Cantus: Wabasha Street Caves

Wabasha caves
Cantus sings in the Wabasha Street Caves.
MPR photo/Laura Gill

The Wabasha Caves in St. Paul were built as mines in the 1840's. They have been home to gangsters, nightclubs (including a speakeasy during prohibition), and even a mushroom farm. Recently, however, the caves played host to the male vocal ensemble: Cantus.

As Classical Minnesota Public Radio's artist in residence, Cantus has been traveling around the state recording their magical blend of nine voices in unsuspecting places. When you click on the link, be sure to check out the video of the group performing in the caves.

Previously, Minnesota Sounds featured the group singing under the bridge that connects Lake Calhoun to Lake of the Isles. Water and passers-by gave those songs an upbeat feeling of connectedness.

The darkness and isolation of the caves influenced the song choices and mood of the singers. The caves were carved from sandstone, which gives off unique reflections that only add to the atmosphere of the space.

Cantus is looking for suggestions of places around the state to sing -- parks, caves, towers, igloos and other sites. If you have an idea send it in for consideration.

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