Let me start off by celebrating the fact that it was on this day, Jan. 16, back in 1976, that “Donny & Marie” premiered on ABC-TV. “Deep Purple” forever, people. Oh, and “Cute Marie, real cute.” Enough said.

Another historical note is that had she lived, Janis Joplin would turn 71 on Sunday, and had he lived, Michael Hutchence from INXS would have turned 54 on Wednesday. Happy to say I got to see INXS back in the ’80s. Still sometimes hard to believe Hutchence is gone. As for Joplin, she is obviously immortal. But imagine the body of work she could have gone on to create had she not left us back in 1970.

And now I return to the land of the living with two shows for you to sit up and take notice of. Have at it, my dears.

THE NAME MEKLIT HADERO is a new one to me, so the first thing I did was read about her. I learned she was born in Ethiopia and was raised in the U.S., eventually landing in and among the San Franciso music scene. Hadero’s influences range from jazz and soul to hip-hop, art-rock and folk traditions reaching from this side of the globe to East Africa.

In 2010 she released “On a Day Like This” and got national attention for it.

This is all well and good, but what does Hadero sound like? I started my aural education with the song “Leaving Soon”and got quite an earful. Trumpet, strings, stand-up bass, percussion, acoustic guitar and Hadero’s sensational voice. I then proceeded to down a medium coffee over the course of listening to seven more songs, all of which I enjoyed entirely.


Hadero’s arrangements go from lively and bright to slow and sultry and back again over the course of many of her songs. I for one love this. It’s fresh and keeps my ears on their toes.

The song “Walls” really got me. “Be gentle, gentle with me and the walls, the walls I counted ten thousand walls around my heart, Some are made of cardboard, some are made of clay, and some are made of memories, that sad sad day.”

Meklit Hadero. Remember her name. I have a strong feeling we’ll be hearing about her for many years to come and this, my friends, is very good news.

Like I said, Hadero’s new to me, but I am quite familiar with The Reverie Machine, fronted by singer and guitarist Meg Yates. Their most recent album, “Not by Blood,” is a personal favorite of the last couple of years. Think ancient folk in modern times. You have to hear Yates to believe her, or perhaps the other way around. Either way, this will be a riveting show.

By the way, Space is setting up chairs for this one, so you don’t have to worry about standing for hours on tired old knees like mine.

Meklit Hadero with The Reverie Machine. 8 p.m. Thursday. The Space Gallery. 538 Congress St., Portland. $18; space538.org.


I FIRST GOT HIP to Erin Harpe by way of her electro-funk dance band out of Boston called Lovewhip. This is a band I have adored for several years now. Lovewhip is still playing, but Harpe now also fronts Erin Harpe and The Delta Swingers, a bluesy band that will dazzle you.

Their sound is anchored in vintage ’30s Mississippi Delta blues and includes originals and classics ranging from Memphis Minnie to Bonnie Raitt.

The band is Harpe on electric and acoustic guitars and lead vocals, Jim Countryman on bass, Bob Nisi on drums and vocal harmonies and an ever-changing posse of blues musicians of the harmonica and slide guitar persuasion.

They plan on releasing their debut album this spring. Yeah! In the meantime, see them tear it up at One Longfellow Square with co-headliners The Eric Green Party, a blues band out of Bangor.

Erin Harpe and The Delta Swingers with The Eric Green Party. 8 p.m. Friday. One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland. $10 in advance; $12 at the door; onelongfellowsquare.com.

Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at:

[email protected]


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