Meet "The darkest ukulele band in Northern Michigan." Saldaje - aka Melonie Steffes and Shaun Anchak, along with their lineup of assorted ukuleles, violin, mandolin, guitar, harmonicas, and toy piano - have proclaimed themselves that very thing, naming themselves after a Portuguese word meaning "longing" and gaining plenty of attention for their eclectic and expressive performances. Their focus? Haunting, old-world folk balladry influenced by the likes of Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, Suzanne Vega, and Nina Simone. And a stage presence that decorates their audio with a Victorian-meets-Eastern European gypsy flair. Saldaje's CD release party will take place at the InsideOut Gallery in TC on Friday, Dec. 21 at 8 p.m.
Check out the full story in this week's www.northernexpress.com
Other "must do's" this week in Northern Michigan:
-- "Earth Days," a film about the grassroots beginnings of Earth Day and the environmental movement will show at Milliken Auditorium, TC, 7:30pm. Includes an Action! Fair featuring local organizations at 6pm.
-- A Christmas Cabaret: Holiday show featuring Broadway talent, dancers and local celebrity guests at the City Opera House, TC, 7:30pm.
-- Unsilent Night: Moving sound sculpture happening at the Village at the Grand Traverse Commons. Hosted by Left Foot Charley, 6pm. Includes cookies and cider back at the winery. K2 Edibles happy hour eats, 5-8pm.
-- "A Christmas Carol": Charles Dickens classic performed at the Crooked Tree Arts Center, Petoskey, 8pm; Sunday, 2pm. Tickets, $15; students, $10; matinee performances, $10.
-- Farmers Market Holiday Celebration: Santa will arrive to the Charlevoix Farmers Market at 11am, followed by story hour. The event includes free cookies, cocoa and coffee, along with free music.
-- Christmas Storytime: Michigan author Jeffrey Schatzer will read "The Bird in Santa's Beard, The Bump in Santa's Head and The Elves in Santa's Workshop" at Horizon Books, TC, 10am-noon.
-- Songwriters in the Round: Bob Downes, Kurt Westie and Jim McNiece perform at Horizon Books, TC, 8:30-10:30pm.
-- End of the World Party: Featuring music by Medicinal Groove at Right Brain Brewery, TC, 8pm.
-- Swingshift & the Stars: Celebrity charity dance-off finale at the City Opera House, TC. Doors, 6:30pm; competition, 7:15pm. Tickets start at $20.
-- Winter Solstice Celebration: Workshops, presentations and refreshments at Three Pines Studio, Cross Village, 2-5pm.
-- Encore Winds: Performing Tuba Christmas, 7pm, and a Christmas Concert, 8pm, at the Dennos Museum Center, TC. Tickets, $15 for adults; $10 for seniors; free for ages 17 & under.
-- 2nd Annual Holiday Open House: Boyne Mountain, 5-9pm, featuring store specials, pictures with Santa and family holiday movie.
-- Dede & the Dreamers: Perform live music at Horizon Books, TC, 8:30-10:30pm.
-- Sunglasses at Night Party: '80s concert and costume party with Jedi Mind Trip at Petoskey's Odawa Casino, 9pm-12am. Must be 19 or older.
-- Gretsch Guitars: Performance and DVD release show by Jake Allen at the Ole Barn, Grayling, 9pm.
-- Solstice Show: Seth and May, Kellerville and Breathe Owl Breathe perform original folk at the Crooked Tree Arts Center, Petoskey, 7pm. Tickets, $15 ($10 for Blissfest members).