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Chastity Brown to Perform Oct. 24-25 at
UW-Eau Claire

RELEASED: Oct. 13, 2008

Chastity Brown
Chastity Brown

EAU CLAIRE — Alternative folk artist Chastity Brown will play three free concerts Oct. 24-25 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Her shows in The Cabin, the Davies Center coffeehouse, will begin at 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. Friday, and at 8 p.m. Saturday.

"A Minneapolis-by-way-of-Knoxville roots-soul singer of the first order, Chastity Brown possesses the sort of rare chilled-out star quality that goes beyond time and place," wrote the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "For those who appreciate songwriter-fueled jazz and a sense of organic greatness in the making, she is nothing short of a massage therapist for the ears and soul."

With her nose ring and her loose dreads sprouting every which way in a free-fro, the 26-year-old singer-songwriter looks like an urban Rastafarian. When she opens her mouth in song, however, she reveals a complex soul — a country-born, gospel-raised, activist poet who sings about women, race, love and politics with an edgy tenderness.

Born and raised in Union City, Tenn., a small town two hours north of Memphis, Brown found an outlet for her considerable musical abilities in her church. She picked up the saxophone in sixth grade and played on a praise and worship team. While her strict Pentecostal church frowned on "secular" music, she absorbed the gospel music of the Wynans, Gary Oliver and Stephen Curtis Chapman and occasionally sneaked Fats Domino, BB King and Jewel.

Brown wrote her first song at age 15. By the time she graduated from high school, she knew what she wanted to be: a music minister.

"I was really attracted to the experience of music, to the involvement and power that music had," Brown said.

Her dream changed after the small religious school she attended in Baltimore expelled her for breaking a rule against dating. She moved to Knoxville, took a few community college classes and began performing her growing repertoire in public.

"My heart was in free-fall," Brown said. "And the only way to get it out, to process it, was writing music."

In Knoxville Brown abandoned many of the strict rules she had thought essential to religious devotion. Many of her songs reflect the marriage of sacred and secular made possible after her break with her childhood church.

"Music was always a very sacred time," Brown said. "It's still a devotion. I'm not trying to separate my two worlds anymore."

In 2005, Brown moved with a friend to Minneapolis, where she performs with The Sound, a worldbeat/acoustic groove ensemble. Their debut CD was released in July 2007. Brown's music conjures the sounds of Van Morrison, Tracy Chapman, Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill and Joni Mitchell.

Cabin performances are free and open to all ages. Soft drinks, domestic and imported beer, specialty coffee drinks and tea are sold at all evening programs. Proof of age is required for alcohol purchases.

All performances are produced and managed by student members of The Cabin committee of the Student Senate's University Activities Commission.

For a complete schedule of The Cabin's 40th anniversary season, contact the Activities and Programs office, 715-836-4833, or visit the Cabin Web site.

-30-

JS/JB

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