By July 30, 2016 Read More →

UnpluggedView – When the Cows Come Home

Unplugged View
By Aaron Rowan

When The Cows Come Home
I watched an incredible piece of video recently. Swedish artist Jonna Jinton stood in a pasture on a summer evening, and began to sing the ancient herding call known as ‘kulning.’ It was like a ghostly, medieval-style chant. One of the most glorious things I’ve ever heard. I was apparently not the only one who felt that way – at the sound of her voice, the entire herd of cattle in the distance wandered over and clustered around her. Jonna was awarded the ‘Inspirer Of The Year’ prize in Stockholm earlier this year, and I can certainly see why. Find the video on YouTube, and prepare to be wowed.

A few of this month’s musical highlights: Saturday 8/6, the 12th annual Anthony Paul Forakis Scholarship fundraiser will be held at The Portal, 1324 Coldwell Ave. The organization gives music scholarships to graduating H.S. senior and college students from the Modesto area, ages 17-24. Among this year’s musical acts are a bluegrass group featuring Steve Kenworthy, Gavin Bruce, Gary Vessel and friends; the Bruce family band (John Bruce, Gavin Bruce, Dan Bruce and Ryan Wolfgram); prior scholarship recipient Andrew Pardini, who has just completed a summer run with a Colorado opera company; current recipient Myra Ramirez, who will play the flute; Francesca Bavaro, and more. Newly appointed Modesto Poet Laureate Stella Beratlis, and Gary Crimmal will be reading their poetry. Food will be served at 5:30 (RSVP required to make sure enough food is ordered), and the entertainment continues until 10:30. Suggested donation is $50 and $25 for children under 12. The Modesto Lions 500 will match the funds raised. Call 209-572-1950 to RSVP.

Also on 8/6, the Buddhist Temple of Stockton hosts its annual Japanese Food Festival and Bon Odori (a traditional dance performed during Obon, the Buddhist holiday honoring one’s ancestors.) Japanese and Hawaiian music and dancing will be featured, along with taiko drumming, martial arts demos, games for the young’uns, and, of course, many tasty Asian menu items. 11 AM-6 PM at 2820 Shimzu Dr. in Stockton.

For a welcome escape from the Valley heat, you might venture out to the San Jose Jazz Summerfest, happening Friday-Sunday 8/12-8/14. This is a huge gathering of diverse jazz, blues, Latin and world-music acts. At the top of my list to see are Dirty Cello, with their perpetually crowd-pleasing mix of blues, bluegrass, rock and world sounds; and DakhaBrakha, a very inventive and energetic Ukrainian folk-punk quartet with a large arsenal of instrumentation and a dynamic stage show. They’re not quite like any group I’ve heard before – “ethnic chaos,” as they describe themselves. Both acts perform on Sunday afternoon: Dirty Cello performs at 12 PM and DakhaBrakha at 3. Full lineup and ticket info at

Saturday & Sunday 8/27 and 8/28, the Assyrian Fest comes to the fairgrounds in Turlock. Enjoy a free weekend of live music & dance, authentic food, kids zone and more. Festival runs from 10 AM-10 PM each day. Info at

Music At The GMC returns on Saturday 8/27 at the Gottschalk Music Center. These sweet listening concerts sponsored by Modesto Unplugged and ModestoView have showcased a very eclectic spread of music so far this year, and we’re looking forward to many more evenings in this intimate recital hall venue. Our feature this month is The Heifer Belles, delivering three-part harmonies through Back Porch Americana with the twang of the pedal steel and the rumble of the upright bass. Their songs range from heartfelt to tongue-in-cheek to socially insightful. These ladies are coming down from Gold Country to play for us, and they sure do put the Au in August. Concert will begin at 7:30 at the Gottschalk recital hall, 1502 E St. $15 general admission, or free for kids 12 and younger. Space is very limited; email<> or call 209-543-5306 to reserve seats.

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