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April 08, 2005 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-04-08

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Friday
April 8, 2005
arts. michigandaily. com
artspage@michigandaily. com

ARTS

5

- - - -- ------------

Courtesy of Roc-A-Fella

"Don't ask why I have my own ice cream truck"

Sigel humanized on
last LP before prison

MIKE
HULSEBUS/
Daily
Prof.
Stephen
Lusmann
conducts
the Men's
Glee
Club at a
rehearsal
for tomor-
row night's
concert.

By Evan McGarvey
Daily Music Editor
MUSIC REVIEW
It's a wonderful touch of kismet that
Beanie Sigel hails from Philadelphia.

LUSMANN CONDUCTS FINAL HILL AUDITORIUM CONCERT

By Jessica Koch
Daily Arts Writer

Both the man and
the city are woefully
underappreciated,
ruggedly cultured and
unrepentantly surly.
But under the earthy
surface of both the

Beanie
Sigel
The B.Coming
Roc-A-Fella

City of Brotherly Love and the longtime
Roc-A-Fella clean-up man, you'll find a
place of stark emotions and surprisingly
delicate humanity.
The B.Coming is Sigel's third album
and apparently the last LP released on
the recently dismantled Roc-A-Fella
label. Thankfully, it's a mostly successful
elegy for an artist and an epochal marker
of rap's evolution. "Pressure can make a
diamond," Sigel raps on the sin-washing
"Look at Me Now," and if there's one
thing he's been feeling lately, it's pres-
sure. A string of charges attached to an
attempted murder and drug trafficking
arrest last year are sending Sigel to a six-
month stint in jail.
The "gangsta" persona is created from
a rapper's desire to create a separate per-
sonality, an icon that's an exaggeration
of Mafioso traits: infinite libido, a pen-
chant for drug dealing and a bulletproof
street resume. Sigel doesn't need much
fiction in his backstory; he never record-
ed any mix tapes or demos before Jay-
Z signed him. Sigel, even with almost
every facet of his history confirmed by
court records, became mythic: Before
his debut album hit stores in 2000, the
rap world was besieged with rumors of
a mid-level Philadelphia street hustler
who could spin freestyles while push-
ing crack bricks around the city. Sigel
became the consummate hardcore
rapper - he actually lived the life he
rapped about.
That honesty has transformed into
a brutal confession on The B.Coming.
Sigel's hefty baritone tears apart "Flat-
line" and the slinky, glossy manifesto "I

Can't Go On This Way." Majestic trum-
pet sections and butter-soft percussion,
some of the standard Roc-A-Fella musi-
cal touches, sound odd on the album. Just
Blaze and Kanye West don't show up on
this disc, but the Neptunes flash some
superstar production on the benign, for-
gettable "Don't Stop." Sigel is too serious
for the usual production schlock.
When the album works, it's because
Sigel's verses, easily the most personal
and human of his career, take promi-
nence. "Feel It In The Air" eerily recalls
the Geto Boys' "Mind Playin' Tricks
On Me" as Sigel shows the cracks in
his hoodlum fagade: "I still shine bright
like a prism I My words still skippin'
through air / I know you can't don't
won't get it / You square chose to ride
that shit, salt with it, I'm still afloat / I
ain't the captain of the yacht but I'm on
the boat."
The B.Coming is understated for a
major-label rap release, and its sparse-
ness proves to be a double-edged sword.
The lyrics compelling and worth revisit-
ing, but the lack of an infectious single
won't help the album reach the masses.
And, in all honesty, Sigel doesn't rein-
vent any lyrical wheels; it's his personal
development on the album that deserves
recognition. Currently in a federal
penitentiary, Sigel really does sound
mournful and a bit frightened. While
his star may be pinned down for a while
longer, there is every reason to believe
he'll return with a mind fertile for rap.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light,
Beanie.

