By December 1, 2021 Read More →

Unplugged View: The World Is Yours

Unplugged View: The World Is Yours
by Aaron Rowan

‘Duende’: a Spanish word with no direct English translation, which refers to the mystical power of a performer to create an emotional response in the audience.

‘Fernweh’: a German word with no direct English translation, describing the opposite of homesickness; an ache to visit distant places – a deeper feeling than mere wanderlust.

I have a keen interest in languages, and the concepts and entire systems of thought encoded in them. Years ago I put together a songwriter showcase made up entirely of foreign languages; but more recently I’ve had the privilege of working with Opera Modesto on a series of multilingual concerts. We are back at it this month with volume two of a variety show called ‘Around The World In 80 Minutes.’ It’s a mix of opera selections and ethnic folk songs which are sure to evoke both sensations described above.

The show will feature numerous alumni of the Summer Opera Institute, along with professional opera singers. The program includes about ten different languages from across Europe – including one obscure romance language you’ve probably never heard of – along with pieces in Hebrew, Chinese, Nahuatl and Tagalog (a Filipino tongue which is the fourth most widely spoken language in California, as it turns out.) Throw in some fado guitar, cello and some other sweet instrumentation, and you can be sure this afternoon will be brimming with epic beauty. Our venue this time around is the Prospect Theatre, 1214 K St., among the nicer independent venues in town. December 5 starting at 2 PM. Tickets are $30 general and $20 student, available at or by calling 209-523-6426. Check on the Prospect’s health policies at

Two nights earlier, I’ll have my final evening of music at The Dragonfly Art For Life for the year, December 3 from 7:30-9:00. Lindsay Gang is a songbird with family ties in Modesto, who has recently returned to California and even more recently been steered onto my radar. Lindsay is releasing her first EP of original music this month, and will be joined by her guitarist Cedric to share those songs along with traditional folktunes. $10 at the door / extra fees to paint while Lindsay serenades you.

We’ll see you in 2022 with more of what Modesto Unplugged does best: advocating for original songwriters and offering intimate listening-friendly spaces. Until then, Merry Christmas to all!

Intimate performances. Infinite playlist. MODESTO UNPLUGGED.

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