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Canasta hoping for winning hand in Mongolia

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canastaclothes.jpgSome bands say "world tour," and it means they've booked Vancouver immediately after Seattle. Chicago chamber-pop band Canasta is taking their show overseas -- to Mongolia.

The excursion is part of the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' Arts Envoy Program. The tour begins Feb. 3 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital, and continues to Sainshand and Dalanzadgad before returning to Ulaanbaatar a week later.

Instead of diving into a band van to make the journey, Canasta's six members will travel in a multi-truck convoy with the assistance of drivers, assistants and staff members from the U.S. embassy. It's their first tour outside the United States.

"We were warned to prepare for temperatures in the negative 20s," Elizabeth Lindau, Canasta's violinist and vocalist, says in a statement. (That's the band pictured above, trying on warm clothes.) "Figuring out the logistics for a six-person band and our gear has been no easy task."

They'll be performing as well as leading classes and seminars for musicians and students in Mongolia. "One of the more interesting things about us is our 'craftsman-like' approach -- combining our music schooling background with our love of pop and rock, and then adding a lot of Midwestern hard work to craft our songs, rather than a virtuoso technique or inspiration from the muses," Lindau says. "I hope we can inspire people to think about their musical heritage and perhaps new ways of combining instruments to create a sound that is unique to their country and culture."

It's just more government service by this band: Canasta performed for President Obama during his 2008 campaign.

They're still rolling on the strength of their sophomore full-length, "The Fakeout, the Tease and the Breather," which I loved.



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Thomas Conner

Thomas Conner covers pop music for the Chicago Sun-Times. Contact him via e-mail.

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on January 24, 2012 1:54 PM.

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