Local music enthusiast brings international musicians to town
October 2, 2008
If you visit The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley tonight, you’ll see a performance of the multiple Grammy Award-winning country swing group Asleep at the Wheel.
In the near future, a group of musicians from India, a guitarist from Hawaii and a band from Zimbawe also will perform at the downtown venue.
Performers include the great balladeer Rosalie Sorrels, Bongo Love from Zimbabwe and the DeadBeats in a tribute concert to the Grateful Dead.
So how do musicians from around the world end up performing in Nevada County? Mikail Graham, a Nevada City native, brings the artists to town through his company, Nevada City Music Events.
“It’s a cross between a personal taste and what has or hasn’t been heard here before,” Graham said about how he selects musicians to bring to Nevada County. “There are so many different kinds of music out there. When I look at the music that goes on here, I see a lot is missing that people can benefit from listening to.”
In his career as both a computer professional and a performing musician, Graham has visited places including Germany, France, England, South America and Canada, he said. His acquaintances there often inform him of new international musicians.
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Graham’s network further expanded when he booked music for Cooper’s in Nevada City for five years, he added.
“Through the course of booking hundreds of acts, I’ve met a lot of musicians from around the world who then call me saying, ‘I’m coming to town,’ or ‘I know of someone whose music you need to listen to,'” Graham said.
Introducing international musicians to a small town audience isn’t always profitable, as Graham has discovered.
“For more than half of (the shows), I pay out of my pocket,” he said. “Sometimes, I really question why I do this, but then I hear the music and it’s such magic. It overwhelms me and gets me excited.”
Graham has already arranged 25 shows this year. Five shows are scheduled for November and two for December, according to the Nevada City Music Events Web page, nevadacitymusicevents.com.
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