MICHAEL FRANTI + SPEARHEAD
The Bay Area born Franti has been bringing our world exceptionally powerful, deeply felt music under a variety of names and in a wide range of genres for twenty years. From the intense punk rock of the Beatnigs, to the deeply political rap he made with the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy to his joyful and meaningful modern soul music with Spearhead, and now as Michael Franti & Spearhead, this still young man has released an impressive series of recordings that have vividly reflected his status as a musical citizen of this world.
Consider Franti’s most recent musical masterpiece, All Rebel Rockers, an album featuring the legendary production team of Sly & Robbie that reinforces his place as a global force and a true musician of his time. Recently, Franti’s latest release entered the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart in the Top 40 and hit #4 on the Top Independent Album Chart, and further demonstrated that Franti remains very much at the height of his artistic powers.
“As a musician and a man, I more than anything else want to be a unifier,” Franti explains. “I want to bring people together through music and its unique power. And I hope that somehow that sense of unity extends beyond the music.”
Since she was young, Crystal Bowersox channeled her emotions into her music, teaching herself how to sing, as well as how to play guitar and harmonica. She began performing professionally at the age of 10, which provided the family extra money.
By the time she was a freshman in high school, Crystal had devoted herself completely to her music. She left Oak Harbor High School to attend the Toledo School for the Arts in Toledo, Ohio, where she started writing her own songs_ including one she composed as a tribute to her father. After graduating, Bowersox then moved to Chicago, Illinois, to perform in local clubs with various bands.
After a win in the Blade Battle of the Bands competition, and her success convinced friends and family that she should audition for the reality competition American Idol. She toyed with the idea for several months, but it wasn't until she became pregnant with her son, Tony, that she decided to audition. A few months after her son was born, Bowersox headed to Chicago for American Idol auditions. She landed a spot on the ninth season of the show. Bowersox quickly became an viewer’s favorite, garnering praise through each round of the competition with performances such as “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” and “Me and Bobby McGee .
Bowersox finished in 2nd place to Lee DeWyze in the show's finale. She is currently traveling the country with the rest of this season’s top 10 on the “American Idols Live” summer tour. She is working on her debut album for 19 Recordings/Jive, that is set to be released in the fall.
Hailing from Santa Barbara, California, Rebelution has developed into the front runner for grassroots, independent and touring driven music groups representing the Cali-Reggae scene.
Originally formed in 2004, members Eric Rachmany (vocals / guitar,) Rory Carey (keyboards,) Wesley Finley (drums,) and Marley D. Williams (bass) met in college, while residing in Isla Vista, a popular beachside community in Santa Barbara. It was there that the seeds to Rebelution’s future would be planted-- and would instill their kick back, “worry free” vibes, catchy refrain, and optimistic, inspiring, and engaging music that would leave their listeners with the sense that they have the power to make this world a better place. Throughout 2004-05, Rebelution began to build momentum through consistently playing local shows and by independently releasing an EP. Before they knew it, they were one of the biggest drawing bands, not just in the reggae genre, but in the entire area. “It definitely went to the next level when we literally had thousands of people watching us perform in Isla Vista on Friday nights,” shares Rachmany. The band’s upbeat, highly danceable grooves were charting a direct course for bigger and better things.
Rebelution released their first full-length album “Courage to Grow” in June 2007, which would become the breakthrough album for the band. The album was praised for its crafty melodies, socially-conscious lyrics, and savvy musicianship. Rebelution quickly became known for sticking strongly to the roots of vintage reggae sound, all while appealing not only to reggae listeners, but also to music fans of all genres. “Courage to Grow” went on to garner mass downloads and radio play on monster stations such as San Francisco’s Live 105 where their single “Safe and Sound” was played on heavy rotation, with spins on San Diego’s 91X, and Los Angels’ KROQ. The album hit an all time high when it was selected as iTunes Editor’s Choice for Best Reggae Album of 2007. In addition, “Courage to Grow” has been in the top 10 iTunes Reggae album sales since its release two years ago. It remained in the Billboard Top Reggae Album Chart for 36 weeks, and peaked at # 4.
RUPA & THE APRIL FISHES
Rupa & the April Fishes hold up a carnival mirror to life and present a warped, humorous and occasionally disquieting reflection. With their enchanting mix of chic French nouvelle vague, rousing Latin alternative grooves, energetic Gypsy swing, and dreamy Indian ragas, the trend-setting band is spearheading a multicultural movement that is redefining the sound of contemporary music.
Sequestered beneath Rupa’s infectious and captivating melodies are thought-provoking themes that address life, love, art, death and the real and artificial divisions that keep us apart. The San Francisco- based musical agitators are specialists in crossing borders and building bridges and with this new album they effortlessly blur the boundaries of genre and geography to create a sound Time Out has called "global agit-pop".
Known for their multilayered sound drawing from many traditions, Rupa & The April Fishes, have played major venues and festival stages in the US, Europe and Canada including the Montreal Jazz Festival, Central Park Summer Stage and the Dranouter Folk Festival. The UK’s Guardian says, "[Rupa] deserves to become something of a global celebrity thanks to her cheerfully cool and soulful vocals and ability to write songs that switch between Gypsy and mexican styles, reggae, French chanson and Indian themes."
There’s a beach where one sunny afternoon you may witness an offering to an Afro-Brazilian Orixa spirit of the ocean, the next day watch mastercapoeristas practicing Brazil’s martial art dance form, and still another day join a gathering of thousands of surfers-cum-dancers rocking out to hybrid musical sounds informed by bloco afro (Afro-Brazilian percussion music), samba-reggae, surf-rock, and California funk. No, these are not the shores of Bahia, Brazil. This is Santa Cruz, California, home of the surf-and-skate,capoeira-kicking, scene-busting phenomenon known as SambaDa. This smoldering and soldering band is a magnet of unexpected particles shaved from Brazilian and American sources. This community of people—their local fanbase and their Brazilian ancestors, their people—are honored in the title of SambaDa’s new album Gente! (February 23, 2010).
