With the exception of a couple of summertime gigs last year, OBI has largely been on hiatus due to the pandemic and concerns for our immunocompromised members. However, as COVID becomes a more regular part of our collective lives and we learn to live in this new normal, we’re slowly making our way back into live performance, and our first two scheduled shows are in solidarity with Ukraine.
Some of you might know that our singer/percussionist, Natalie, is Ukrainian—her parents came to North America as refugees in the aftermath of WWII—and some of her extended family is still in Ukraine, determined to stay. The brutal war that’s happening all around them and so many Ukrainians is beyond comprehension. We want to help. To this end, Natalie recently started a series of music benefits called “Musicians for Ukraine,” which brings together musicians from the Ukrainian diaspora and its allies for music and storytelling in order to raise much-needed aid money for Ukraine. We will be performing for the second concert in this series at The Dakota in Minneapolis on May 6, which will also feature some great music from our friends Ukrainian Village Band and SlovCzech. We want to sell the place out, as proceeds from the evening go to our local Ukrainian American Community Center’s initiative, Stand With Ukraine MN, which sends aid money to the areas that need it most. If you’re reading this, please consider donating whether you can make it to the show or not.
In a similar vein, the Loring Park Music Festival is hosting a free outdoor event on May 21, called “Peace in the World.” We’ll be playing a set, as will Ukrainian Village Band, JD Steel and Mill City Singers, Mark Stillman, and Diversity Street Dancers.
Thanks to all of you who have been checking in on us. We’ve missed making music together, so we’re really glad to be back at it. Stay safe, and we hope to see you soon!