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ZACH, as Zach Freidhof seems to be known on stage, will be coming to the Akron Civic Theatre, a Knight Arts grantee, in January to perform cabaret style. But that isn’t the interesting part. Freidhof’s journey to seek out music that uplifts and inspires, that seeks to introduce harmony, community and love, is the real draw to this concert.

ZACH. Photo courtesy of Akron Civic Theatre

ZACH. Photo courtesy of Akron Civic Theatre

The performance, “Ignite the Soul: Music to Uplift and Inspire,” goes to Freidhof’s central tenet of the inseparable combination (in his thinking) of music, peace and love. As he has noted, after a near-death experience resulting from bad appendicitis, ZACH took to the musical road, touring everywhere and anywhere he could (from coffee houses to house parties, from a wine store to yoga sessions, and from charity events to theater gatherings) to get his music out there.

As ZACH has noted, his music is all upbeat, hopeful, and optimistic — a part of his effort to bring peace and harmony wherever he sings. It has worked. ZACH, who has been called a troubadour of peace, was recently named the Akron area “Humanitarian of the Year” by Akron Life Magazine.

The young artist has written the show title song, “Ignite the Soul,” which has the kernel of his ideals: “Give, give, the gifts you give. Ignite the soul.” Other songs (which he is likely to perform) contain themes of believing in our own power for kindness (“Manifest”), peace building (“Peace By Piece”), social politics (“Ohio Breaking”), and veganism (“Plants”). One of his songs takes on fracking (“I Want a Future Too:), which has been a winner in the Artists Against Fracking Video Contest, chosen by Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon; while songs like “Hymn” remind us, as he has noted, that “when the world comes to drag you down, light your smile, it keeps the darkness out.”

Clearly ZACH’s concert is not head-banging rock and roll, but a music fest of another sort. The music scene in Akron is broad indeed, and includes the style, the themes, the interests, of a rising star like Zach.

ZACH will be accompanied on violin by Samuel Salsbury and other performers joining him — which is a way of working that he is familiar with. Not long ago, ZACH produced an album called “Provenance” that included 17 artists from five different states. More importantly for this area is that many songwriters from the northeast Ohio area are represented (and therefore heard).

ZACH’s “Ignite the Soul: Music to Uplift and Inspire!” will be performend only once at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, January 23, 2014 on the main stage at Akron Civic Theatre, 182 S. Main St., Akron; 330-253-2488; www.akroncivic.com. Tickets are $20. 

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