An Unwelcome Guest Welcomes Guests


New album from Guante & Big Cats! boasts some killer guest-spots

“An Unwelcome Guest,” the zombie-superhero-love story hip hop concept album from Twin Cities duo Guante & Big Cats!, wrapped recently after a couple of grueling sessions at Ben Durrant’s Crazy Beast Studio.  While the album itself won’t be released until late 2009, label Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records is leaking the guest roster now.

The most recognizable name is probably Haley Bonar, the popular singer/songwriter who just made the move to Portland after a long and successful stay in the Twin Cities.  Bonar lends her distinctive voice to “The National Anthem,” a dark and propulsive track that mixes an eerie piano sample, lyrical throwbacks to Pete Rock & CL Smooth, and the first appearance of the album’s signature catchphrase: “we are waking up in our caskets.”

Another singer, Twin Cities-by-way-of-Knoxville folk/soul artist Chastity Brown makes an appearance on the track “Welcome to the Border.”  Successfully blending threatening with beautiful, her sections of the song are warnings: “crawling, walking, running, pressing up against your lovely lines/ we are underwater breathing, we are walking through your fire/ pressure building, burning, pressing up against your lovely home/ we are so close…”

The Twin Cities vibrant hip hop scene is well represented by guest spots from Big Quarters (on “The Stockholm Syndrome”) and Eric Blair of the bands Hyder Ali and No Bird Sing (on “Yes God is a DJ; No, Not a Good One”).  All three emcees get to flex their creativity and develop characters that fit into Guante’s overarching narrative, the story of one man traveling from east to west in the wake of a man-made disaster.

Finally, Strange Famous (home of Sage Francis, B.Dolan and Doomtree’s Cecil Otter) recording artist Prolyphic delivers a fiery storytelling verse alongside Guante and Big Quarters on “The Stockholm Syndrome,” a track about survival at all costs.

“I love putting people on the same song whom you wouldn’t ever expect to be on the same song,” Guante says.  The track with Prolyphic and Big Quarters is a monster, and the one with me and Haley Bonar might be my favorite on the album; who would ever think that she’d sound so natural and at-home on a hip hop album about displacement, zombies and the political/social nature of violence?”

Add to this the beat-making talents of Big Cats! and the critically acclaimed lyrics and vocals of rapper, slam poetry champion and activist Guante, and you’ve got a potent mix. “An Unwelcome Guest” will be out late in 2009 on Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records.

For further updates, check out and

Sha Cage featured in ‘The Buddha Prince’ in Central Park, NYC

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Noted Twin Cities actress Sha Cage is featured in The Buddha Prince for a series of performances in Central Park, in commemoration of Tibet’s 50 Years in Exile! ( to celebrate the life and teachings of His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama. This labor day weekend, The Buddha Prince will return to Central Park with performances a performance on Friday, September 4th, to be followed by two performances a day on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, September 5th – 7th.

The Buddha Prince is a play celebrating the extraordinary life and teachings of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, created for a diverse audience, of all ages. It shares the story of his early life in a free Tibet and his subsequent escape into India. Narrated with excerpts from the Dalai Lama’s own teachings and autobiographies, The Buddha Prince offers a very personal point of view into his coming of age, the difficulties he experienced, the precious lessons, and the tremendous sadness he absorbed for his people. It was created to be performed outdoors as a ‘walking play,’ taking the audience on a journey through the natural environment with the scenes unfolding around them. Drawing from both eastern and western artistic traditions, a diverse cast of physical actors, dancers and musicians tells the story with song, dance, mask, puppetry, clown, traditional Tibetan and home-spun musical instruments. Above all, The Buddha Prince is a theatrical offering to invoke peace in the world and to celebrate the inherent goodness of human beings. The audience is meant to laugh out loud, to cry with others, and to leave inspired by a belief in the great capacity of the human heart. It has received full endorsement from the Dalai Lama’s Office of Tibet.

Performance times, dates and location:

Friday Sept 4: 5:30PM
Saturday, Sunday, Monday Sept 5-7: 2 and 5:30PM
W103rd St entrance to Central Park

The Buddha Prince will showcase in the Twin Cities from September 17th – 21st, at Powderhorn Park. Performances will take place at 5:30pm on weekdays, and 2:00pm and 5:30pm on weekends. The play is free with suggested donation. Visit or for more info.

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E.G. Bailey co-curates + hosts Late Nite Series

Late Nite Series Sept 12th Poster

Pillsbury House Theatre proudly presents Non English Speaking Spoken Here: The Late Nite Series, curated by Laurie Carlos and co-curated by e.g. bailey. Late Nite is a transformation of culture where text, music, spoken word, sounds and images weave together in a fearless celebration of new voices and new art. Witness the beginnings of brand new performances as artists from an array of disciplines come together to explore the cross currents of social change, community and identity. Each performance brings new and original acts to the Pillsbury House Theatre stage.

