Music, her wayLongtime Minneapolis resident Jaspar Lepak is a folk/Americana songstress who will hit the stage Friday Feb. 22 at the Oak Center General Store.
By: Stacy Bengs, The Republican Eagle
Longtime Minneapolis resident Jaspar Lepak is a folk/Americana songstress who will hit the stage Friday Feb. 22 at the Oak Center General Store.
Riding on the heels of her critically acclaimed album “Forgiving Wind,” which Rolling Stone South Africa - where the album was recorded - hailed as an album full of "beauty and original charm," Lepak has been performing from the West Coast to the Midwest.
Lepak spent two years in South Africa, following husband Kale and his job transfer to the coastal city of Durban.
“During that time I wrote enough songs to make an album,” she said. “I played quite a bit locally, meeting many talented musicians and a few of them joined my band – adding their instruments to the recording. We worked with a local producer and it was an incredible experience.”
Although living across the world influenced her music, “Forgiving Wind” sounds more Americana than “Send Me Home” Lepak’s previous album does.
“Being in a new and receptive landscape helped me better settle into my own musical identity,” she said. “I met Durban musicians who loved bluegrass and were so happy to pull out their banjo, mandolin and slide guitar and join in.”
Her music “found” a place there. Lepak said, “The songs I wrote have a different kind of freedom about them.”
“Music is the way I find myself in the world. It is the dearest and happiest part of my life. When I write, practice and perform, I know that I belong and that I have something to offer,” she said. “Music really isn’t a choice for me.”
Currently dwelling in Seattle, Wash., her performance at Oak Center General Store will kick off her first Minnesota tour since her move to the West Coast.
“If you combine Paul Simon’s storytelling with Nanci Griffith’s sincerity and Dar Williams’ introspection and female power, I think you’ve got a good idea of what my music sounds like,” she said. “In terms of genre, I call it ‘heartfelt folk/Americana.’”
No matter where in the world she is, she said her favorite part about being a musician is singing.
“Whether I’m alone in my little Seattle house practicing or I’m on stage performing for an audience, singing makes me so happy,” she said “It’s a connection I can’t get from anything else.”
Lepak returns to Oak Center after previously opening for blues musician Ray Bonneville. Joining her for her first full performance at the “magical space” is husband Kale on accordion and harmonies and Ben Cook-Feltz from Minneapolis on piano.
The concert is presented by Folk Forum. Cost is $15 regular to $5 low income. Oak Center is located on Highway 63, 2 miles north of Rochester, 9 miles south of Lake City. Music starts at 8 p.m.
For more information on Lepak or to hear her music, check out her website at www.jasparlepak.com.
At a glance…
Who: Jaspar Lepak
When: 8 p.m. Friday Feb. 22
Where: Oak Center General Store, Highway 63, rural Lake City
Cost: $5-$15 based on ability to pay
More info: 507-753-2080 or www.oakcentergeneralstore.com