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BEST BETS: Hear something unique, a rising folk star and art off to Sweden

Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter's band Caroline Smith & the Good Night Sleeps makes a stop at 8 p.m. Friday at Beaner's Central as part of its nationwide tour. The band includes Cloud Cult drummer Arlen Peiffer and Jesse Schuster. (Photo by Lilly Ball)1 / 3
Young folk musician Ben Bedford joins Bill & Kate Isles for a show Saturday at Red Mug Coffeehouse. (Photo by Kari Abate)2 / 3
Painter Alison Aune uses a combination of acrylics and found items with Swedish patterns in her artwork. (Submitted photo)3 / 3

You've never heard a voice like Caroline Smith's. Check out the Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter's band Caroline Smith & the Good Night Sleeps when their third nationwide tour makes a stop at 8 p.m. Friday at Beaner's Central, 324 N. Central Ave. Entry is $5.

The band, which includes Cloud Cult drummer Arlen Peiffer and Jesse Schuster, is promoting its debut album "Backyard Tent Set," a 10-song vocally driven mix.

The Web site TC Daily Planet said of the band: "There is one band that makes me want to play [hooky] from work, grab a can of sugar-free Red Bull and a bag of Gummi Bears, kick back and listen to music in my underwear all afternoon. This is a group that has reconfigured my entire outlook on the state of popular music: Caroline Smith and the Good Night Sleeps."

The band will soon release its Daytrotter session. Also playing: The Daredevil Christopher Wright and La Foret.

Duluth artist's work is heading to Sweden; see it here first

This all started during Alison Aune's show "Dekorgl' dje" at the Duluth Art Institute in the fall of 2007. The exhibit, which means "decoration happiness" in Swedish, examined patterns found in textiles woven in the 18th and 19th centuries.

"That show was the kickoff of my interest in looking at the old folk art that we really love in Minnesota, and taking it in a modern direction where I'm using old patterns, looking at older designs, but putting it in a contemporary context," Aune said.

Now, after working with Duluth Sister Cities International-Vaxjo Committee, Aune is taking her work to Sweden.

Aune's Bon Voyage reception is 5-8 p.m. today at Lizzards Gallery, 38 E. Superior St. through June 25. The exhibit then will travel to Sweden, where it will be on display at Vaxjo Stadsbibliotek in August and Lessebo Bibliotek in November.

Aune will stay in Sweden for the semester as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Vaxjo, teaching, researching and building the art education connection between the two cities.

Aune, an associate professor and area chairwoman of art education at the University of Minnesota Duluth, said the work has continued to develop and includes several portraits and new Swedish paintings that were not part of the original show.

SEE MORE ALISON AUNE

Aune also will be part of the Swedish Midsommar, which starts at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 45th Avenue East and Colorado Street. The folk artist will direct the painting of dala horses, which can be used as Christmas decorations.

The public is invited to make flower wreaths from wild flowers. A Varsk Spelman musical performance follows, and Maypole decorating. The festival ends with coffee and Swedish cookies.

For more information, call Shirley Graham at (218) 525-4274.

Handel's "Semele" at the Masonic Temple

Lyric Opera of the North presents "Semele," Handel's opera in the guise of an oratorio, which was written two years after "Messiah."

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Masonic Temple. Tickets are $20 and $17 for seniors, students and Minnesota Public Radio card holders. Call the reservation line at (218) 206-4812, or buy them at the door. Only cash and checks will be accepted.

The story is based on Greek mythology. Semele, the daughter of Cadmus, is to be married to Athamas, but can't resist Jupiter, who sets her up in a palace. The goddess Juno, Jupiter's wife, tries to stifle the romance and convinces Semele that she is worthy of immortality. Things go awry when Semele asks Jupiter to grant her a wish -- which proves fatal.

The title role is played by Sarah Lawrence, who got rave reviews as Eliza Doolittle in the Playhouse's production of "My Fair Lady" in July 2008. William Bastian is in the role of Jupiter.

IT'S FREE: Green Bay Boys Choir performs

The Green Bay Boys Choir will give two performances in Duluth. First stop: 7 p.m. Sunday at Duluth Congregational Church, 3833 E. Superior St., and at 7 p.m. Monday at the Thorpe Langley Auditorium in Old Main at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

The concert, which is part of the Northwoods Concert Tour, will include performances by the Nicolet Choir, an ensemble for boys with advanced musical and voice instruction, and the Joliet Choir, for older members. The group was founded in 1980, and is a performance and education program emphasizing music skills and understanding.

Free will offerings are accepted.

Get down to your Scandinavian root

Care for a waltz, polka or schottish? Esko Jarvela and Tuomas Logren will perform Scandinavian music at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Norway Hall, 21A N. Lake Ave. They play traditional folk music and original compositions based on Scandinavian traditions.

Jarvela is a lifelong fiddle player with roots in Kaustinen, Finland. He is studying at the Folk Music Department of Sibelius Academy. He also is part of the groups Frigg, Tsuumi Sound System and Baltic Crossing.

Logren, who also performs with Frigg, Pauliina Lerche & Co, and Teija Niku & Balkan, is a singer-songwriter and guitar player. His most recent project includes English mandolinist Laura-Beth Salter.

Tickets for the show are $10 and available at Takk for Maten/Kippis, or $12 at the door.

Bill & Kate plus a rising folk star

Bill & Kate Isles will be joined by young folk star Ben Bedford of Springfield, Ill., for a show at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Red Mug Coffeehouse on Hammond and Broadway in Superior.

There is a suggested donation of $10 to $15.

Bedford topped the folk charts in January as No. 1 artist, album and song. He has released two CDs: Lincoln's Man (2008) was called a "rich, story-filled collection that portrays like a web of lay lines; mankind's interlaced journey across America down through the centuries," by Arthur Wood of FolkWax. His other CD, After Land of the Shadows (2009), prompted Len Jaffe of the Sounding Board to call Bedford "one of the best of the new generation of American singer-songwriters."