Who: Dessa with Sims and Lazerbeak
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Marquis Theater, 2009 Larimer St., Denver
It’s a lucky Friday the 13th weekend for local music fans.
Tonight, hip-hop poet Dessa brings the Doomtree rappers to the Marquis, and New Zealand pop star Brooke Fraser plays the Bluebird on Sunday.
Before you cross the street to avoid black cats and ladders, check out these very cool shows.
Dessa’s putting her stamp on the hip-hop world.
The performer’s combination of poetic rhymes, solid melodies and dramatic delivery are making Dessa a hot commodity in the rap world.
Tonight, Dessa brings her unique brand of hip-hop to the Marquis Theater. The “Into the Spin” tour also features Doomtree collective members Sims and Lazerbeak. Plus, you can see all this great music for $8!
Dessa also goes by the stage name Dessa Darling, but her real name is Margret Wander. The talented hip-hop artist is known for her spoken word shows and the 2009 book, “Spiral Bound.”
“I always had an ambition to be a writer,” Wander said. “Knowing I liked to write, I went to a poetry slam, wrote a few poems, competed and won.
“It was through the slam community that I met my labelmates at Doomtree. It worked out nicely.”
Wander was determined to put her own spin on the hip-hop genre, so she composed short stories about modern life and fused them with just the right melodies.
“I record rap songs like I write essays,” Wander said. “I’m usually prompted by overheard conversations or I build on true life experiences. I like writing, language and a well-turned phrase.”
Wander became part of Minneapolis’ Doomtree collective and worked hard to get her music out.
“We operate as an indie label and arts collective,” Wander said. “We try to get more people to every show and make music we’re proud of making. Good honest work will attract attention.
“There are five rappers in Doomtree. We started as a collective of friends that made music together. As our endeavors became more serious, it jelled into a legit label. We all help run the business and make music.”
Fellow Doomtree rappers Sims and Lazerbeak are featured on Dessa’s spring tour.
“This is the first time my live band takes the stage and I’m excited,” Wander said. “Musically, it’s really dramatic. The musical arrangements are tight and innovative.”
Get ready to hear tunes from Dessa’s 2010 CD, A Badly Broken Code in a whole new light.
Who knew the Coachella fest could be a career saver?
Just ask indie pop singer Brooke Fraser.
Fraser’s a huge hit in her native New Zealand and nearby Australia. The edgy singer-songwriter’s scored top radio hits and packs venues.
The musician toured for three years behind her best-selling record, Albertine, but the grueling schedule took its toll. Fraser was ready to throw in the towel — until she saw the Fleet Foxes 2009 Coachella set.
Frasier’s now back with a renewed passion for her music, a new record and an American tour. Sunday, the down-under star headlines the Bluebird.
“I had practical plans to be a journalist, but a few months after high school I was offered a record deal,” Fraser said. “I’ve had lots of success with hits since then.
“My music’s in the tradition of singer-songwriters, but with more of a pop sensibility. It’s folkie-pop, but it gets rowdy now and again.”
Albertine carved Fraser a niche in the pop radio world. The album was inspired by the singer’s visit to Rwanda, and it was a very intense and personal project.
“I toured with that record for three years and it was wonderful — and really draining,” Fraser said. “I was pretty burnt out when I arrived at Coachella, but I went to listen to Fleet Foxes.
“I’m a big fan, and at that moment everything came together. I realized the pure power of music to create community and move people. I realized I was in the position to do that.”
The experience inspired Fraser to write her 2010 record, Flags.
“I wanted to try different angles and approach with this record,” Fraser said. “I wanted to become more of a storyteller, and write songs full of characters and narrative.
“Flags is a pretty intense record and it’s invigorated me.”