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Aretha, Kem Star In A Sweet Soul Weekend

Of the Oakland Press

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It’s a homecoming weekend for a couple of Detroit’s most r-es-p-e-c-t-e-d R&B singers.

Aretha Franklin is taking some heat for canceling on the good folks of Chapel Hill, N.C., for the third year in a row, but she definitely plans to show up at DTE Energy Music Theatre on Sunday (August 12th).

And even though she’s 65, fans will see a Queen of Soul who’s far shy of retiring.

Franklin is working on two albums — “A Woman Out of Love” for her own Aretha Records label and another, as-yet-untitled set for J Records. Fellow Detroiter Michael Powell is producing the former, and Franklin has recently recorded duets with Faith Hill, John Legend and Fantasia that will most likely appear on the latter. She’s also working on the film adaptation of her autobiography, “From These Roots,” which is still being cast.

Additionally, Franklin will join Stevie Wonder and others at a Sept. 18 concert in New York to raise money for a Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. And she’ll be named Musicares’ Person of the Year on Feb. 8, two days before the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

Smooth-voiced singer Kem, meanwhile, has three shows lined up for the weekend in Detroit. He starts with a free one-hour set at noon Friday (August 10th) as part of Campus Martius’ Lunchtime Arts Series, which leads into two special Kem & Friends shows Saturday and Sunday (August 11th and 12th) at Chene Park.

Chaka Khan will be Kem’s special guest at Saturday’s Chene concert, with Rachelle Ferrell coming in Sunday and Eric Roberson performing both days. The show also will feature performances by the winners of Kem’s Teen Talent Search, which he conducted in conjunction with YouthVille Detroit; singer Aris Yancy and bass player RoDerrick Gaston will play with Kem on Saturday, and singer DeMario Wilson and saxophonist Charles Thomas will do the honors Sunday.

Franklin’s show is 7:30 p.m. at DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw north of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $47.50 pavilion, $10 lawn. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www.palacenet. com. Kem’s shows are 8 p.m. Chene Park is at Chene and Atwater streets in Detroit. Tickets are $35-$125 pavilion, $22 lawn. Call (313) 393-7128 or visit www.cheneparkdetroit.com.

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