When you attend a Late Nite performance, you’re part of a family and every good family gathering is incomplete without a good meal.  That’s why we always serve up some great food before you digest some amazing art.  Be sure to bring your appetite when you join us for Late Nite.  (There is no extra cost for food.)

Featured artists for Late Nite 2009 include:

September 12 (8pm – Food, 9pm – Performance)
• José James featuring Chris Smith, Gideon van Gelder and Brandon Commodore
• St. Paul Soapboxing Slam Team (with Khary Jackson, Guante + Sierra DeMulder)
• Kenna Sarge
• D’Lo
• DJO (of the Bottom Feeders + Death Ray Scientific)

October 10 (Food and performance to immediately follow King of Shadows; approximately 9:15pm)
• Zell Miller III
• Katie Ka Vang
• Kim Thompson

November 14 (8pm – Food, 9pm – Performance)
• Pramila Vasudevan featuring Sarah Beck-Esmay, Romina Takimoto, Chitra Vairavan, and Matt Wells
• Joette Poehler + Love
• Bill Cottman featuring J. Otis Powell and directed by Dipankar Mukherjee

Ticket Prices:
$10 Adults, $5 for students/seniors. Ticket packages are available now (Save $6! Attend all three Late Nite performances for only $24; Save $10! Attend all three Late Nites plus get a ticket to the October 10th performance of King of Shadows for only $40). Single tickets go on sale Aug 24 at 10am.

Guante featured at Clapperclaw Music + Arts Festival

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Guante is featured at Clapperclaw Music + Arts Festival. Clapperclaw Music + Arts Festival is an independent music and arts festival based on some of the alternative – minded events that take place in other cities around the country. With the inaugural incarnation in 2007 and the return in 2008, the mission of Clapperclaw is to showcase renowned local and emerging national bands, incorporating talented artists, film, theater, and fashion elements to bring forth a truly engaging festival to the Twin Cities. Part of this year’s proceeds will benefit Intermedia Arts ( This years roster also includes No Bird Sing, City on the Make, Tarlton, Free Energy, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yelstin, The Show is the Rainbow, Kristoff Krane, Phantom Tails, Dada Trash Coilage, Elite Gymnastics, and others. The festival begins at 2:00pm at Intermedia Arts. Guante performs at 3:50pm.

Guante performs at 3:50pm (Outdoor Stage). $15 advance; $20 at the door. Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN.

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Sha Cage + E.G. Bailey featured at Poets’ Lounge Open Mic (NYC)

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Sha Cage + e.g. bailey, the Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis of spoken word, will be featuring at the Poets ‘Lounge Open Mic at Food 4 Thought in Brooklyn, NY. Hosted by Paris Alexandra + DJ Paris the Juggler, the show features poets, singers and emcees from New York’s underground scene.

The showcase takes place every first and third Thursday of the month. 7:30 – 10:30pm. $5 (free before 7:30pm). Food 4 Thought, 445 Marcus Garvey Blvd (MacDonough + Marcus Garvey), Brooklyn, New York, 10024.

Guante featured at Junkyard Empire ‘Rebellion Politik’ Release Party

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Politically rambunctious hip-hop/jazz/indie ensemble Junkyard Empire set to perform with emcee, activist and 2009 National Poetry Slam 1st Place winner GUANTE at the Rebellion Politik CD Release Party on September 4th. Co-Sponsored by

Junkyard Empire plans to blow the roof off of the Cedar Cultural Center on September 4 with hip-hop and spoken word poet extraordinaire, Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records artist GUANTE, and internationally acclaimed independent war reporter, DAHR JAMAIL.  Guante and the St. Paul “Soap Boxing” poetry slam team recently finished first at the 2009 National Poetry Slam, beating out artists from Austin, NYC, Oakland, San Francisco, Albuquerque and elsewhere.  Guante’s success as a poet is reflected in his work as an emcee: every word counts, and stage presence is as much about creating a real connection with the audience as it is about jumping up and down and yelling.  City Pages, in their annual “Artists of the Year” feature, said: “Guante quietly rolled into the Twin Cities’ hip-hop and spoken-word scenes with a hand grenade, and pulled the pin. If you look anywhere in those scenes now, you’ll see his shrapnel buried deep in every wall.”

Headlining act Junkyard Empire shares a similar passion for lyrical content and successfully inspires its listeners to think critically about world affairs and question mainstream media’s impression of international politics.  Trombonist and band founder Christopher Cox discussed in a recent interview with Political Affairs Magazine that Junkyard Empire wishes to provide “the soundtrack for political protest,” commenting that all necessary change needs to come from a grassroots level in various communities.  Vocalist Brihanu elaborated that the music “is just the icing on the cake” implying that its message and organizing power is where much of the splendor lies.

