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McNally Smith College of Music Alumni Making Headlines on World Music Charts and in City Pages Feature Story

Secret Stash, a recording and production company featuring McNally Smith graduates Eric Foss ‘04, Cory Wong ’07, and Unai Bolivar ‘09, went to Peru last year. The group recorded an album of Afro-Peruvian musicians that is now in the Top 10 of the iTunes World Music charts, and has also developed an educational road show.

Secret Stash has in the meantime produced an engaging YouTube video that tells their tale and demonstrates the breadth of the music they recorded in Peru. It’s a terrific story, with a satisfying, rhythmically-complex soundtrack: Watch the video here.

City Pages recently lavished praise for Alicia Wiley ‘02. The 28-year-old Minneapolis singer-songwriter released her fifth album, Both Sides, in late 2010. City Pages critic Michael L. Walsh writes, “Both Sides is a haunting, moody soundscape of airy piano-based pop. It’s not in the least bit jazzy to my ears, but that is precisely the foundation Wiley works from. She holds a degree in jazz piano, and her earliest albums were heavily jazz-influenced. Both Sides represents a musical evolution that is both bold and admirable, and she pulls it off without a hint of clumsiness or cliché.

“With her breathy-bordering-on-sultry vocals, Wiley both seduces and mystifies, channeling such influences as Mazzy Star and Sarah McLaughlin,” the writer continues. “On Both Sides, she deftly creates a sparse, not quite melancholy world, like a still winter day when your breath lingers over a crystalline landscape. Nothing is rushed. All is contemplation. And it feels incredibly cathartic.” Walsh goes on to quote Wiley about the album’s title and realization.

“It’s a romance scenario of chasing the idea of someone you can’t have, being blinded by both sides and not seeing what’s really there,” Wiley says of the album title. “It’s a dark mood and haunting, but it’s not a negative album by any means. It’s mysterious. The stories aren’t always obvious. I leave a lot to interpretation.”

Read the entire piece at

McNally Smith congratules its alumni on their recent successes!