Cedar executive director Rob Simonds

Star Tribune photo by Brian Peterson

After being named the No. 2 U.S. music town outside of New York, L.A. and Nashville by livability.com, the Minneapolis music scene can finally claim the top spot in something: The Cedar Cultural Center has been dubbed the No. 1 world-music venue by about.com.

The Cedar topped such famed places as St. Ethelburga’s Centre in London and the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago.

About.com writes: "In the ‘80s and even into the ‘90s, world music in the U.S. was concentrated on the coasts. Artists would fly into the country, play the Northeast, fly to California and play there, and head home. The Cedar, along with fellow Best World Music Venue nominee the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, changed the game. The Upper Midwest, anchored by this fantastic venue (The Cedar), is now a destination in and of itself."

World-music has been a primary focus of the Cedar, says executive director Rob Simonds. The former West Bank movie theater has been a full-time music venue for 23 years.

"Since The Cedar’s opening in 1989 we’ve seen the Twin Cities greatly diversify and mature as a multi-cultural community, and the opportunities to present music from different parts of the globe have expanded with it," Simonds said in a press release.

Among the world-music figures scheduled at the Cedar are Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 (son of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti) on April 14, Jamaican dub music pioneer Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry on May 23 and Malian stars Amadou & Mariam on Aug. 7. In September, the Cedar will stage its annual three-day, free Global Roots Festival, featuring performers from all over the world.

About.com provides guides on more than 88,000 topics — from parenting to travel; it is owned by the New York Times Co.


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