Michael Kiwanuka performs an acoustic set in The Current's studios

Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios
English soul/rock musician Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios (Nate Ryan | MPR)
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Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current studio (full session + interview)
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  • Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current studio (full session + interview) 21:10
  • Michael Kiwanuka - Cold Little Heart (Live on The Current) 04:06
  • Michael Kiwanuka - The Final Frame (Live on The Current) 04:02
  • Michael Kiwanuka - Love & Hate (Live on The Current) 04:39

Michael Kiwanuka, one of England's most exciting singer/singwriters, released his second album Love & Hate in July 2016. He scheduled a large-scale tour last fall and winter, including a December stop at the Cedar Cultural Center, but personal and health issues forced him to cancel. This month, though, he made it to Minnesota, playing a sold-out show at First Avenue (which called for a screening of Purple Rain on the way). Just before heading downtown, he stopped by The Current's studios to play a few songs from Love & Hate.

In these performances, Kiwanuka sounds lonely, a quiet singer/songwriter who might just be playing in his bedroom for himself. Back-up vocalists join him during the studio version of "Cold Little Heart," but here, he's on his own. He normally uses electric guitar in "The Final Frame," but as he sways through it at The Current, it's all acoustic. His album is "dense and full," he says, and he's right -- but these recordings strip the songs down to their bones.

Kiwanuka talks a lot about race on Love & Hate and during his interview with Mark Wheat, explaining his song "Black Man In A White World" and talking about Prince's influence on him as a black artist who plays electric guitar. The nuances are different in the U.S. and the U.K., he says, but he's certainly had to deal with feelings of unbelonging and self-doubt.

Kiwanuka is welcome in the Twin Cities any time.

Songs performed

"Cold Little Heart"
"The Final Frame"
"Love & Hate"
All songs from Michael Kiwanuka's 2016 release, Love & Hate, available via Interscope Records.

Hosted by Mark Wheat
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Michael DeMark and Matt Lentz
Visuals by Nate Ryan
Web feature by Cecilia Johnson

Resources

Michael Kiwanuka - official site

11 Photos

  • Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios
    English soul/rock musician Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios
    English soul/rock musician Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios
    English soul/rock musician Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios
    English soul/rock musician Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios
    English soul/rock musician Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios
    English soul/rock musician Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios
    English soul/rock musician Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios
    English soul/rock musician Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios
    English soul/rock musician Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios
    English soul/rock musician Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios (Nate Ryan | MPR)
  • Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios
    English soul/rock musician Michael Kiwanuka performs in The Current's studios (Nate Ryan | MPR)

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