May 10

Gaither in, folks

by: COURTESY OF MARK LOWRY - Comedian and Christian musician Mark Lowry, wholl appear in Portland on May 10, wrote the oft-recorded Mary Did You Know? He says: That song just has a life of its own.Mark Lowry has been called America's No. 1 Christian comedian, but he prefers the term storyteller.

“If they laugh or they don't laugh, you've still told your story,” he says with a chuckle.

Lowry also happens to be one of the most successful gospel singers out there. A longtime member of the Grammy- and Dove-winning Gaither Vocal Band, Lowry is well known in Christian circles for his humorous stories and quips in between the band's songs. He often pokes fun at denominational differences, not to mention fundamentalist Christians' conservative reputations.

“I'll never forget the day I met a saved Democrat,” he's joked, adding on a more serious note he thinks it's a tragedy how “Christian” and “Republican” have become synonymous.

“I do not get into politics,” Lowry says. “I've seen what it's done to too many preachers.”

His method, he adds, is to simply let people know how he feels about Jesus Christ.

“If you turn the light on, everyone can see it from their perspective,” he says. “The whole point of living is discovery.”

Jesus, he adds, came for all, not just respectable conservative folk.

“Like Jesus said, 'I told you I have sheep you don't know about.' ”

Along with a piano player, Lowry is coming to town to share his comedy and a few of his songs as well. He is probably best known for penning the lyrics to the tune “Mary Did You Know?” The song has been recorded by Wynonna Judd, Natalie Cole, Kenny Rogers, Donnie Osmond and Kathy Mattea just to mention a few.

“That song just has a life of its own, and I've been very blessed to be a part of it,” he says.

Mark Lowry, 7 p.m. Friday, May 10, New Hope Community Church, 11731 S.E. Stevens Road. $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Info: 1-800-965-9324,

Grrrlz rule

Portland's The Vandies are a surprisingly eclectic power-pop-meets-garage-punk group of young women who write pretty damn good rock 'n' roll songs, come to think of it. We say surprisingly because at first glance they look a lot like a bunch of nice gals who've got the whole hipster thing down clotheswise and could easily be pegged as another cute throwaway indie pop band bound for brief glory.

However, they sound like they want to be in it for the long haul, as well they should. Taking a cue from older acts like The Runaways and Television (mostly in tonal guitar approach) and slightly newer ones like The Donnas and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Vandies are trying their hands at everything from ballads to rockers and sport a particularly strong singer in Klara Louise, who is the icing on the ladies' sonic cake.

The Vandies, Kings and Vagabonds, 9 p.m. Friday, May 10, Dante's, 350 W. Burnside St. Info: 503-345-7892,

May 12

Hula loop

Just in time for Mother's Day, Hawaii's multi-award-winning singer Kuana Torres Kahele is bringing a mom-friendly night of traditional Hawaiian music to our fair city. A veteran of the noted group H?lau Ka Ua Kani Lehua. Kahele also is a veteran of the duo Nä Palapalai, which gained gained critical acclaim for reviving Hawaiian classics, as well as for their originals. Kahele's original, “Ke Anu O Waimea” is the most popular hula song in Japan, and his 2011 album “Kaunaloa” was named Album of the Year in our 50th state.

This cat may be one of the most romantic singers you'll ever hear, with a full-bodied voice designed to enhance honeymoons, weddings and dreams of cloudless days and mild-mannered volcanic explosions of love flowing like lava into you and your lover's hearts.

Kuana Torres Kahele, 6 p.m. Sunday, May 12, Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave. $35, $45, $55. Parent/guardian must accompany minor. Info: 503-234-9694,

Mom will like this, too

Speaking of Mother's Day, classically trained singer Hannah Penn and pianist Galen Clark will perform their eclectic repertoire, which includes jazz, rock, folk, cabaret, and opera, on the hallowed holiday. Penn has sung with the Portland Opera, and Clark has jammed with Trio Subtonic, Scott Pemberton, the Jazz Composers Ensemble, BodyVox Dance Company, Joe Powers and Sean Flinn.

Hannah Penn, Galen Clark, 6 p.m. Sunday, May 12, Andina, 1314 N.W. Glisan St. $18, $20 per person table minimum. Info: 503-228-9535,

Bossa round

Oakland's Trails and Ways claim they play “Brazilian shoegaze” and “bossa nova dream pop,” but if you boil it down, it's synth-pop with not-so-predictable beats. The group apparently eschews capitalization on its Facebook page as well, listing Hannah Van Loon on lead guitar and keyboards; Emma “Enya” Oppen on bass; Keith Brower Brown on rhythm guitar and synthesizer; and Ian Quirk on drums and production.

They are, indeed, very dreamy, and patient as well, letting their danceable intelligent pop ease up on your ears as opposed to assaulting them. They also enjoy the interplay of gentle male and female voices in an almost choral approach. L.A. electro-popsters Kisses headlines the show.

Kisses, Trails and Ways, 8 p.m. Sunday, May 12, Holocene, 1001 S.E. Morrison St. $8. Info: 503-239-7639,

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