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Chastity Brown is Minnesota Based singer/songwriter. She will feature her sonic blend of soul and country music as part of the CenterStage MN Concert Series at the Reif Center September 19. This is the first concert of the fourth season for the Northern Community Radio and Reif Arts Council Collaboration. - photo submitted

Reif and Northern Community Radio kick off 4th Season of CenterStage MN Concerts

Chastity Brown to play Reif Performing Arts Center Sept. 19

Web posted September 10, 2019
The popular CenterStage Minnesota Concert Series is back for a fourth season. This collaboration between KAXE/KBXE Northern Community Radio and The Reif Arts Council has brought some incredible acts to Grand Rapids over the years. The series features Minnesota based musical acts.

Singer/songwriter Chastity Brown is featured as the first artist of the season. She performs Thursday, September 19, 7 p.m. in the Ives Studio Theater at the Myles Reif Performing Arts Center in Grand Rapids.

Based in Minnesota, but with roots in Tennessee, Brown grew up surrounded by country and soul music. In the full gospel church of her childhood, she played saxophone and drums and found her singing voice and a passion for music. Her first show was in Knoxville, TN, and then it was on to Minneapolis. Since then, she’s been featured on NPR’s “Favorite Sessions,” CMT, American Songwriter, the London Times, Paste Magazine and others. Chastity has toured the U.S. and abroad, appearing on the U.K.’s Later…with Jools Holland. For much of 2016, she toured alongside folk icon/activist Ani Difranco.

“What I’ve realized is that the personal is political,” Brown said. “Just by me being a bi-racial, half-black, half-white woman living in America right now is political. Just being a person of color, a queer woman of color, for that matter, is freaking political. My focus, as far as this record, I guess it’s really been psychological. I’m really intrigued by the perseverance of the human spirit and the complexities and contradictions that we embody as human beings."

"Silhouette of Sirens is comprised of snapshots of memory, both lived and imagined. Not all of these tunes derive from this, which is why I say, ‘both lived and imagined.' Some are love/sex/relationship-inspired, which in my opinion make the pain one might experience more bearable. In James Baldwin’s essay, ‘The Artist Struggle for Integrity,' he says, 'I tell you my pain so that I might relieve you of yours.'"

Light is a central character on Silhouette of Sirens. Even the title speaks to this push and pull between danger and safety, shadows and shiny lights, and the things we can reach out and touch as opposed to the things we only hear in the distance. “What is even happening? One can only guess,” Brown sings in the opening track “Drive Slow,” embracing an uncertainty and sense of wonder from the beginning of the record. By the third track, she’s carrying us along with her on a journey inward. Like many masterful songwriters, she has the ability to make her stories feel intensely personal yet open-ended; even in “Carried Away,” it’s hard to tell whether she’s singing about a romantic rift, an abusive friendship, or the havoc that anxiety and depression can wreak on an unguarded mind. " “Don’t leave me here all alone / For so long you’ve been my light in the dark,” Brown sings on the album’s centerpiece, “My Stone,” while the sexy, Prince-channeling acoustic funk jam “Whisper” beckons the listener to come closer, to dance with her in the dark, to “whisper in my ear all that you need."

“I think it’s about different types of heartbreak, and how one deals with it,” Brown says of the album. “And not the heartbreak of a coupled relationship; just living life, and the experiences that break your heart. There are these moments on the album where it’s like, ‘this is intense.' And then hopefully, there are moments where it’s alleviated — as I feel like life is. Life is hard. Every tree, every plant, everything you see in the natural world, just through a growth process, you see how hard it is to grow and bend towards the light."

We are extremely excited to welcome Chastity to Grand Rapids when she features her talents as part of the first CenterStage MN concert of the -19-2020 season,” said Reif Marketing Director Paul M. Gregersen. “This is a can’t miss concert,” He said.

Tickets to the show can be purchased at reifcenter.org, by phone (218) 327-5780 or at the Reif Box Office 720 NW Conifer Drive, Grand Rapids.

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