Don’t miss this extraordinary event as Junkyard Empire continues to unite music and politics and Guante thrills the crowd with the ferocity of his stage presence.  It will be a night of impeccable musical performance and fascinating world assessment that is sure to turn heads and enlighten minds.

Junkyard Empire CD Release Party featuring Guante, Carnage the Executioner, Samosa and Dahr Jamail. Co-sponsored by 7:00pm. All Ages. $10 in advance; $12 at the door. Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN.

Guante + Big Cats! w/ The Tribe (plus Chantz) at UW Stout


Blue Devil Productions is proud to present Guante and Big Cats! with The Tribe. The artists are scheduled to perform at the University of Wisconsin-Stout on Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 8 p.m. in the Underground, located on the lower level of the Memorial Student Center.

Producer, musician, and visual artist Big Cats!, will be performing with Minneapolis emcee/slam poet Guante. Taking advantage of a multitude of instruments and sounds, producer Big Cats! blends his atmospheric hip hop perfectly over whomever he is collaborating with. Drawing upon influences such as RJD2, Prefuse 73, or even Dosh, Big Cats! beats and production tastefully weave through instrumental passages while creating memorable hooks. Guante features insightful, socially conscious lyrics, expanding upon themes of political unrest and personal turmoil. His smooth delivery is not demanding of your attention, but that doesn’t mean that his words should fall on deaf ears.

Minneapolis/Menomonie newcomers The Tribe, featuring members TruthBeTold and DJ Pete, are steadily gaining notoriety for their upbeat and intelligent hip hop. Relying heavily on the use of samples, DJ Pete’s production is a nod back to other eras of hip hop and rap. The equable style of TruthBeTold features lyrics that are both discerning and honest. Still performing off their March EP release, Supply and Demand, the group demonstrates a more polished and though-out effort that will certainly gain more attention in the local hip hop scene. The future of Twin Cities hip hop has worthy disciples in The Tribe.

This event is sponsored by Blue Devil Productions of the University of Wisconsin-Stout and is FREE to all. Go to for more information.

Chastity Brown kicks off Five Days in September Residency at 331 Club

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Chastity Brown has had a summer of highlights including the Shadow & Light Tour through out the Southwest, the East Coast Fling mini tour (which featured her first New York performance + a performance as part of the Woman’s Music Series at Highlands Inn), the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, the Stone Arch Festival, the Art A Whirl, the St. Paul Art Crawl, the LaCrosse Pride Festival, and a spotlight on TPT’s Almanac. She will be capping off the summer with the Five Days in September residency at the 331 Club. The residency will take place every Tuesday in September and will also feature some of the Twin Cities dynamic singer songwriters, including Nick ‘The Feelin’, The Floorbirds, Aby Wolf, Paul (from Painted Saints), and Javier Trejo.

Every Tuesdays in September. 9:00pm. Free. 331 Club, 331-13th Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN.

Guante + Big Cats! featured at No Bird Sing CD Release Party

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Guante + Big Cats! featured at the No Bird Sing self-titled debut CD release party at Eclipse Records, on September 11th. The album features Eyedea, Kristoff Krane, Alicia Wiley and others. The all-ages release party will also feature Big Trouble.

No Bird Sing Release Party featuring Guante + Big Cats!, and Big Trouble. 7:00pm. All Ages. $5. Eclipse Records, 1922 University Avenue West, St. Paul, MN  55104.

Guante + See More Perspective at Kibera Girls Soccer Academy Benefit

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Guante + See More Perspective feature at a benefit for Kibera Girls Soccer Academy. Kibera Girls Soccer Academy (KGSA) supports and sustains the development and growth of a girl’s soccer academy located in the slums of Kibera, Kenya. KGSA was established as a U.S. based non-profit that works to develop strategies for the long-term sustainability of the school, and to identify individual donors and organizations interested in partnering to promote secondary educational opportunities for our students. KGSA works directly with the school’s staff in Nairobi, Kenya to provide free, quality education and programming for our students, while raising awareness around the issues of gender inequalities. KGSA is dedicated to improving the lives of at-risk and disadvantaged young women by providing free secondary education, and artistic and athletic opportunities in the slums of Kibera, Kenya. It believes that through active participation in sports, arts, and education, young women will have the opportunity to develop a stronger confidence in their minds, bodies, and spirits – empowering them to become inspiring leaders in their own communities and country, as they advocate for a brighter Kibera and Kenya.

The benefit will also feature the St. Paul Soapboxing Slam Team (2009 National Slam Champions), Slam MN! and others. The Music Box Theatre, 1411 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota. 7:00pm. All Ages. $5.