Niki Dakota

Music Director and Host, Excursions

Born a Hoosier, but only living there in spurts, Niki Dakota spent much of her young life moving around the United States with her archeologist mother. Throughout these years, there was always a ukulele somewhere close at hand. By the time the family settled in Cincinnati, Ohio, Ms. Dakota found herself in pursuit of professional music-making as she headed-up the Alterna-Folk band, Plow On Boy. In the course of her first live radio interview to promote the band, Niki’s keen excitedness manifest itself in extreme chattiness. At the conclusion of the segment, the DJ closed the mic and said, “You need to be in radio."  That was in 1990.

In 2002, Niki’s radio career brought her to WYSO where she continues to enjoy a love of music and shares that love with the Miami Valley weekdays on Excursions.

Ways to Connect

Photo by Beth Herzhaft

Sonos, the 6 member a cappella group stopped by the WYSO studio and performed a couple of songs from their upcoming holiday CD which is due to be released in early November. The group members include Christopher Given Harrison, Rachel Bearers, Ben McLain, Jessica Freedman, Katherine Ann Hoye, and Paul Peglar.

Local musicians Pam Baugham and Mike McDermott, who make up the Folk duo Sweet Betsy, visit WYSO for this installment of Excursions with Niki Dakota. The duo draws inspiration from classic folk music and largely sticks with the timeless style. However, the excellent musicianship of Pam and Mike in their songwriting and playing make Sweet Betsy simply wonderful to listen to. Performances include “Two for One” and “Last Thing”.

Photo by Karl Colon

Grammy Award-winning banjo player Alison Brown sets aside some time for Excursions to discuss public radio and to play some new songs with her band, the Alison Brown Quartet.

Brown, who is also a Harvard graduate and a co-founder of the Nashville independent record label Compass Records, is known for her instrumental banjo songs, which stray from the typical bluegrass genre associated with the instrument.

 

Local group Sawgrass stops by WYSO to showcase their classic Bluegrass sound on Excursions with Niki Dakota.

Sawgrass formed in 2005 in the Dayton and has been performing all over the country since. In addition to touring, Sawgrass has been featured in the PBS documentary Music Farmers which was nationally broadcast. The group uses traditional instruments and vocal stylings, in addition to their excellent musicianship, to create high- energy Bluegrass that is fresh, yet classic. 

 

Local guitarist Chris Wright (of C.Wright’s Parlour Tricks) stops by Excursions to share his energetic, and standout, brand of instrumental rock.

Al Holbrook's sound will catch a room by surprise, filling it with feeling and emotion solely by his fingers gracing the keys accompanied by a soulful voice. "I have great admiration for anyone who will just be by themselves and perform," host Niki Dakota explains as she introduces her musical guest to the studio.

Holbrook is a Dayton-native and can be spotted all over the Miami Valley performing at venues like the Trolley Stop and Canal Street Tavern. This Friday, August 6th, you can experience him yourself at J-Alans in Downtown.

As the temperature slowly escalates to the upper 90's, Northern Howl passes by the WYSO studio to provide a wintery mix on a hot summer day. In her interview, Niki Dakota speaks to the young band about life on the road in their second tour through the Midwest and East Coast.

Singer-Songwriter Meg Cavanaugh performed at the Songwriters Showcase at Canal Street Tavern with fellow Dayton-area natives Tod Weidner (Shrug, The Floods) and Chris Montgomery. Niki Dakota spoke with Cavanaugh the day of her performance about her new album, life in the UK, and how it feels to be back home.

Bella Ruse arrived at the WYSO studios with a guitar and an organ in a suitcase. In an interview with Niki Dakota, Kay Gillette (vocals, keys) and Joseph Barker (guitar) explain their affection for the suitcase organ and other unusual instruments like a kazoo shaped like a trumpet.

The Minneapolis duo formed in Febraury of 2009 and spent the rest of that year releasing three EPs and touring the Midwest and West coast. Bella Ruse just set out on their latest Midwestern tour and plans to release their first full length album this fall.

Andy Snow

Niki Dakota interviews Sharon Leahy and Rick Good of Rhythm in Shoes on Excursions. Rhythm in Shoes will be performing their final show at this weekend's CityFolk Festival in downtown Dayton.

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