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‘Minnesota Mixdown’ music series coming to Armory Square

Steve Dahlberg and Zachary Paige will perform a mix of folk, blues and American tunes Saturday. (Submitted photo)

Minnesota Mixdown music sessions star up-and-coming local musicians.

On the first Saturday of each month, KKWE 89.9 FM Niijii Radio hosts the live musical event at a town within its listening area.

Park Rapids’ Armory Square is the site of April’s concert.

The performance, which runs from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 2, is free and open to the public.

The concert will be broadcast live and also recorded to air at a later date.

"Musicians from all over the state have participated in this project," said Faith Ahlgreen, Niijii Radio project and volunteer coordinator. "Our goal is to bring art and culture into our communities and give the artist an opportunity to share their talent and stories."

Area musicians Zachary Paige and Steve Dahlberg will perform a mix of folk, blues and Americana Saturday evening. They play banjo, guitar, mandolin and harmonica.

Paige grew up on Long Island, New York. He studied music at SUNY Purchase College. He’s currently a farm manager for the White Earth Land Recovery Project and lives in Ponsford.

Dahberg grew up in the Red River valley. He lives near Mahnomen. Bill Monroe, Blind Blake and Big Walter are among his "endless" musical influences.

The Minnesota Mixdown music series debuted last August in Callaway, where Niijii Radio is based. Subsequent events have been held in Frazee, Detroit Lakes and Ogema.

The project is fully funded by the state’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.

Niijii Radio is an independent radio station, serving 29,000 people in the White Earth reservation and surrounding communities. It began broadcasting in 2008.

It’s one of four native community radio stations in the region, "but we are unique in that we are the only one independent of tribal government and control," Ahlgreen said.

The station plays Anishinaabe music, Ojibwe language programming and indigenous news programs.

Niijii Radio currently employs four full-time staff and collaborates with White Earth’s tribal youth employment program to hire two teens during the summer and one during the school year.

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