Allegan County News & Union Enterprise

Lyrics on the Lawn returns to Otsego District Library

Calabogie Road will bring their Bluegrass stylings to the Otsego District Library on Thursday, Aug. 11.
Samuel Nalangira kicks off the Lyrics on the Lawn schedule on Thursday, Aug. 4.

By Jason Wesseldyk
Sports Editor

Lyrics on the Lawn is back.
Following a two-year hiatus due to COVID, the popular free summer concert series is returning to the Otsego District Library on Thursdays in August. All shows start at 7 p.m.
This year’s slate of performers includes the Samuel Nalangira Trio (world) on Aug. 4, Calabogie Road (bluegrass) on Aug. 11, Jesse Ray and the Carolina Catfish (rock n’ roll, blues and swing) on Aug. 18 and the Nicholas James Trio (Americana rock) on Aug. 25.
Otsego District Library director Andrea Estelle is delighted to be able to offer Lyrics on the Lawn again this year.
“Come enjoy a beautiful evening of fun, free music as your library,” Estelle said. “The community has been delighted with Lyrics on the Lawn and all the wonderful past performances we have had. There has been a wide range of music styles, including bands and soloists, and that continues this year.”
Performances take place on the west library lawn. In the event of rain, the concert will be moved indoors.
Free popcorn will be available, with the Friends of the Library selling cold bottled water for $1. Some performers will have CDs and/or merchandise available for purchase.
Donations to the library will also be accepted and appreciated.
Lyrics on the Lawn began in 2013 after Estelle—then in her first year as director—began brainstorming ideas for a signature event that the community could enjoy at the end of the summer.
“When we started this event, performers played in the grass,” Estelle said. “A few years back, we added a concrete pad for performers to play on.”
This year’s performers are new to Lyrics on the Lawn, as the library maintained its streak of offering fresh music each year.
“I am extremely excited about this year’s performers,” Estelle said. “We have a fantastic, varied lineup planned this summer.”
Estelle selects performers, in part, by listening to community recommendations.
“Then I check out their music online, check their availability and pricing, and look at who is out performing elsewhere in the area,” Estelle said. “Performers who have been successful in the past appeal to a wide-range of people and are family-friendly.”
Here is a closer look at this year’s performers:
Samuel Nalangira Trio
A native of Uganda, East Africa, Samuel Nalangira is a folk/world musician, dancer and choreographer who has been performing and teaching since the age of 15. He has toured across Europe, the United States, Canada and Asia, performing and leading workshops in schools, universities, festivals and community centers.
He is a multi-instrumentalist and a master at many traditional instruments including the Adungu from Northern Uganda, Akogo from Eastern Uganda, Endingidi, percussion and Ngoni. He has also developed a unique approach and personal techniques on most of these instruments.
Carolyn Koebel (percussions) will be performing with Nalangira.
Koebel has been exploring rhythm and vibration for the past 30 years. Her early studies are rooted in the Western traditions, while the past 20 years have found her slowly traversing the globe in search of indigenous folk roots and traditional rhythmic materials from Latin & South America, West Africa and the Middle East and all points in-between.
Calabogie Road
Calabogie Road is a true West Michigan favorite. As veterans of Michigan’s Bluegrass scene, going back to 1983 and earlier, the members of Calabogie Road truly enjoy every minute onstage and there is always something for everybody at their concerts.
Hot pickin’ from Mark’s mandolin and Ian’s banjo, exciting fiddling from Marten, the very best rhythm guitar around from Ruth and a solid bass line from John make for some exciting shows.
Throw in their great harmonies and humor and what have you got? The Calabogie Road experience.
Jesse Ray and the Carolina Catfish
Jesse Ray and the Carolina Catfish is a 2015 Jammie award winning Rock-N-Roll band. Founded in the fall of 2013, the band is known for their Elvis-style vocals, fantastic guitar riffs, splitting harmonics and danceable drumming.
Nicholas James Trio
Singer/songwriter Nicholas James Thomasma is a Grand Rapids native and a Michigander to the core. His albums chronicle the singer’s travels, usually in his bright orange VW Bus as he collects stories and musical influences along the way.
With songs written from experiences as far and different as working on a farm in California to a late-night conversation with a bartender in Madrid, Spain, his album spans the musical globe from Folk to Rock to Reggae.
With tales about the open road, the temperate Midwest weather, love, loss and surviving on the kindness of strangers, this is the music you want at your backyard BBQ or around your campfire on a Saturday night.

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