Throughout his 22-year career, Stephen Lus-
mann has been known as a renowned vocalist,
singing leading roles with
major opera houses around
the world, including the Men's Glee
Opera de Monte Carlo and Club 145th
the Oper der Stadt Bonn Annual Spring
in Germany. A gifted bari- Hill Co rt
tone, Lusmann performed onCer
as a soloist at such notable Saturday at 8 p.m.
venues as Carnegie Hall Tickets $15 and $10
and Alice Tully Hall in Students $5
New York's Lincoln Center. At Hill Auditorium
In 1999, he was appointed
assistant professor of voice at the University's
School of Music.
After Lusmann took this teaching position, he
had the opportunity to add yet another accomplish-
ment to his resume: conductor of the Men's Glee
Club. His official appointment occurred in April
2002, after former conductor Music Prof. Jerry

Blackstone's final performance at Hill Auditorium.
Lusmann will step down from his position after
Saturday night's 145th Annual Spring Concert.
As conductor, Lusmann quickly gained the
respect of Glee Club members with his passion and
devotion to art. "(Lusmann) is quite inspiring and
directs in a very big manner, which drives us to
sing louder," LSA freshman Lucas O'Bryen said.
Lusmann's fervor was present in every rehearsal,
exemplifying the three standards of Glee Club
members: "Tradition, Camaraderie and Musical
Excellence."
In his three years leading the ensemble, the
Glee Club premiered two new works, toured the
Southwest and attended the Intercollegiate Men's
Choruses National Seminar at Harvard University
- a conference in which it had not participated
since 1986. In last year's spring tour, Lusmann led
the Glee Club on its first trip to Ireland and, after
nearly two decades, a return to England. The tour
was a great success and created many memorable
moments, including Lusmann's personal highlight,
"(a) performance in St. James Church in Piccadilly
London, England."
Last October, Lusmann announced that this
year would be his last as the conductor of the Glee

Club, bringing his three-year tenure to an end. He
decided to resign in order to devote more time to
his soloist career as baritone and to his voice stu-
dents here at the University.
Lusmann's final performance with the Glee
Club will also feature the Rutgers University
Glee Club under the direction of former Michigan
Men's Glee Club conductor Patrick Gardner. "He
is a gentleman that I met in New Jersey, where I
used to live. It was he who inspired me to direct
the Glee Club," Lusmann said of Gardner. The
collaboration will feature many harmonic pieces
including Franz Biebl's "Ave Maria," which Lus-
mann called "one of the greatest choral pieces
written for men's voices."
Lusmann's tenure will conclude after this year's
East Coast tour. The tour - comprised of stops
from Ithaca, N.Y. to Annandale, Va. - will include
a date at Carnegie Hall where, suitably, Lusmann
will be the baritone soloist in the Club's perfor-
mance of Beethoven's -- ------------ .
The Club will miss Lusmann's leadership.
"(Lusmann) really has been a friend to all of us,"
LSA sophomore Keith Hudolin said.
As he leaves the group, Lusmann wished to
encourage the Glee Club to "just keep singing."

Sufi concert
presents music
from Islamic
mysticism
By Shubra Ohri
Daily Arts Writer
A treat for the senses in the form of mystic
music will be available to University students next
weekend. As part of the final weekend of the Arab
World Music Festival, three artists will perform
their music at Rackham Auditorium under the
title "Songs of the Sufi Brotherhood." The musi-

SHORT TAKES

4a
courtesy of UMS
Rizwan and Muazzam Qawwall, front, along with their uncle, Nusrat Fateh All Khan (not shown),
brought Qawwali music - a form of Sufi music from Pakistan - to American audiences.

FAVELA ON RLAST: RIO BAILE
FUNK
HOLLERTRONIX
Baile Funk rips through you like
hot lead. The music of Rio de Janeiro's
favelas (ghettos) mirrors some of the
most dangerous hoods in the world:
chaotic, explicit and fierce as hell.
Baile Funk is alive, it's not just music
- It's a time, a place, a people.
This CD-R, available only through
hollertronix.com, was compiled by
Philadelphia DJ Diplo during a visit
to Brazil in 2004. iplo, recently
gaining notoriety for his role in
M.I.A's explosive debut, is as much
responsible for the global sound of
Arular as anyone. In the mix the
two released prior to Arular, Piracy
Funds Terrorism Vol. 1, Diplo threw