The band is known for its high-energy percussion, danceable grooves and visually dynamic show. SambaDa is dedicated to creating an ecstatic non-stop dance experience that appeals to all ages and all cultures. With the addition of singer and dancer Dandha da Hora in 2005, a member of the infamous Ile Aiye of Brazil, an authentic Afro-Brazilian flavor has been fused with the band's already potent mash up of styles
Sellassie is an alternative in today’s hip-hop, proof that there are young black artists that can make music that is creative, street and smart. Bringing a fresh perspective to the game, Sellassie stands firm to his message, has a charismatic presence and is evidence that not every rapper raps negatively, glorifying drugs, guns, women, money or their ego. Masterfully articulating the struggle, Sellassie’s art is poetry on hip hop beats, music that identifies with scholars and people in the ghetto alike. Sellassie is a confident emcee, riding on substance and ideas instead of gimmicks and guise.
San Francisco Revolutionary Poet and Activist Sellassie is carving his niche as a leading progressive voice in Bay Area Hip Hop. His debut record, I'm Tryin' to Make a Livin' Not a Killin' was honored with a 2009 West Coast Hip Hop Award for “Knowledge Album of the Year” and his new release, “Sins Of Your Forefathers” is a groundbreaking blend of deep socio-political ideas, ghetto realities and non-traditional beats from a rap artist, thinker and leader from the streets. Sellassie’s charisma, energy and authenticity easily set him apart as an upcoming force delivering revolutionary hip hop aimed to change the world.
Sellassie contributes to several social, community and political causes and organizations. His music is a reflection of his promise and dedication to social and political issues that plague his community and the world as a whole. Sellassie also produces the independent artist series, WE ALL WE GOT, which is celebrating it’s One Year Anniversary and is 45+ shows in, and is truly revolutionary, fulfilling it’s design to expose interesting and determined artists, cultivate relationships, and build community among independents. WE ALL WE GOT was created out of Sellassie’s frustration of the current climate of Bay Area’s Hip Hop community. There is a domineering culture of non-support. There is a lack of good opportunity for emerging artists to be seen and heard and WE ALL WE GOT is determined to fill this gap. The series has really grown and is now produced in San Francisco , San Jose , Berkeley , Sacramento , and Reno , Nv., with several other cities coming in 2010.
Sellassie has independently created a vast catalogue of over 275 songs to inspire his community and to express himself. Sellassie sheds light and knowledge and his music is revolutionary. Bringing a fresh perspective to the game, Sellassie stands firm to his message, has a charismatic stage presence and is aimed, ready to hold the responsibility with his conscious music.
Loco Bloco is a youth development organization with the mission of promoting Bay Area youth’s healthy transition into adulthood by engaging them in the creation and performance of music, dance and theater traditions reflecting the cultural diversity of the Americas. Loco Bloco encourages its youth to use multicultural art forms as a tool for their own empowerment and as a catalyst to help them overcome discrimination and bring about change in their communities.
Through special events more audiences and communities are exposed to Loco Bloco's philosophy of youth empowerment through the arts. Loco Bloco's major events include: all New Works Concert presented in early December ; International Women's Celebration Event presented throughout March; Carnaval season, which includes our Youth Carnaval Jam , SF Carnaval Parade and SF Pride Parade , during May and July; and Loco Bloco's summer Cultural Youth X Change (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Hawaii, Miami, New York, Boston, Chicago and threw out California)
Dallas native singer and songwriter Rhonda Nicole conjures the spirit of ol’ skool rock n soul on her debut EP, “Nuda Veritas” (2010 Candle House Records), drawing the listener in to a world as beautiful as it is bittersweet. Co-executive produced by long-time collaborator, musician/songwriter Montrose (Cunningham), "Nuda Veritas" is a collection of original material that offers everything true music lovers yearn for. From the raucous energy of “Mia” to the southern lilt of “Wanderlust”, the bright-eyed hopefulness of “Just Fine” to the sho’ ‘nuf sensuality of “SoulLover” and the deep longing of the Montrose-penned “Like You Should”, “Nuda Veritas” and is an open invitation to further explore the soul of a woman on the verge of love, loss, and naked truth.
Graff Artist will be painting pieces LIVE!
DAVID 'LEBO' Le BATARDwww.lebostudios.com
In the majority of LEBO's work, his interest in music is a consistent current that creates a platform for his paintings in terms of subject matter and composition. LEBO harmonically and rhythmically recreates sequences of sound in time by laying down stylized lines combined with vivid palettes to complement his cartoon metaphors and cast of characters. The genres of musical inspiration include afrobeat, bata-rumba, conjunto, electronic house, jazz (blues, funk, fusion), Latin jazz (bossa nova, salsa), ska and soul.
LEBO has developed a cult-like following as he demonstrates his cartoon expressionistic style and improvisational process by engaging audiences at collaborative live painting performances at concerts and well known music venues throughout the country. The artist unifies an aural and visual experience by creating continuous compositions on canvas, as he has shared the stage with headlining musical talent as Beastie Boys, Béla Fleck, Burning Spear, Disco Biscuits, Les Claypool, Arturo Sandoval, Thievery Corporation, Wynton Marsalis, The Dead, Phil Lesh and Friends, Donovan Frankenreiter, and Willie Nelson.