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Various Artists
Live At The Cedar: Visionaries
Cedar

By Tom Jackson

Judging by this live fundraiser, the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis deserves its reputation as a “good room.” It certainly has hosted some fine performances. The visionaries documented here include Africans Baaba Maal (in terrific voice on “Baayo”), Cesaria Evora, and the late Ali Farka Touré; Gillian Welch and David Rawlings trading sweet harmonies on the desolate “Orphan Soul,” while a rambunctious Dave Van Ronk is followed by Ani DiFranco singing with the wayward zing of an uncoiled spring. Two songs are mill-related (Minneapolis was known as the Mill City), but there’s nothing parochial about this collection, which does what good compilations should: it sends you scurrying to dig out more work from the featured performers. Norwegian Mari Boine definitely deserves a look, and maybe it’s time to give Welch a proper go. Meantime, this audio scrapbook of stellar evenings at the Cedar will please any music fan.

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