in a few snippets of Baile Funk,
incorporating it into M.I.A.'s evolv-
ing sound and whetting her follow-
ers' appetites for more.
At only 30 minutes, Favela can
Blast ends too soon. The booty-shak-
ing Miami bass beats, rudimentary
drum loops and Clash samples pro-
vide the backdrop for passionate (and
apparently dirty) Portuguese rhymes.
The emphasis is placed on a dance-
able beat, but it's the energy of the
kids rapping that makes this such a
fascinating listen. These are not per-
fectly produced FM jams; this is the
music of no-man's land. These are 15-
year-old kids doing lines of coke with
guns in their back pockets; this is a
snapshot of a life not many gringos
glimpse.
Llyd Cargo

cians featured at this event are
Hamza El Din from Nubia,
Hassan Hakmoun from Moroc-
co and Rizwan and Muazzam
Qawwali, two brothers from
Pakistan.
These three artists represent
three different forms of Sufi
music. Followers of Sufism,
a sect of Islam that practices
mysticism, believe that the only

Songs of
the Sufi
Brotherhood
Sunday at
4 p.m.
Tickets $20-$36
At Rackham Auditorium

way to truth and spirituality is through a direct and
immediate experience with the spirit. Hence, the
slow, meditative beginnings and entrancing, vir-
tuosic developments characteristic of Sufi music are
beginning to attract an American audience.
"Although these three traditions contrast, they
share a common thread. Their music invites the
audience into a trance, similar to African-Ameri-
can Pentecostal music," Vice President of Folk-
lore Productions Matt Greenhill said of Sunday's
upcoming performance. With each artist adopt-
ing his own style of Sufi music, audiences should
expect an eclectic mix of a style that dates back

nearly 1,000 years. Although Sufi music carries a
long history, the genre has only been represented
in the United States by the Whirling Dervish of
Turkey. "Songs of the Sufi Brotherhood" looks to
offer a fresh, different perspective on the sounds of
Islamic mysticism.
The traditional music that the artists play has been
heavily shaped by their individual experiences and
histories. Hakmoun is the son of a mystic healer;
he gained musical experience by playing alongside
snake charmers and street performers in Morocco
before moving to New York, where his music was
influenced by rock and funk. El Din collected his
songs by traveling around on a donkey throughout
the countryside of Nubia. Widely popular in the
Middle East and Asia, El Din considers himself a
citizen of the world.
Perhaps the most notable performers of the
group, the Qawwali brothers hail from a 500-
year-old tradition of Qawwali singers. They are
the nephews of the late Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan,
perhaps the most internationally recognized of
Qawwali singers. The brothers are accustomed to

playing six-hour sets but plan to shorten it consid-
erably for the concert on Sunday.
The music presented by Din, Hakmoun and the
Qawwali singers is intended to pull at the heart-
strings of its listeners by setting classical Islamic
poetry to music. "Their (poetic) verses deal with
images of romantic love as metaphor for the spiri-
tual journey," Greenhill said. With pieces featur-
ing rhythmic, trancelike beginnings and escalating
climaxes, it's hard for the listener to feel anything
but touched.
Sufi music, often used in healing ceremonies,
can also be utilized to engage the senses. It is easy
to appreciate the dynamic pulse of the Tabla (tra-
ditional drums) and the melodious sounds of the
Oud, the predecessor to the modern flute. These
two instruments are fully utilized by El Din and
Hakmoun. In addition to the instrumental per-
formance, the Qawwali brothers will engage in
hypnotizing vocal acrobatics. "Songs of the Sufi
Brotherhood" will present a performance that
combines different variations on the same mysti-
cal Islamic ideas.

'Neverland' DVD supported by revealing features

By Christopher Lochner
Daily Arts Writer
Marc Forster's "Finding Neverland" is an example

The movie's performances feel utterly convincing
and tragically intimate. Depp leads the way in his
second Oscar-nominated role - he marvelously con-
veys the quiet constraint of a man forced to grow up
too soon. As astounding as Depp's portrayal is, the
young actors who play the Davies boys steal the show.
Freddie Highmore, playing Peter, delivers a perfor-

include more features on the DVD. However, those
included are excellent: full-length commentary, out-
takes, deleted scenes and a featurette exploring the
production of the film. The featurette shows how
a number of the great scenes in the film were con-
structed, oftentimes in unorthodox ways.
In a year full of biopics, "Finding Neverland"

of the best that cinema has to offer.

I MM

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