This is sixth in a series of 50 posts we are putting out throughout the years in anticipation of the celebration of our 50th Anniversary in 2015. We welcome your feedback and suggestions for the top things YOU love about Minnesota as well!
The Cedar Cultural Center is nestled among ethnic food restaurants and soft goods stores on the University of Minnesota’s West Bank. Winner last year and now in the running again for About.com’s Reader’s Choice Award for Best World Music Venue, The Cedar Cultural Center has won us over.
Fueled by a few dedicated employees and hundreds of volunteers, The Cedar Cultural Center is a nonprofit music and performance arts venue that brings an eclectic mix of folk, blues, jazz, indie rock, world music, films, spoken word performance and dance to Minneapolis.
Your walk to the building, a vintage movie house from 1948, is host to aromatic smells of spices from the Ethiopian, Indian, Chinese and Malibari restaurants and one good old fashioned hot dog joint nearby.
The Cedar is the kind of venue where the quality of music cannot be measured by the size of the crowd. Traditional Italian party bands like Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino perform for a barely populated house and have everyone dancing, singing, clapping and begging for more. It’s unexpected and always enjoyable, even if you’ve never heard of the band.
One detail we find particularly charming about The Cedar Cultural Center is the uniqueness of their mug collection. It’s the sort of place where you can order a chai or coffee and expect it will be served in one of many mugs from a collection as eclectic as the music they book. From mugs advertising popular cartoons from the mid 1990s to floral patterns, the mismatched mix of drinkware is reminiscent of college living. The mugs have all no doubt all been donated by former employees, volunteers and well wishers looking to unload some unwanted ceramics.
The Cedar Cultural Center helps to bring the world to Minnesota, and the world they bring helps us discover and learn to love Minnesota in completely new ways. This past week, Terje Isungset, a man from Norway, came to perform at The Cedar. He used natural ice carved from Minnesota lakes to create instruments he played until they literally melted on-stage. The Cedar and a man from Norway showed a packed house the musical beauty of Minnesota’s ice, something that was a pleasure to enjoy.
The Cedar Cultural Center easily makes our list of things we love about Minnesota.