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Live From Ipanema 

An audio-visual project chronicles a restaurant's popular music series.

click to enlarge Homemade Knives at Ipanema. - KAREN SEIFERT
  • Karen Seifert
  • Homemade Knives at Ipanema.

Ipanema Cafe owner Kendra Feather may be known for her food. But she has another passion too. "I came into the restaurant business having always wished I could start my own record label," she says. In addition to being in a few bands, the restaurateur worked as a label rep for Columbia/Epic and Shameless Records. About a decade ago, Corntooth recorded at Ipanema, revealing the sonic potential of the space and sparking the idea of a live music series.

Enter two integral players on the Richmond music scene: Viking Recording engineer Allen Bergendahl and music photographer PJ Sykes, who have taken Feather's vision to new heights with impressive bookings and serious audio and visual components. The pair curates the monthly series and seeks to create a network within the community. "In addition to the audience getting to see a free show, the band and the restaurant benefit from this," says Sykes, photographer for the event.


A sampler of bands from the Live at Ipanema music series. More photo/music sets can be found here.

Ipanema's snug series has been host to everyone from the White Laces to Jonathan Vassar with optimum intimacy. "It's fun to see what people do," Bergendahl says. "Sometimes people rework material." Homemade Knives once played only Bruce Springsteen songs and White Laces humored everyone by playing with tiny practice amps. Bergendahl and Sykes have engaged local blogs such as the Cheats Movement to expand their scope and give those folks a chance to showcase artists they recommend. RVA Playlist's Andrew Cothern will present Those Manic Seas for September and the series continues into the fall with David Shultz's new band, Valdosta, and Joshua Britton, aka Psalmships.

Feather couldn't be more pleased with how it's all turned out. "These are some of my favorite images and recordings of life here in Richmond," she says. "I think we'll look back one day and be glad to have recorded it all."

RVA Playlist presents Those Manic Seas at Ipanema on Sunday, Sept. 8, at 10 p.m. Free.

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