Great Northern Radio Show coming to Aurora

Minneapolis-based "I Like You" will headline the Feb. 6, 2016 Great Northern Radio Show at the Mesabi East High School auditorium in Aurora, Minnesota. © Tim McG Photo & Video

Minneapolis-based “I Like You” will headline the Feb. 6, 2016 Great Northern Radio Show at the Mesabi East HS auditorium in Aurora, Minnesota. © Tim McG Photo & Video

I’m excited to announce that my next Great Northern Radio Show will broadcast live from the Mesabi East High School auditorium in Aurora, Minnesota, on Saturday, Feb. 6. A good Iron Range Finn would know the significance of that place and date:

This will be our Laskiainen Show.

Aaron Brown is the executive producer, head writer and host of the Great Northern Radio Show, which next airs Feb. 6, 2016 in Aurora, Minnesota.

Aaron Brown is the executive producer, head writer and host of the Great Northern Radio Show, which next airs Feb. 6, 2016 in Aurora, Minnesota.

Laskiainen is the Finnish Sliding Festival held the first Saturday of every February at the Loon Lake Community Center in rural Palo, just a few miles from Aurora on Highway 100. Palo is where a huge population of Finnish-Americans settled after they were blackballed from Iron Range mines for union organizing. There are places like this all around the Range, including Cherry where I went to school and Balsam where I live now.

Laskiainen is a celebration of the “beginning of the end of winter,” a change in seasons, Finnish heritage and the ethnic traditions of the Iron Range. Founded in 1937, Laskiainen is the longest-running ethnic festival in Minnesota.

So we’re doing a show.

It’s also significant to me that we’re doing the show in Aurora. The East Range has been hit harder than most parts of the area with the recent mining downturn. In fact, it could well be suggested that towns like Aurora and Hoyt Lakes have yet to recover from the loss of LTV Steel in 2001.

The Great Northern Radio Show, to me, is about spreading joy and community pride through humor, stories and music. We are hopelessly earnest in this endeavor, which can be part of the fun for the more worldly listener. Aurora is a place that could use a laugh, a good time, and a little reminder of the resilience of people and culture.

My traveling variety program is produced by independent National Public Radio affiliate Northern Community Radio. The Great Northern Radio Show explores life in small towns and off-the-beaten-path places through comedy, stories and music, a two hour romp through local legend and real life, highlighting the talent and culture of northern Minnesota. Each show celebrates a unique location and the people who make it special, sharing the experience with a much wider audience on the radio.

Steven Tedman, 19, of Palo is a multi-instrument musician with a deep bass voice. He'll be flying in from a music conservator out East to play his hometown stage in the Feb. 6, 2016 Great Northern Radio Show in Aurora.

Steven Tedman, 19, of Palo is a multi-instrument musician with a deep bass voice. He’ll be flying in from a music conservatory out East to play his hometown stage in the Feb. 6, 2016 Great Northern Radio Show in Aurora.

Musical performers include Minneapolis indie folk band I Like You, young accordion phenomenon Steven Tedman of Palo, and Pete and Jack Pellinen of Virginia performing folk songs on mandolin and guitar.

The Great Northern Radio Players include Duluth’s Jason Scorich, originally of Mountain Iron, Rachel Brandt of Ada, Minn., originally of Chisholm, Katherine Gritzmacher of Duluth, formerly of Eveleth, along with some help from the Pellinens and writer Matt Nelson of Hibbing, who now works for the Washington Post. Other guests include Laskiainen organizer Gerry Kangas of Palo, Former Mesabi East state champion skier Amy Dettmer, now of Grand Rapids, and other special Laskiainen guests.

The program airs live on KAXE/KBXE at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6. Tickets cost $10 for adults, but are free for children and college students with IDs. Audience must be in their seats by 4:30. Seating is limited. Call to order tickets in advance at 800-662-5799 or see www.kaxe.org.

The Feb. 6 program will air live on 91.7 FM KAXE in Grand Rapids, Aitkin and the Iron Range, 90.5 KBXE Bagley and Bemidji, 89.9 FM Brainerd and 103.9 FM in Ely. The show is also rebroadcast on independent public radio stations throughout Minnesota and distributed as a live stream and podcast at www.kaxe.org.

The Great Northern Radio Show is made possible in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund with support from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Culture and Tourism grant program and the Blandin Foundation.

Comments

  1. Great show. I liked hearing about the Finns. I know a lot of people with Finnish backgrounds. They settled in the areas of Alango and Angora, and some in Field, as well as in those areas you mentioned. The three townships I mentioned have farm land to this day. I remember some older Finns quite some years ago who told me about traveling back to the old country and being told that the Finnish they spoke was like the Finnish in the old days of Finland. The people I know who learned a bit of Finnish growing up still sprinkle it into their conversations. I don’t believe people of other ethnic backgrounds do this as often. [Or else I just take a German word here and there for granted. Never learned even one word of Norwegian or Swedish from the other side of my family.]

Speak Your Mind

*