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Debut Performance of Mississippi Peace at MSCM Faculty Artist Performance Series

McNally Smith College of Music continues its Faculty Artist Performance Series with an intense night of acoustic music introducing the new band Mississippi Peace. The group features McNally Smith faculty member Christopher Cunningham (a/k/a Neverwas, on guitars, fretted stringed instruments and voice) along with Michelle Kinney (cello), Melissa Matthews (violin) and Graham O’Brien (drums). Mississippi Peace will perform on Wednesday, December 3, 2008, at 7:00 PM at the McNally Smith Auditorium, 19 E. Exchange St. in St. Paul. Admission is free and open to the public and the concert will be followed by a reception.

Mississippi Peace is a string-driven, urban acoustic, primarily instrumental ensemble dedicated to pushing deep into unexplored rhythmic, virtuosic, and stylistic territories – while having as much fun as possible in the process. The group describes itself as being “designed for the post-national realities of the coming world crunch. Mississippi Peace can run on rechargeable batteries, solar power, or caffeine.”

Christopher Cunningham (a/k/a Neverwas) launched himself into the early 1980’s No Wave and downtown punk-funk scenes of both American coasts. His lead guitar gig with James Chance (James White) and The Contortions (Blacks) began a twenty-five year period of global wandering, involving a multitude of subsequent groupings, pairings, and breakups. In New York and beyond, Cunningham has collaborated on stages and in studios with the likes of Marianne Faithfull, The Lounge Lizards, Gavin Friday, Boukman Eksperyans, Omar Farouk Tekbilek, Katell Keineg, The Golden Palominos, Marshall Crenshaw, Richie Havens, and The Saqqara Dogs. Cellist Michelle Kinney is known locally for her group Jelloslave, and has worked with artists ranging from John Zorn to Paul Westerberg to Sheryl Crow. Violinist Melissa Matthews is a Louisiana native who relocated to the Twin Cities. She is an active freelance musician and is Executive Director of the Tapestry Folkdance Center. Graham O’Brien (alumni) is a St. Paul-based drummer who is a member of the hip-hop group Abzorbr and other Twin Cities groups.

Above: Recent Faculty Performance with Harry Chalmiers and guest Melissa Matthews (of Mississippi Peace).