated for the children of tomorrow and the millions of species of animals and plant life that will become irrevocably harmed if widespread change is not adopted.”
Chris Koza is a songwriter/musician living and working in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the diverse climate, the mighty Mississippi River and the balance of both city and rural communities offer continued inspiration. As a solo performer and with his band Rogue Valley, Koza has toured the US, and has also performed in Germany, Iceland and the UK. He has supported nationally renowned artists such as Brandi Carlile, Ingrid Michaelson, The Jayhawks, Stephen Kellogg, Tift Merritt, Martha Wainwright, and Dan Wilson. Koza’s music appears in film and TV shows, including Fox’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, A&E’s Bates Motel, ABC’s General Hospital and 60 Minutes, Freeform’s Alone Together, and MTV’s Jersey Shore.
As the “poster child of entropy,” it’s no surprise that Eric Mayson’s music and live performance is a journey from disbelief into knowing and back again.
He understands music as a way to move through space. In an aerial shot, Mayson’s wide-ranging style stretches from minimalist electropop to smooth R&B, progressive soul, and straight hip-hop, while visiting grinning pop, rock and roll, and operatic arrangements.
Credit: Darin Back
“In a better future, everybody gets a kitten. That’s it. Every single person on Earth gets a kitten. But what if (and please bear with me, I know this sounds crazy), what if instead of a literal kitten everyone on the planet had access to clean air and water, food, shelter, education, and health care? … What if the kitten meant that the whole earth came together to fight climate change and nationalism just kind of faded away as we realize we’re all connected on this little planet? Well, sign me up folks. That’s a future I’m very excited about. Everybody gets a kitten.”
Jeremy Messersmith is an indie pop singer-songwriter and one of Minnesota’s most recognized and celebrated artists, praised by The New York Times, NPR, USA Today, Paste Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Spin, and Rolling Stone among many others. A thoughtful, clever lyricist with a tender voice, the Minneapolis-based troubadour crafts songs that are catchy and relatable, and span the emotional gamut from poignancy to whimsy. Jeremy is one of those rare artists who can break your heart one minute, and then put those fragile pieces back together again the next. His surprise 2017 release 11 Obscenely Optimistic Songs For Ukulele: A Micro-Folk Record For The 21st Century And Beyond is jam-packed with ridiculous songs about kittens, world peace, flying cars, and the transformative power of love. His most recent album, Late Stage Capitalism, released in March 2018 on Glassnote Records, is a decadent orchestral pop record.
“I’m really excited to join forces with a bunch of extremely talented musicians, activists, and community members for this beautiful night of collaboration and awareness-raising. I’m also looking forward to learning more about the overall issues and impacts of climate change in order to better educate myself on what I can do to help.”
Armed with an endless vault of beats and an extensive musical catalog spanning over two decades, Lazerbeak’s classic sound has generally taken on an epic, hard-hitting, everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach – inspired largely by production crews like Atlanta’s Dungeon Family and New York’s Bomb Squad. He’s collaborated with everyone from reigning rap queen Lizzo, bluegrass heavyweights Trampled By Turtles, storied supergroup GAYNGS, East Coast indie-rockers Speedy Ortiz, and the Grammy-winning Minnesota Orchestra, all while continuing to build and create with life-long comrades from his own Doomtree artist collective like Dessa, P.O.S, and Shredders.
“I think as one individual it’s hard to feel like you’re making an impact, so it feels good to be part of something that allows me to use my music towards greater awareness of the immediate need for a change in how we live.”
Lucy Michelle is a songwriter as serious as they come. Twin Cities natives will know her as the frontwoman of gypsy-pop outfit Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles, a raucous and eclectic six-piece that has now become rock-pop quartet Little Fevers. At home and on the road, Lucy has stood boldly amidst that chugging whirlwind of cello and accordion, stomping her foot and singing out fiercely over the top of it all. It’s a collaboration ten years strong whose catalogue reveals an artist developing not only her craft, but also personally.
Tatanka Ohitika (Strong Buffalo) is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Dakota and a decorated Vietnam veteran. He has been writing poetry before there was anything called Native poetry, starting last century.
His words, translated in more than 17 languages, three published books, six CDs, lectures and performances contribute to a world where we use creativity and options other than war, racism, classism, and exploitation to solve the problems that we all share, by just being alive.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS