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Sony Music Recording artist  Aki  Kumar,  aka  “The  Only  Bombay  Blues  Man,”  left  his  home  in  Mumbai  with  the  intention  of working  as  a  software  engineer  in  Silicon  Valley.  Then  he  discovered  the  blues,  and  his  life  dramatically  changed.  Singing  and  playing  harmonica, he  steeped  himself  in  the  music  and  became  a  fixture  in  blues  clubs  throughout  Northern  California,where  he  developed  an  unique,  audacious blend  of  Chicago-style  blues  which  then  led  to  playing  retro  Bollywood  pop  mixed  with  the  blues.

When  he  began  performing,  Kumar  initially  attempted  to  downplay  his  ethnicity  and  perform  straight,  Chicago-style  blues.  “I  wanted  to  make  a statement  that  I  was  a  traditional  blues  man,  so  I  wanted  to  be  playing  blues  and  have  nobody  even  wonder  where  I  came  from.”  His  attitude soon  changed,  and  with  his Little  Village  Foundation  debut,  Aki  Goes  to  Bollywood,  he  began  integrating  elements  of  Indian  music  into  his  musical and  visual  presentation,  making  for  a  multi-cultural  mash-up  that  sounds  like  no  one  else,  yet  never  loses  touch  with  its  blues  foundation.

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That  unique  blend  of  East  and  West  reached  a  new  creative  plateau  on  Aki’s  second  Little  Village  Foundation  album,  Hindi  Man  Blues,  which boasts  Aki’s  most  ambitious  cross-cultural  fusion  to  date,  and  features  liner  notes  by  veteran  blues  great  Charlie  Musselwhite. “My  first  album  was really  about  my  identity,”  the  artist  states.  “Now  I  feel  it  is  time  to  be  more  direct  about  what’s  happening  out  there  in  the  world.  The  blues  scene is  my  home,  and  the  scene  can  be  pretty  conservative,  but  I  want  people  to  know  where  I  stand.  There’s  a  good  amount  of  focus  on  Bollywood classics  on  the  new  album,  and  I  even  throw  in  a  song  about  President  Trump  called  ‘All  Bark  No  Bite.’

Kumar’s  visionary  stylistic  mix  has  already  won  him  widespread  attention.  In  addition  to  the  local  blues  venues,  where  he’s  built  an  enthusiastic audience,  he’s  performed  at  the  prestigious  Hardly  Strictly  Bluegrass  festival,  been  featured  on  PRI  “The  World,”  and  has  toured  in  Russia  and Scandinavia.  Now,  after  spending  more  than  a  decade  developing  his  sound  with  the  help  of  some  of  the  Bay  Area’s  finest  blues  players,  Aki Kumar  continues  to  take  his  love  for  the  blues  to  new  and  fascinating  place.

In August 2019, Kumar recently made major news with the announcement of a record deal with Sony Music India and the world-wide launch of his debut single “Dilruba”.

Hailed as a star among the next generation of West Coast blues artists and versatile in many different styles of roots music, Kumar is equally at ease rocking a Jimmy Reed number in English as he is belting out a signature, swingin’ re-interpretation of a Bollywood classic in Hindi. Cleverly crafted originals featuring his masterful blues harmonica riffs are a highlight of this charismatic entertainer’s, hi-energy live performances

The Arhoolie Foundation has teamed up with Little Village Foundation to produce “Working From Home,” a video series of mini house concerts recorded live by traditional musicians trying to make it through the current public health crisis doing what they do best. Please join us in supporting these working musicians by donating directly to them through the links provided. We will match the first $500 in donations to each.
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The Arhoolie Foundation has teamed up with Little Village Foundation to produce “Working From Home,” a video series of mini house concerts recorded live by traditional musicians trying to make it through the current public health crisis doing what they do best. Please join us in supporting these working musicians by donating directly to them through the links provided. We will match the first $500 in donations to each.
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This week’s episode features Cajun dynamo Wilson Savoy at home in Lafayette, Louisiana, bringing you a little bit of everything — from traditional Cajun accordion and fiddle to rockin’ Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles tunes on the piano. The guy can sing, too. Hope you enjoy.

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This week’s “Working From Home” features award-winning Portland, Oregon-based singer/guitarist/songwriter Mary Flower, a prodigious talent whose seasoned skills have established her as one of America’s foremost roots performers. So much so that legendary Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna guitarist Jorma Kaukonen admiringly described Mary Flower as “a national treasure in your own backyard.”
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In The Garden Before The Rain

The Arhoolie Foundation has teamed up with Little Village Foundation to produce “Working From Home,” a video series of mini house concerts recorded live by traditional musicians trying to make it through the current public health crisis doing what they do best. Please join us in supporting these working musicians by donating directly to them through the links provided. We will match the first $500 in donations to each.

Please join us in supporting working musicians whose art and spirit continue to uplift and sustain us.

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The Arhoolie Foundation has teamed up with Little Village Foundation to produce “Working From Home,” a video series of mini house concerts recorded live by traditional musicians trying to make it through the current public health crisis doing what they do best. Please join us in supporting these working musicians by donating directly to them through the links provided. We will match the first $500 in donations to each.This week we present C.J. Chenier, coming to you straight from his backyard with a short set of zydeco and blues. Behind him are some personal mementos and a photo of his famous father: the late Clifton Chenier, undisputed King of Zydeco. The accordion C.J. s playing belonged to his dad, who called it Black Gal. Clifton gave it to C.J. It doesn’t leave the house often, if ever, so it’s a rare treat to see it in good shape after all these years and coming to life again in C.J.’s able hands.
Here’s C.J. Chenier, coming to you straight from his backyard with a short set of zydeco and blues
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(Together, AF & LVF will match the first $500 donated)
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C.J. Chenier is a GRAMMY-nominated zydeco and blues musician and recording artist. Son of the late Clifton Chenier, C.J.’s Louisiana Creole and zydeco roots run deep. When he was 21 years old, his father called him to join his Red Hot Louisiana Band on the road. C.J. grabbed his saxophone, met the band in nearby Bridge City, and never looked back. Over time he learned accordion by watching and listening to Clifton up close, and in the months after his father’s death, Arhoolie Records released his first album as a leader. Let Me In Your Heart featured C.J. out in front of the Red Hot Louisiana Band, playing the accordion left to him by his father.

Today, C.J. can look back on a distinguished career of his own. For over thirty years he’s kept his zydeco roots alive and some form of the Red Hots on the road delighting audiences here and abroad. He has recorded and toured with Paul Simon (Rhythm of the Saints), appeared on national television (Daily Show, CNN, VH1), played many of the biggest festivals (New Orleans Jazz & Heritage, Chicago Blues, SXSW), and won his share of awards along the way. Like so many working musicians right now, he can’t wait to get back out in front of live audiences. “I’m not happy at all about not being able to come out there and make everybody happy,” he tells us in his WFH video. “I miss everybody and I’m really ready to perform.”

Learn more about C.J. Chenier at: http://www.officialcjchenier.com/

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The Arhoolie Foundation has teamed up with Little Village Foundation to produce “Working From Home,” a video series of mini house concerts recorded live by traditional musicians trying to make it through the current public health crisis doing what they do best. Please join us in supporting these working musicians by donating directly to them through the links provided. We will match the first $500 in donations to each.

This week WFH #3 features a fan favorite: The Sons of The Soul Revivers. Walter, James, and Dwayne Morgan grew up singing together in San Francisco. Living now in Vallejo, Ca. their love for quartet singing continues with unrivaled technique and passion. Please join us in supporting working musicians whose art and spirit continue to uplift and sustain us. Little Village Foundation and The Arhoolie Foundation will match the first $500 in donations. 100% of all donations go directly to the artists.

PayPal: https://www.paypal.me/DBMorg71?locale…

Note: The Morgan brothers live together and while at home needn’t mask or distance themselves.

The Sons of The Soul Revivers recorded in their living room in Vallejo Ca.
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Gospel music has a fundamental heart magic, a soulful joy in the positive things in life that summons a response from believers and nonbelievers alike.  That joy is embodied in the music of the Sons of the Soul Revivers (Walter Jr., James, and Dwayne Morgan), whose new album on the Little Village Foundation label, out June 19, 2020, is called Songs We’ll Always Sing – A Tribute To The Pilgrim Jubilees.

The Sons began in 1970, when at the venerable age of nine, Walter Jr. gathered up his brother Sidney and some cousins and began his own gospel group, succeeding his father’s Soul Revivers the Sons of the Soul Revivers.

Their lead singer, brother James, debuted with the Sons at the age of seven at the local playground with a song by the Swan Silvertones, “We’re Going to Have a Good Time.”  As James modestly put it, “the people seemed to like it.”  When you get on the stage to sing, something exciting, something spiritual, something magical, however you want to describe it, it’s going to be nothing but positive good vibes, and it’s going to flow from the stage out to the audience, and my prayer is that everybody will be impacted by that in some kind of way.”

Former Huey Lewis & the News manager Bob Brown, a Sons fans, suggested to Jim Pugh of the nonprofit record company Little Village Foundation that he record the quartet.  Jim signed them up and they produced a live album at Bob’s club in West Marin, the Rancho Nicasio, and then more recently the Sons went into the studio for Songs We’ll Always Sing – A Tribute to The Pilgrim Jubilees.

Said James, “We definitely used the Pilgrim Jubilees as a blueprint for how the traditional gospel quartet sound should be.  We got a chance to see those guys in 1977, and long story short, they blew us away.  When they got on the stage, they sang.  They didn’t have fancy gimmicks, they didn’t have a standout tenor singer where you can showcase his vocals, like Claude Jeters (Swan Silvertones), they were just a good, old-fashioned solid group who could really sing.  And I said to myself, ‘that’s the way traditional gospel quartet should be.’

Songs We’ll Always Sing offers rocket-propelled rhythms, the kind of close harmony singing that only brothers who’ve practiced for decades can achieve, and the joyful bounce that Duke Ellington called Swing. The rhythm section of Ronnie Smith on drums and Daquantae Johnson is totally in the pocket, and Walter Jr.’s guitar is a delight, fully honoring his favorite early role model, Tito Jackson.

Let’s give Walter Jr. the last words: “We’re giving honor to a group that we grew up listening to, and unfortunately, a great portion of the group is deceased now.  And sometimes, gospel groups can get lost in the shuffle, forgotten about, and we decided—they have so many wonderful songs that should be carried to the next generation.  So we talked with them and got permission, and so we recorded their hits.  We want to spread a good message to a lost world so that people can feel better.  There’s something in gospel that soothes peoples’ minds.”

Music heals.  Listen with an open heart and it will indeed soothe your mind and soul.

– Dennis McNally

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Release Date – April 24, 2020

See the lyric video for the title track here and request it from your local station!

Band

Casey Van Beek and the Tulsa Groove‘s individual band members’ history includes stints with Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, JJ Cale, and the multi-platinum Tulsa group, The Tractors. Casey Van Beek’s own resume reaches back to playing with Linda Ronstadt, alongside future Eagles Glenn Frey and Don Henley. Tulsa Groove band member and producer, Walt Richmond played keyboards on JJ Cale and Eric Clapton’s The Road to Escondido album with Eric sufficiently impressed to include Walt on six of his albums and two tours since then.

As far as I’m concerned, we’ve created a laid-back casual groove record true to Tulsa tradition.
— Casey Van Beek

Uplifting grooves for trying times from a crackling collective
— Dean Budnick, Relix

Consider Heaven Forever its own slice of pure paradise. – Lee Zimmerman, Gold Mine Magazine

CD

Southern soul, and country, with a helping of blues and a dash of jazz…you’ll be forgiven if you mistake Van Beek’s vocals or Byfield’s guitar (dig “Thinkin’ ’Bout You”) for JJ Cale himself.… And Richmond’s humorously philosophical title tune would do Randy Newman proud.
— Dan Forte, Vintage Guitar magazine.

The sultry, laid-back Tulsa groove — familiar to so many of us by way of JJ Cale and Eric Clapton records — is as resilient as ever, thanks to session veterans who’ve backed Clapton, Bonnie Raitt and many others.
— David Browne, Rolling Stone

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In The Basement

 

I’d actually met BJ at a pimps house out by Candlestick. A 3 bedroom house with – near as a I could figure- 8 women living in it with this guy Bobby Ballard. The ladies all smoked angel dust and were missing their eye teeth. Meanwhile downstairs in the basement there was a 10 piece soul band of similar people, nonstop rehearsing. Mostly broken down pimps and whores. Or street guys on probation. 

I was 19 with billions of hormones bouncing around and initially more concerned with the really dumb idea that one of these ladies might consider going on a date with me but it was too weird. Dressed in double knit jump suits with too much makeup and hair spray…. and then there was the missing eye teeth.

No it wasn’t happening like that and that was just fine.

But the music was good or at least it was real. 

Diamond in the Back Sunroof Top by DeVaughn Williams and (For The Love of) Money by the O’Jays – we rehearsed those two endlessly in the basement while upstairs hijnks ensued.

At that time BJ was a sax player who didn’t own a sax and if you knew him you understood why. They’d taken him to a pawnshop where he’d said hi to his old alto sax that he had hocked before renting him a Bari. The players wanted him on Bari. Now a good Bari even in the hands of a good Bari player can be a challenge but a used student horn from a pawnshop in the hands of a street person was an impossible equation. He scuffled with it big time. Like a barroom brawl and he was losing. Of course I couldn’t play a lick. I didn’t know how to play. I was just learning so it wasn’t for me to criticize and I didn’t.  Actually the scuffling baritone sax added to the realness. Like Nassau Gone Funky. 

But BJ also could play piano well enough to play the melody with the right hand and chords in the left.  He knew a million tunes….I knew Autumn Leaves and maybe Days of Wine and Roses. That’s it. So he’d show me Just Friends and All The Things You Are but also deep tunes like You’ve Changed and Pensitiva. He knew all the lyrics and usually the verses as well. 

For a year or so I’d follow him around playing jam sessions starting on Friday evenings going straight through to closing time on Sunday night. Spent a fair amount of time in afterhour speakeasys and places people used to shoot up nothing but a bottle of Korbel Brandy a beat up piano in the corner. In the morning I’d try sitting in at sunrise jam sessions in the Fillmore with little success. Like I said, I really didn’t know how to play. Some guys were nice about it but most- not so much. 

Part of my problem was during that time I didn’t have a piano to practice on but BJ knew Benny Harris (Ornithology) who lived with a woman on this narrow street just below Divisadero between Golden Gate and Turk. They had a baby grand in the living room.  After the bars closed we’d head over to her house and BJ would show me stuff while they slept. We’d stay up all night playing and then go to the 6:00 am jam at The Consultant Lounge but not before Benny woke up one morning and said, “Young man if Bud Powell heard you play he’d roll over in his grave. Now get out of my house!” But he was right. After that he was friendly to me and guys said it was a cool thing that had happened but I didn’t think so. After that I did rent a piano and started practicing- a lot.

As time went by I evolved out of that scene into another and didn’t see BJ much but when I did it was always friendly. I wasn’t a jazz piano player, I played rock and roll and he seemed to be in his same circle of musician friends trying to keep a roof over their heads and him winning the battle over his addiction issues. I had my own addiction issues but was always thankful that heroin wasn’t one of them. That kind of recovery isn’t for wimps.

Then a few years later I heard BJ play at Pearl’s in North Beach and not long after that I saw:

SFGATE

Influential jazz pianist BJ Papa dies in S.F.

Jesse Hamlin, Chronicle Staff Writer

Published 4:00 am PDT, Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A musical tribute will be held Sept. 28 for BJ Papa, a San Francisco jazz pianist who hosted jam sessions around town for decades and nurtured many young musicians who passed through them.

His given name was William Jackson and he died of liver disease Aug. 31 at his North Beach home. He was 72.

“There are many of us that graduated from the University of BJ,” said singer Kim Nalley, who honed her craft and expanded her repertoire under his tutelage. “We never paid tuition, but we received the best jazz education that can be had, on the bandstand and at the jam session.”

Nalley, who played with him at the Wild West in Bernal Heights, Cafe Du Nord and numerous other spots, hired the pianist to run the Sunday night jam session at Jazz at Pearl’s when she took over the now-closed North Beach club several years ago.
It was one in a long list of joints where BJ Papa presided over the informal sessions where jazz musicians have traditionally cut their teeth. A bebopper whose spare, rhythmic style was shaped by his love of Thelonious Monk, he performed at countless clubs, bars and cafes in North Beach and other San Francisco neighborhoods, among them Mission Rock, Tropical Haight, Soulville, the Streets of Paris and Cafe Prague. Saxophonists John Handy and Bishop Norman Williams were among the artists who played with BJ Papa, a genial man who could often be found sipping red wine at Caffe Trieste.

“He opened the door for a lot of musicians,” said bassist-composer Marcus Shelby, who began jamming with him at the Gathering Cafe on upper Grant Avenue when he moved to town in 1996. That’s where Shelby met a lot of the musicians who play in his various bands. “He was such a loving cat,” Shelby added. “Everybody came to him first.”

Born in Mobile, Ala., he learned music from his mother, a professional pianist. As an Army medic in the mid-1950s, he was stationed in San Francisco at Letterman General Hospital in the Presidio. He got the jazz bug listening to bands at the noncommissioned officers’ club, and began taking saxophone lessons after leaving the service. (He told Nalley he switched from saxophone to piano because he couldn’t afford to get his horn out of hock and there was always a piano around). He heard Charlie ParkerDexter Gordon and other stars in late-night sessions at the fabled Jimbo’s Bop City in the Fillmore district.

Dewey Redman, John Handy, Frank Butler and a lot of others, they all helped me,” BJ Papa told writer Jerry Karp in 2005, two years after the Upper Grant Avenue Art Fair Association honored him for his contribution to the music scene and the culture of North Beach.

Some of the musicians he helped, including Nalley, bassist David Ewell and trumpeter Henry Hung, will honor him from 2 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 28 at Mojito, 1337 Grant Ave., San Francisco. It’s free to the public.

We had know each other for 35 years or so. Now with Shelter in Place I have the time to practice like I haven’t in years and I revisit the tunes BJ showed me. With more than a few I play the melody just like he played it. His fingers had a certain way,  the phrasing was maybe comical or maybe very hip (like Monk in his way) but it has stayed with me all this time.

We started out as strangers down in the basement across from Candlestick and ended up with his obituary in the Chronicle and me sitting here trying to remember his ending to All The Things You Are.

And time enough to finally write down my remembrance of him.

Rest In Peace Bill Jackson.

-Jim Pugh

Little Village Foundation

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NEWS!

As this is Black History month, it’s only appropriate to acknowledge Betty Reid Soskin, one of the most moving and experienced living speakers regarding the spectrum of civil rights in the US. Drawing from her own personal experiences with her Great GrandMother (who was a slave until age 19 but lived until Betty was in her 20s), Betty’s own experiences as a Mother, GrandMother, anti-war activist, singer-songwriter, collaborator with the Black Panthers, a civic employee experiencing segregation during the second world war and afterward, to becoming a National Park Ranger at the age of 85 (and still serves in that role at age 98!). And on to be named one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year in 2018.

You can learn about Betty’s extraordinary life in her autobiography, Sign My Name To Freedom https://amzn.to/2VrUHxB and get a taste of her speeches, gathered from numerous sources, on her Little Village Foundation spoken word album, A Lifetime of Being Betty https://amzn.to/392ossS. Happy Black History month, Betty, and long may you share your powerful and moving stories.–PS The new documentary on Betty, No Time To Waste https://vimeo.com/216189832, is also just out. Watch for it – and bring kleenex.

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GENIUS:

Alabama Mike Live!                                            w/ The Greaseland All Stars

Visionary visual edited by that famous Extremist Norge
Kid Andersen!

AND MORE!

WATCH NOW!!

Alabama Mike does M.I.S.S.I.S.S.I.P.P.I.

More! More! More!

READ!

High Times Along The Central Coast Empire*

with

Aireene Espiritu

* sans Extremist Norge

        Tales from the Tavern celebrates 18 years with performance by                                                    Aireene Espiritu & The Itch

This year Santa Ynez Valley concert series Tales from the Tavern will enter its 18th year of hosting singers, songwriters and storytellers from all over the globe on its stage. A performance by Aireene Espiritu & The Itch at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 12 will kick off the 2020 series.

“We’re excited to start this new year of concert programming with a killer R&B band,” said Ron Colone, who along with his sister Carole Ann, produces and promotes the series. “It still focuses on the song, songwriter and storytelling – and it’s still a listening concert,” said Colone. “But we also wanted to bring in more bands and ensembles this season, to enhance the musical experience.”

Joining Espiritu on stage at 7 p.m. at The Maverick Saloon in Santa Ynez, according to Colone, will be resident Jim Pugh, a virtuoso keyboardist who has toured and recorded with Robert Cray, Etta James, Boz Skaggs, BB King, Van Morrison and John Lee Hooker.

Beyond being a musician, Pugh is a community activist, having created the nonprofit Little Village Foundation. The organization helps musical artists from non-traditional backgrounds who otherwise might not have opportunities to record and be heard beyond their own communities. Aireene Espiritu is one of those artists who has benefited their mission.

Colone said that Espiritu’s band, The Itch, includes bassist Karl Sevareid, who has performed with Charlie Musselwhite, Jimmy Witherspoon, Elvin Bishop and the Robert Cray Band; guitarist Bob Welsh, having played alongside Bonnie Raitt, Elvin Bishop, James Cotton, Pinetop Perkins and The Fabulous Thunderbirds; and local drummer Austin Beede, band mate to The Haden Triplets, Alastair Greene, Alberta Cross, Grateful Shred, Dr. Testme.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact 805-697-6335 or go to www.talesfromthetavern.com

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                  Don’t Miss This!
 

GOT FRIENDS IN SAN JOSE, MODESTO or VISALIA?

Send ’em our way!

Fri Jan 24 – Montgomery Theater, San Jose

Sat Jan 25 – Gallo Theater, Modesto, CA

Sun Jan 26 – Fox Theater, Visalia, CA
“Firing up audiences ….a stageful of powerful BLUESWOMEN!”
San Francisco Chronicle 
“With a crackerjack all woman band, Blues is a Woman makes the case that women powered the blues, from Alberta Hunter to Janis Joplin!”
Cy Musiker, KQED (NPR Radio)
GET TICKETS NOW!
“A must-see, foot-stomping pleasure!”
V-Media, Theater Arts

Thank you Patty Castillo-Davis and Modesto View – click here to read Patty’s beautiful article about Blues is a Woman!

Check out our NEW 30 second TV spot!
Thanks Turnaround Artists!
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WHAT’S NEXT:
2020
Fri Jan 24 – Montgomery Theater, San Jose
Sat Jan 25 – Gallo Theater, Modesto, CA
Sun Jan 26 – Fox Theater, Visalia, CA
Thurs May 7 – Triple Door, Seattle WA
Fri May 8 – Juan de Fuca, Port Angeles, WA  
BLUES IS A WOMAN  made its theatrical debut in San Francisco in 2017.

17 SOLD OUT shows, fantastic reviews, reaping a coveted Bay Area Theater Circle Award.

TODAY –  BLUES IS A WOMAN is available in concert – featuring our fantastic cast  (Jennifer Jolly, Ruth Davies, Kristen Strom, Daria Johnson & Pat Wilder) as we travel through the decades celebrating Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Memphis Minnie, Janis Joplin, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Nina Simone, Ruth Brown, Aretha Franklin and Bonnie Raitt.

“Blues is a Woman hits it out of the park with sensational show!” News Laguna

 “An extravagantly entertaining and informative show!”  Berkleyside

REPRESENTATION
Rachel Cohen, Cadence Arts Network
(310) 701-9191  rachel@cadencearts.com
Matt Beasley (San Francisco Bay Area)
(650) 400-4920   matt@luminamusicgroup.com
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MUSIC

Mike Duke Steps Into the Spotlight

JON KLEINMAN
07 Jan 2020

Sometimes the story of how an album came to be is as fascinating as the music itself. Southern roots music artist Mike Duke draws from a deep well of influences and pours his heart and soul into everything he plays.

…TOOK A WHILE
THE MIKE DUKE PROJECT

Little Village Foundation

11 October 2019

Sometimes the story of how an album came to be is as fascinating as the music itself. The Mike Duke Project’s …took a while, released on Jim Pugh’s non-profit label Little Village Foundation, is a prime example. Despite a 40-year-long career as a respected singer, songwriter, and keyboard player, Alabama native Mike Duke had never released an album of his own. Duke spent several years with Southern rockers Wet Willie; his keyboard playing can be heard on the band’s 1974 hit single “Keep on Smilin'”. He further honed his Southern rock chops playing with the Outlaws and spent much of the 1990s playing keyboards for legendary roadhouse rocker Delbert McClinton.

Bob Brown, who served as the executive producer and driving force behind…took a while, has been friends with Duke since the early 1980s. When the two met, Brown was managing Huey Lewis & the News. The band recorded three of Duke’s songs – two, “Hope You Love Me Like You Say You Do” and “Doin’ It All for My Baby”, ended up on Billboard’s Top 40 singles chart. When Brown purchased the Rancho Nicasio roadhouse in Nicasio, California, he invited Duke to join the house band. Duke remains a member of the Rancho All-Stars to this day. In addition to archival recordings dating back to 1977, …took a while features several new performances of Duke’s music recorded at Rancho Nicasio and produced by blues renaissance man Kid Andersen. The album is an excellent showcase for Duke’s range and deep musical roots.

Opening track “Little Miss Ponytail” introduces listeners to Duke’s warm and unbelievably soulful vocals. Duke’s voice is rich and expressive, with a nice ragged edge on the high notes. As he sings the touching lyrics about young love, his delivery sounds effortless. Duke has a singular gift for writing and singing about matters of the heart. Hearing one of his beautiful meditations on love and loss makes the listener feel as if they’re receiving words of wisdom from a barroom philosopher who’s seen it all. The tender ballad “I’m Not Sad Tonight” was recorded at Rancho Nicasio. Hammond organ riffs from Jim Pugh add soul and backing vocals from Dallis Craft and Angela Strehli flesh out the arrangement. Duke’s heartfelt vocals touch the listener like a reassuring clap on the shoulder.

“Let Her Go and Start Over” further explores the themes of lost love and closure. The tune was recorded by Huey Lewis & the News, but Duke’s version strips away the show-biz polish and hits much closer to the bone. Andersen took Duke’s 1981 recording and re-mixed it at his famed Greaseland Studios. Andersen overdubbed organ riffs from Jim Pugh and backing vocals from Lisa Leuscher Andersen and himself. The resulting track sports a mix of musicianship and raw emotion that’s sure to move today’s listeners. “Coming ‘Round Again”, a song originally pitched to Gregg Allman after his breakup with Cher, is one of the earliest recordings in the collection. The simmering, moody arrangement is a mixture of jazz and blues with Ray Honea’s sensual guitar work and a three-piece horn section adding atmosphere. Given the back story behind …took a while, it’s ironic to hear Duke sing, “I know for all the luck in my lifetime/It’s coming ’round again.”

Given the critical acclaim that …took a while has been generating, things are indeed coming ’round again for Mike Duke. Thanks to the efforts of Bob Brown, Jim Pugh, and Kid Andersen, an overlooked talent is finally getting some long-overdue recognition. Duke draws from a deep well of influences and pours his heart and soul into everything he plays. The Mike Duke Project has given roots music fans a wonderful gift.

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Year In Review:
Videos:
LVF LIVE Freight and Salvage 2019:
Mary Flower, Saida Dahir, Anai Adina/Mariachi Mestizo/Enriching Lives Through Music, Betty Reid Soskin and Skip The Needle
Over 1 million YouTube hits for Aki Kumar’s Dilruba! His signing with SONY India is to be hailed by all. Hail!
Congressman Mark DeSaulnier honors Betty Reid Soskin by reading her into the Congressional Record.
PRESS:
Aireene Espiritu’s Color Coded Symphony in SF Examiner!
https://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/color-coded-symphony-promotes-openness-unity/

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Little Village Foundation celebrates 5 years of connecting music of the community to the world. Thank you for all your support in 2019 and please remember us as the year draws to a close.

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Rick with Wee Willie Walker. (RIP) We will all carry his beauty and kindness in our hearts everywhere we go.  https://youtu.be/i45XY1Pehn0  A Change is Gonna Come – it was his favorite.
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SF Examiner Lauds Aireene Espiritu’s “Color Coded Symphony”: 
Singer Aireene Espiritu created her musical experience as a way to promote connections between cultures. (Courtesy photo)

‘Color Coded Symphony’
promotes openness, unity

Singer Aireene Espiritu’s musical experience counteracts racism

By T. Watts

When genre-bending troubadette Aireene Espiritu conceived the idea of “A Color-Coded Symphony,” she reasoned that the actual production was years away.

In 2016, while performing a concert promoting the release of her album “Back Where I Belong” (a tribute to legendary San Francisco-born R&B singer Sugar Pie DeSanto), the critically-acclaimed, eclectic Bay Area singer mentioned it to the woman in charge of programming at the Asian Art Museum.

“I just thought it would be fun to do a concert in the dark, introducing the concept of folks just listening without judging — just turning the lights off and listening. The idea was to get people more curious about other cultures. It was just a dream that would require some really amazing musicians,” says Espiritu, who was surprised to learn that the museum wanted to host such a production and had an opening in its schedule in nine months.

“This idea that I thought would happen maybe years in the future suddenly became only months away and I had to pull it together,” says Espiritu, who premiered the show in September 2017. She reprises it this week at Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage with a lineup including Bollywood bluesman Aki Kumar, guitarists Kid Andersen and Edward Tree, keyboardist Jim Pugh, drummer D’Mar Martin, Manesh Judge on tabla, bassist Vance Ehlers, vocalist Lisa Lund Anderson and percussionists Clark Seal and Jesus Martinez.

“A Color-Coded Symphony” is an interactive experience in which audience participation is taken to unique levels. True to the spirit of improvisation, each performance is different. Espiritu’s end design is to foster intercultural openness.

Describing the work as part of her calling and her way of dealing with racism, Espiritu says, “Every experience I’ve had in my life that’s not even related to music, I’m able to use in this project. It’s a lot of work but I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”

It begins with a concert in the dark in which the musicians play “familiar and unfamiliar sounds,” she says. In the second part, an artist from a different country is featured.

In the third part, after every person in the audience has filled out an ethnic origin card, the musicians randomly pull cards from a jar and then play 30 seconds of audio rhythm or music from the country. Then, after every 30 seconds, the band performs an improvised piece inspired by those rhythms.

“It’s kind of like connecting to rhythms of the world while creating something beautiful and new,” says Espiritu.

Espiritu’s creativity is fueled by personal experience. Her family migrated to America when she was 10. She says, “We moved to this little town in New Jersey where nobody knew what Filipino was. It was a pretty traumatic identity crisis,” mentioning that she’d have to tell people she wasn’t Chinese or Puerto Rican.

Enraptured by the music of her guitar-playing uncles at family singalongs, Espiritu didn’t start singing in public until she got to college. A chance encounter with a book on the field recordings of ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax propelled her forward to the “timeless Americana” niche she occupies today. It’s seemingly a precarious perch.

“I’m not really a blues singer,” she says. “What intrigued me about the Lomax book was his work in just capturing people in their backyards or front porches, from all over the world. People just bein’ who they are, playin’ their music.”

IF YOU GO

A Color-Coded Symphony

Where: Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12 (pre-show talk at 7:15 p.m.)

Tickets: $10 to $20

Contact: (510) 644-2020, www.thefreight.org

Read More About Aireene at
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Little Village Foundation is thrilled to be in discussions with The Arhoolie Foundation about future ways we can work together. As part of that, LVF recording artists, The Sons of The Soul Revivers are proud to be a part of an evening of music celebrating the Arhoolie Award recipients.
So too are we happy to share this announcement with all our LVF subscribers.

Arhoolie Foundation Presents:

The Second Annual
Arhoolie Awards and Benefit Concert

Friday, November 22, 2019
Doors 7:30 pm, Show 8 pm
The Chapel
777 Valencia St., S.F. CA 94110
Tickets: $38-$125; For tickets, go to arhoolie.org/2019benefit.
We are proud to announce the second annual Arhoolie Awards and Benefit Concert, to be held November 22nd at San Francisco’s The Chapel. Proceeds from the event will go to support the Awards program and help further the mission of the Arhoolie Foundation.This year’s award recipients – who each receive $10,000 to support their work – are Linda Tillery, a singer, songwriter, producer, and activist recognized as a pioneer of women’s music;  Cedric Watson, a Texas-born musician who breathes new life into the Creole music of Southwest Louisiana; and Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, a longtime home of roots, folk, and world music. Rock & Roll and Blues Hall of Famer Elvin Bishop, who is headlining the concert,  will be honored with a Chris Strachwitz Legacy Award.Hosted by KCSM’s Jesse “Chuy” Varela, the event will feature live performances of down home blues by GRAMMY-nominated Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio, soulful African diasporic music by Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, and spirited gospel by The Sons of the Soul Revivers.Learn about 2019 – and last year’s – Arhoolie Awards recipients.For tickets and additional info, go to arhoolie.org/2019benefit.
Our inaugural Arhoolie Awards and Benefit Concert – Bridging the Blues – with Taj Mahal and Fantastic Negrito was held last at the UC Theatre in Berkeley, CA in October of last year.  We invite you to view photos of last year’s event and grab tickets to join us in making this year as memorable as our last!
Photo Credit: Ariel Nava
About the Arhoolie Foundation
The Arhoolie Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization rooted in the life’s work of its founder Chris Strachwitz and his acclaimed independent label Arhoolie Records. Our mission is to document, preserve, and celebrate blues, Cajun, zydeco, gospel, jazz, Tejano/Norteño, old-time, and other tradition-based styles of music through archival preservation, live performance, community and educational outreach, exhibits, and direct support to artists. Your donation is fully tax-deductible to the extent permitted by the law.
About Little Village Foundation
Little Village Foundation is a non-profit cultural producer and record label that searches out, discovers, records and produces music that otherwise would not be heard beyond the artist’s family and community. Little Village supports the dreams of artists from non-traditional backgrounds. Many of these artists make music just as a part of telling their community stories. Through some detective work and the help of an extensive network from his acclaimed performing career, Executive Director Jim Pugh learns of great music happening in communities throughout the country, music that has deep roots in American popular and roots traditions. He then offers to record their music at no expense to the artist at all. Usually this is the very first time the artist has been recorded. Not only is there no expense to the artist, Little Village Foundation owns zero intellectual property for the music and sets up all retail accounts for the sales of CDs in the artists’ names. This happens with generous public donations and grants.
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Making a Difference with Mariachi Music 

By Juan Morales
Mariachi Practitioner and Director The Mariachi Studio
Delano, CA

 

Advocacy for culturally responsive music curricula that can be used as tools of empowerment for youth in marginalized areas has been the focus of my work for two decades. At The Mariachi Studio, we use mariachi rather than classical music as an agent of social change; but we have many characteristics in common with programs directly inspired by El Sistema.

Mariachi is an ensemble musical form and provides the same benefits as playing in a classical orchestra: the skills of listening, cooperating, and harmonizing, which ultimately contribute to harmony of the human spirit. Like classical music, mariachi lends itself to peer teaching, and can be performed in a variety of venues and performance settings.

There are also important differences between mariachi and classical music that can be beneficial in our students’ learning process. For example, mariachi is both a vocal and an instrumental genre. Therefore, all of our students are encouraged to learn to play and sing.

Another difference is that mariachi, as an expression of Mexican culture, is the folk genre most meaningful to our students’ families. As they gain proficiency, they experience pride not only in their musical prowess but also in their cultural heritage. It helps them build strong bonds with their communities and bridge the gap between themselves and their familial elders.

Finally, our students’ growing skills are commercially and musically valuable. Many student ensembles perform regularly on weekends and receive compensation. For our mostly low income student families, this is particularly crucial.

Our academy is proud that in a region with one of the state’s lowest high school graduation rates, we have celebrated over 40 college graduations with our alumni, plus our many alumni who entered military, trade, and law enforcement schools. Some have also pursued professional careers in mariachi.

We use high-quality mariachi music education to empower our students to dream far beyond their current realities, attend college, and break the cycle of generational poverty in their community. Our ultimate goal is not to make more professional musicians or music educators, but to give our students something to be proud of—themselves—so that they can thrive in college and adult life.

– the ensemble  10- 2019

 A NEWSLETTER FOR THE U.S. & CANADIAN EL SISTEMA MOVEMENT

 

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Little Village Foundation
San Francisco Pre Hardly Strictly
House Concert
JOIN US!

Date And Time

Thu, October 3, 2019

6:00 PM – 8:30 PM PDT

Description:

It’s Really Simple

Free Food

Free Drink

Free Music

Performances By:

Aireene Espiritu

Aki Kumar

Marina Crouse

Maurice Tani

and special guests

All in support of Little Village Foundation

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Copyright © 2019 Little Village Foundation, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you wished to hear about upcoming Little Village Foundation eventsOur mailing address is:

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SolvangCA 93463-2284

Anaí Adina Morales singing on stage with the Mariachi Mestizos.
On a sweltering mid-August day in Delano, Anaí Adina Morales sat at her dining room table in the home where she grew up. She quieted down her two small dogs and then played the beginning of the music to Nuestro Gran Amor on her phone to make sure she was in the right key. 
“Como el sol le hace falta a la luna,” she sang in acapella. The song is number 12 on her recently released mariachi debut album, Espérame En El Cielo. It’s a mix of mostly love songs, some accompanied only by a guitar and others with a full 30-piece mariachi band. 

The 18-year-old has been part of mariachi bands since she was 6. She can play the violin, guitar, guitarrón, and trumpet. 

“I would say it’s like a lifestyle, you know? Because if I’m not teaching it or performing it, I’m singing in the shower, I’m singing while I clean the house,” she said. “It’s always there.”

Little Village Foundation is the record label that produced Morales’ album. It’s a non-profit organization that seeks out artists from many different musical and cultural traditions who might not be heard outside of their communities. 

A youth mariachi ensemble called Mariachi Mestizos and a Latino youth Symphonic Orchestra, Enriching Lives Through Music, collaborated on songs on the album. Members of Mariachi Mestizos are also all students at Morales’ family’s music studio in Delano, The Mariachi Studio.

Mariachi is “family, it’s my culture, it’s the story of so many people before me, it’s everything,” she said.

Morales has traveled around the country with Mariachi Mestizos. One of the most memorable performances she had with the group, she said, was on April 10, 2017 at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

“I used to have a poster of Carnegie Hall in my room and it was like of Carnegie Hall from the perspective of you on the stage,” Morales said. “So, you just see all the seats and the lights and everything.”

On the night she performed, she said she watched from the side as the seats filled up. Soon the lights were shining on her face. 

A poster of Anaí Adina Morales’ album cover in the Mariachi Studio where she recorded it.                 CREDIT MONICA VELEZ / VALLEY PUBLIC RADIO

“It was epic, just extremely beautiful and the colors, it literally felt like magic just looking at it,” Morales said. “I just told myself, ‘Ok, you’re only going to do this once. You’ve got to give it all you’ve got and try to remember every moment of it.”

Mariachi Mestizos has also played at The Kennedy Center and at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. People hear the ensemble every weekend around Kern County at weddings, quinceañera’s, and other family celebrations.

Another more recent memory she’ll never forget, Morales said, is the day she got accepted to Harvard. “When I looked at the screen, it throws confetti on the screen when you open it, and so I saw that and I was like, ‘Wait, what?’ I was just like shook, you know?”

Morales said her parents started screaming, she was crying, and so were her two older sisters. 

“I don’t think I would’ve been the person who I am today without mariachi,” Morales said. “I think that was very evident on my college application. Every chance that I got to write about mariachi I would write about it, and I think it’s something not a lot of people know about. I think it definitely set me apart from other applicants.”

One of her sisters, Sochi, is already at Harvard, and Morales said she’s excited to be in the same place as her “partner in crime.” Sochi is also a musician and together they’re going to play in Harvard’s Mariachi Club.

“So we’re going to take it over this year, me and her together,” Morales said.

More recently, Morales won the Shining Star award at the Battle of Mariachis competition in San Juan Capistrano.

The 13 songs on the album are a compilation of Morales’ 13 favorite cover songs, she said, plus one song that her dad wrote, Corrido de las Heledas, about the first time it snowed in Kern County, and how that affected the crops.

Morales’ dad, Juan Morales, runs The Mariachi Studio in Delano, where she recorded the album. He helped her produce it; it started with only her voice and a guitar. 

“Then I said, ‘Well why don’t you play this song with the harp?’ And then, ‘Why don’t we add two violins?’ And then, ‘Why don’t we put trumpet here? Why don’t we use the mariachi?’ All of a sudden it was a 30-piece orchestra,” Juan said. 

The Mariachi Studio in Delano.
CREDIT MONICA VELEZ / VALLEY PUBLIC RADIO

Before moving to the Valley, Juan played in professional mariachis around the world. He was in Los Camperos, Mariachi Cobre and La Mariachi Sol de Mexico. He also taught mariachi to all three of his daughters, and it all started before they were born. 

“We used to play music in the womb for them,” he said. “My wife would put some contraption that we designed [on her stomach] and we played music constantly while they were being made.”

It had a lasting effect; the family still plays together.

“The most exciting thing is we get to spend the evenings together, my wife and I and our kids,” said Juan, who is also a middle school music teacher in Bakersfield. “We’ve been fortunate to have this opportunity for our girls.”

All three daughters have taught music in the studio.Before she left for Harvard, Anaí Morales said she told her students to challenge themselves in everything they do. 

The Mariachi Studio in Delano.
CREDIT MONICA VELEZ / VALLEY PUBLIC RADIO

“The second that it’s easy you’re not learning anything, you’re not growing from it,” she said. “So that’s the advice I would give anyone who wants to do anything. You have to make sure you always challenge yourself so that  you can grow.” 

She said she’s going to college with an open mind; she thinks she wants to study some type of science but she might go into music. 

Espérame En El Cielo is streaming on Spotify and Apple Music.

Copyright © 2019 Little Village Foundation, All rights reserved.
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Little Village FoundationSee the people
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Little Village End of Summer Free Concert

Sunday, September 8, 2019 from 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Description

It’s Simple.

Free Food.

Free Drinks.

Free Music.

Stunning Vista Sunset.

Junior Watson. (OC)

Sean Wheeler. (PS)

Whitney Shay. (SD)

Igor Prado. (Ipanema)

Attend Event
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By ANDREW GILBERT | Correspondent
PUBLISHED: August 13, 2019 at 11:00 am | UPDATED: August 13, 2019 at 11:16 amIn a few short years, Little Village Foundation has demonstrated that an indie label, a small budget, big ears and a truckload of creative moxie can move mountains.Founded by veteran blues keyboardist Jim Pugh and driven by a radically inclusive vision, the label has documented underexposed artists in blues and gospel, country and mariachi, old-school R&B and beyond. With a net cast wider than ever, Little Village celebrates the latest crop of releases Aug. 17 at Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage with a program that includes Harvard-bound Anai Morales, an 18-year-old singer and violinist from Delano celebrating the release of her album “Espérame en el Cielo,” and 97-year-old African-American Park Ranger Betty Reid Soskin, whose CD “A Lifetime of Being Betty” features her recounting stories of her time as a Rosie the Riveter, among other adventures.Rootsy guitarist/vocalist Mary Flower plays originals from “Livin’ with the Blues Again” (joined on several pieces by gospel combo Sons of the Soul Revivers), and the rock/funk band Skip the Needle delivers their politically charged anthems from “ We Ain’t Never Going Back.” Featuring Shelley Doty, Kofy Brown, Katie Cash and Vicki Randle, Needle is a Bay Area supergroup that found an unlikely home on the label. “Little Village’s mission is the same as ours, to bring great music and social justice to people’s awareness,” says Randle, who recently left a decade-long gig singing backup for Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Mavis Staples.Details: 8 p.m.; $20-$24; 510-644-2020, thefreight.org
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SF Chronicle Datebook – June 24, 2019

Skip the Needle to bring its joyful funk metal to debut album release show

– Andrew Gilbert
June 24, 2019
 
Skip the Needle — Kofy Brown (left), Katie Cash, Vicki Randle and Shelley Doty — plays the Ivy Room in Albany on Saturday, July 6.Photo: Irene Young
Vicki Randle was no fresh-faced ingenue when she joined Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Mavis Staples as a percussionist and backup singer in 2010. Well-established as a top-shelf Los Angeles studio musician with dozens of albums and major tours to her credit, she was looking forward to some down time after nearly two decades in the “Tonight Show” band.

But she couldn’t say no to the iconic Staples. For the next eight years, Randle provided soaring harmonies for the resurgent soul legend, who first gained fame as lead vocalist with the Staple Singers, the family gospel ensemble responsible for some of the civil rights movement’s most popular and enduring anthems.

Tired of the road, Randle decided to leave Staples last year. Back in Berkeley, where she spent much of her childhood, she’s found that her experience with Staples “was an apprenticeship in more ways than one,” she says. Her latest project is the Bay Area supergroup Skip the Needle, a funk metal collective featuring Shelley Doty and Katie Cash on guitars, Kofy Brown on drums, Randle on bass and percussion, and all four women on vocals.

With three of the Bay Area’s most prominent black female rockers and the versatile powerhouse Cash (a.k.a. Katie Colpitts), the group has honed a potent repertoire of original songs that marry urgent political declarations with elemental beats. Taking a page from Staples’ book, Randle and her comrades play trenchant anthems that alternately induce head bobbing and booty shaking without hectoring listeners.

“Even people who may not agree with what Mavis was talking about were just so mesmerized,” Randle says. “What they were listening to was not only joy, but justice. That’s what I want to do. We’re a political band, but we’re not trying to yell at you. We’re trying to bring you with us. We’re subverting people’s minds by injecting them with joy.”

Skip the Needle celebrates the release of the band’s debut album “We Ain’t Never Going Back” (Little Village Foundation) Saturday, July 6, at the Ivy Room in Albany. The group is also part of an Aug. 17 Freight & Salvage showcase focusing on the latest batch of Little Village releases, a program including Delano high schooler and Mariachi Mestizo violinist-vocalist Anai Adina, nonagenarian storyteller and park ranger Betty Reid Soskin, and blues guitarist and singer-songwriter Mary Flower.

Founded in 2014 by veteran blues keyboardist Jim Pugh, Little Village has released a dauntingly diverse array of roots music projects, but nothing like “We Ain’t Never Going Back.” The album opens with the crunching heavy metal guitar chords of “Battle Cry (Ay Ay Ay).” It’s a sound that inspired Bootsy Collins to share a Skip the Needle video on Facebook as the answer to his question, “Are women rockin’ harder now?”

They reached a whole new audience in May delivering a ferocious version of “Oh My God” as part of the UnderCover Presents album and three-day tribute to A Tribe Called Quest’s “Midnight Marauders” at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Katie Colpitts plays in the hard rock combo Dolorata, though to make matters confusing she also records and performs as the respected alt-country artist Katie Cash. Brown and Doty have been working together for years in Sistas in the Pit, a band they describe as Sade meets Jimi Hendrix, though they’re best known as the front women in their own bands.

Skip the Needle isn’t just a collective ensemble. It’s a vehicle for the players to step out of their regular roles. “We’d get together, and if we’re jamming I’m playing drums,” says Brown, who usually backs herself on guitar. “Vicki said, I’m going to play bass. I just did a show Saturday with my band, and I’ve got to take care of all the details. With Skip the Needle it feels like it’s no pressure.”

Randle first heard Brown and Doty about a decade ago when she was booked at Oakland’s Art & Soul Festival as a solo headliner, “the big shot from L.A. playing in the ‘Tonight Show’ band,” she says. Sistas in the Pit featured Anita Lofton at the time, and when Randle heard the soundcheck, she was leery about following the band. “And in fact, they just blew me off the stage,” she recalls. “But I made some good friends.”

We Ain’t Never Going Back by Skip The Needle
Andrew Gilbert is a Bay Area freelance writer.                Email: datebook@sfchronicle.com

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Little Village Foundation
with hosts
Jim Pugh, Linda Burrows, Puck Erickson, Maria Long, Tracy & David Beard, and Patty DeDominic invite you to:

An Evening of Music, Food, and Wine
Saturday,  June 22, 2019
6:30 – 8:30 pm

Please be our guest as we share our passion for music and the mission of  Little Village Foundation to bring diverse, undiscovered talent to the world.

Featuring Little Village artists:
Sons of the Soul Revivers & Maurice Tani

Performing in an intimate setting at the home of:

Patty DeDominic
1195 Dove Meadow Road, Santa Ynez
Please RSVP by June 20 to dianaoconnellsb@gmail.com
or  (805) 324-3310

Little Village Foundation is a non-profit cultural producer and record label that searches out, discovers, records and produces music that otherwise would not be heard. Founded by Jim Pugh, whose 40 year career includes multiple Grammy Awards, platinum and gold records, Little Village Foundation supports the dreams of artists from non-traditional backgrounds. Through the help of an extensive network from his long performing career Jim learns of great music happening in communities throughout the country – music that has deep roots in American popular and roots traditions. He then offers to record and promote their music at no expense. Not only is there no expense to the artist to produce and promote the CD, Little Village Foundation gives all proceeds from any CD sales back to the artists. For more information about our artists and mission please visit our website:
littlevillagefoundation.com

Little Village Foundation

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(MEDIA ALERT) Little Village Foundation Releases New Albums by Betty Reid Soskin, Skip The Needle Featuring Vicki Randle, Saida Dahir, Mary Flower, and Anaí Adina!

Lauded by national news outlets such as CNN, Forbes, TigerBeat, Billboard, and others, preeminent nonprofit record label Little Village Foundation releases five new full-length albums featuring an array of the West Coast’s most compelling women voices fighting for change through sharing their life stories to inspire people across the globe. Little Village’s latest recordings set for release on August 17, 2019 feature the label’s most notable lineup of artists to date.

Little Village’s 2019 artist roster includes: Betty Reid Soskin, recently chosen as one of Glamour Magazine’s “Women of the Year 2018″; Oakland rock outfit Skip The Needle featuring Vicki Randle, a percussionist/vocalist for nearly 20 years with The Tonight Show (1992-2010); 18-year-old Muslim Somali refugee Saida Dahir in collaboration on her track “Justified” with bassist Jerry Jemmott from Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”; acclaimed Pacific Northwest fingerstyle guitarist Mary Flower; and Harvard University-bound 18-year-old Latina singer Anaí Adina from California’s Central Valley.

Little Village emulates the mission of GRAMMY Award-winning keyboardist Jim Pugh who helps champion musicians’ careers with an artist-first platform. For its comprehensive roster of over 20 musicians, Little Village pays all recording costs, covers the duplication of 1,000 CDs with 100% of profits going directly to the artists, and the musicians own all the intellectual property. Little Village is supported by prominent donors including the Bill Graham Foundation, The Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Hellman Foundation, Hirsch & Associates, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, The San Diego Foundation, Bonnie Raitt, and others.

For additional detailed information regarding Little Village’s summer 2019 recordings, please download individual artist/band bios at this link. Album streaming links and the press release for Little Village’s 2019 albums are listed below. All artists are available for interviews.

Best,
Jesse
JP Cutler Media
(e) jesse@jpcutlermedia.com
(o) 510.658.3236
(w) http://littlevillagefoundation.com
********************************************

Little Village Foundation Announces Five New Albums
Betty Reid Soskin: A Lifetime Being Betty 
(Chosen as one of Glamour Magazine “Women of the Year 2018”)Skip The Needle: We Ain’t Never Going Back
(Featuring 20-Year Percussionist/Vocalist Vicki Randle of The Tonight Show)Saida Dahir: The Walking Stereotype
(Muslim Somali Refugee Spoken-Word Poet in Collaboration on “Justified” with Jerry Jemmott
from Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”)Mary Flower: Livin’ with the Blues Again
(Acclaimed Pacific Northwest Fingerstyle Guitarist)Anaí Adina: Espérame En El Cielo
(Harvard University-Bound Latina Vocalist from California’s Central Valley)
“Little Village Foundation digs deep throughout America and abroad in the hopes of finding unique artists
and sounds that deserve to be heard…Little Village has managed to make a difference in a number
of communities that supersedes music to contribute on a human level.” –Forbes“Nonprofit helps worthy California musicians get wide attention.” –San Francisco Chronicle“[Little Village] label boasts some of the best musicians you’ve never heard of.” –San Jose Mercury News
Santa Ynez, Calif. — Wednesday, May 29, 2019 — Preeminent nonprofit record label Little Village Foundation genuinely changes the lives of underground artists, who in turn, positively impact their communities in all corners of the West Coast. The significance of Little Village Foundation’s grassroots work of bringing undiscovered artistic gems into the spotlight has been lauded by mainstream news outlets such as CNN, Forbes, TigerBeat, Billboard, and others, while the label announces today its most notable lineup of artists to date for its summer 2019 releases. Little Village emulates the mission of GRAMMY Award-winning keyboardist Jim Pugh who helps champion musicians’ careers with an artist-first platform. For its comprehensive roster of over 20 musicians, Little Village pays all recording costs, covers the duplication of 1,000 CDs with 100% of profits going directly to the artists, and the musicians own all the intellectual property.

On August 17, 2019, Little Village Foundation releases five new full-length albums featuring an array of the West Coast’s most compelling women voices fighting for change through sharing their life stories to inspire people across the globe. Little Village’s summer 2019 lineup of recordings, includes Betty Reid Soskin, recently chosen as one of Glamour Magazine’s “Women of the Year 2018″; Oakland rock outfit Skip The Needle featuring Vicki Randle, a percussionist/vocalist for nearly 20 years with The Tonight Show (1992-2010); 18-year-old Muslim Somali refugee Saida Dahir in collaboration with bassist Jerry Jemmott from Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”; acclaimed Pacific Northwest fingerstyle guitarist Mary Flower; and Harvard University-bound 18-year-old Latina singer Anaí Adina from California’s Central Valley.

Supported by numerous prominent donors including the Bill Graham FoundationThe Jonathan Logan Family FoundationHellman FoundationHirsch & AssociatesMcEvoy Foundation for the ArtsThe San Diego Foundation, blues superstar Bonnie Raitt, and others, Little Village Foundation has developed in four years a prestigious board of directors and a robust staff based out of Santa Barbara County, Calif.. Little Village’s renowned roster of artists have emerged from being local acts to signing independent and major label record deals, winning prestigious awards, and performing on the country’s most venerable stages (Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival). Most critical though, these artists now have the community support of like-minded musicians that all propel one another’s careers. Like one big extended family, Little Village provides the infrastructure for singular artists to pursue their musical dreams.

“2019 is our most diverse set of releases yet,” says Jim Pugh. “From all the acts I’ve seen over the past 12 months as I trekked across the West Coast to various music festivals and venues, these five artists are the best representation of what’s truly vital right now on the scene. Ranging in ages from 18 to 97, five stalwart women artists are the voices we want to advocate for and bolster their careers. We believe talented artists should have access to the essential tools (professional studio time, CD duplication, photo shoots, promotion campaigns) for a successful launch of an album. This is where Little Village can have a real impact. Little Village proudly brings musicians together who above all else are remarkable human beings.”

Pugh’s career as a keyboardist for the likes of B.B. KingEtta JamesJohn Lee HookerRobert Cray, and Van Morrison, has garnered him multiple GRAMMY® Awards, and platinum and gold records. No longer a full-time musician, Pugh has dedicated his career as the Executive Director of Little Village Foundation to unearth American roots and rock artists with fascinating stories and undeniable talent. In looking at the label’s 2015 – 2019 releases and the critical praise they’ve garnered, it’s proving to be a successful venture.

Little Village Foundation — 2019 Artists

Betty Reid Soskin is a celebrated storyteller and, at the age of 97, is the oldest active Park Ranger in America at The Rosie The Riveter WWII Home Front National Historic Park in Richmond, CA. Soskin’s reflections on living for nearly a century are a riveting commentary on her family’s American narrative from the Dred Scott Decision, the Civil War, Reconstruction and through to Black Lives Matter and are at the heart of her new album, A Lifetime Being Betty. Recorded live at The Moth, Bridge Storage and Art Space, Litquake and Porchlight Storytelling, and Luna Voices, A Lifetime Being Betty exhibits the public speaker in her natural milieu sharing her truths while signaling that there is much life to live in one’s final decades. In 2015, she introduced Barack Obama for the “Christmas Tree Lighting” on national television, and last year, Glamour Magazine honored Betty Reid Soskin as one of their “Women of the Year 2018.” In November 2019, Soskin will perform in New York City as one of The Moth’s Five Best Storytellers of the Year.

Skip The Needle features a supergroup of the Bay Area’s leading women who are all acclaimed bandleaders in their own right, including guitarist/vocalist Shelley Doty (Shelley Doty X-tet, Jambay), drummer/vocalist Kofy Brown (Kofy Brown Band, Sistas in the Pit), guitarist/vocalist Katie Cash (Katie Cash Band, Year of the Fist), and national TV star percussionist/vocalist Vicki Randle (The Tonight Show). With a nearly two-decade career as a singer on The Tonight Show (1992-2010), and eight years touring with Mavis Staples behind her, Randle returns to her hard rock roots with her politically charged collective Skip The Needle for their debut studio album, We Ain’t Never Going Back.

18-year-old Saida Dahir is a Muslim Somali refugee and spoken-word artist living in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dahir came to national acclaimed through her piece “A Tribute To The Fallen” on Little Village Foundation’s recording, Raise Your Voice, featuring students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL and youth across the country speaking out against gun violence in America. On her debut poetry album, The Walking Stereotype, Dahir collaborates on her track “Justified” with acclaimed bassist Jerry Jemmott who performed on Gil Scott-Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”

Multi-award winning Pacific Northwest’s fingerstyle guitarist Mary Flower releases a new full-length studio album, Livin’ with the Blues Again, showcasing her deft pickin’ skills with an impressive collection of blues and ragtime originals. Flower appears on Livin’ with the Blues Again alongside powerhouse soul vocalists The Sons Of The Soul Revivers and Bay Area folk legend Suzy Thompson.

A member of the premier youth ensemble Mariachi Mestizo, Latina singer/violinist Anaí Adina from California’s Central Valley releases her first recording Espérame En El Cielo — a collection of traditional Mexican love songs that serves as an ode to her family as she prepares to study pre-med at Harvard University in fall 2019. On three songs on Espérame En El Cielo, Anaí collaborates with the 19-piece Mariachi Mestizo and upwards of 11 classical youth musicians from Enriching Lives Through Music (ELM). ELM is a transformative full scholarship multi-year program providing music education, ensemble, and performance opportunities to youth. Through ELM’s work with The Mariachi Studio in Delano, Calif., the program teaches children about Latino culture and traditional compositions. Juan Morales, a former member of the legendary mariachi group Los Camperos and father of Anaí (as well as the Director of The Mariachi Studio), appears on Espérame En El Cielo along with her two sisters (including Little Village artist Xochitl Morales who released her critically-acclaimed album, Descansos, in 2017). Anaí performed with Mariachi Mestizo at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (SF).

For additional detailed information regarding the five artists releasing new albums on Little Village in August 2019, please visit: littlevillagefoundation.com

About Little Village Foundation

Founded in 2015 by Jim Pugh, Little Village Foundation is a nonprofit record company that seeks to shine the light of awareness on those who might not otherwise be heard.

In doing so the artist retains all rights to their music and LVF pays all cost relating to production, manufacture and promotion of the initial 1000 cds and downloads with no recoupment from the artist. In short, the artist owns everything and owes nothing.

A unique business model.

32 releases in 5 years representing a wide array of words and music help amplify LVF’s belief that diverse music when held closely together builds empathy making for stronger communities and a better world.

Little Village
Exists Solely
Through the
Generous Support of
Like Minded People
Just Like You. 

 

 

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                 29th Annual Redwood Coast Music Festival

                 Thurs., May 9 through Sun., May 12

         
 Blues, Americana, Zydeco, Rockabilly, Western Swing, N.O. Jazz & more

Eureka’s Redwood Coast Musical Festival takes place Thursday, May 9th through Sunday, May 12th featuring a stellar mix of American roots music. 40 bands on seven stages.

 

The Redwood Blues showcase features

·      Wee Willie Walker and The Anthony Paule Soul
Orchestra with special guest Curtis Salgado;
Rick Estrin and the Nightcats with Charlie Baty,

·      The Steve Freund Blues Band,

·      Carl Sonny Leyland and Charlie Baty,

·      Aki Kumar and Rockin’ Johnny Burgin,

·      Mitch Woods and his Rocket 88s,

*  DJ Harry Duncan will spin his Roots & Rhythm mix of blues, soul, r&b and        more.

For information, go to RCMFest.org.

Little Village Foundation

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Copyright © 2019 Little Village Foundation, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you wished to hear about upcoming Little Village Foundation eventsOur mailing address is:

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606 Alamo Pintado Rd

SolvangCA 93463-2284

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Little Village Goes Bollywood!
In the mood for Bollywood Blues?
So are we!Little Village Recording Artist and Badshah of the Bollywood Blues sound Aki Kumar delivers two special shows in the SF Bay Area this weekend.Ashkenaz Berkeley Friday Feb 15
Armando’s Martinez, Sat Feb 16
Attendance is highly encouraged due to a likely Jim Pugh sighting at these events.
Copyright © 2019 Little Village Foundation, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you wished to hear about upcoming Little Village Foundation eventsOur mailing address is:

Little Village Foundation

606 Alamo Pintado Rd

SolvangCA 93463-2284

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Artist-friendly label Little Village showcases real roots music

By Leslie Katz on February 2, 2019 4:15 pm

Bay Area alt-country songwriter Maurice Tani wryly understates the man who started Little Village Foundation, the truly unusual record label releasing his ninth album “This Is It!” at a showcase concert on Thursday in Berkeley.

“This Jim Pugh guy’s got quite an ear,” says Tani, describing his friend and cohort who started the nonprofit in 2014 with a mission to showcase unique artists whose music otherwise might not be heard.

Aside from the fact that the label doesn’t make any money off its artists, who retain all rights to their material, Tani adds, “What makes Little Village so unique is Jim Pugh’s taste, the way he has curated the thing.”

While its award-winning, multi-cultured acts vary from blues to folk to mariachi, spoken word and more, all Little Village music “seems to be stuff that is heartfelt,” says Tani: “Jim has been around the top end of the music business to know bulls— when he sees it.”

After leaving a 35-year gig as keyboardist with the Robert Cray Band, Pugh, who lives in Santa Ynez, could’ve joined another blues group. But he wanted to do something “more in the line of service,” says Tani.

Among Pugh’s early discoveries were cowboy poet David Ellis from Bakersfield, and Los Tres Amigos, indigenous people from Mexico living in Santa Maria who sing in Mistec, their native language. (“It sounds vaguely like Vietnamese,” says Tani.)

Their recording “Snuviko” was among Little Village’s initial four releases in 2015. Every household in the 25,000 person California community of mostly migrant farm workers has a copy, says Tani, “because it’s the only album of its kind that there is.”

Tani isn’t the only act on Thursday’s concert at the Freight & Salvage, which benefits Little Village.

The Sons of the Soul Revivers, a gospel quartet for whom Tani wrote the song “How Deep Is The Water In Your Well” after meeting the singers at a previous label showcase (“I thought they were going to knock me over”) also appears.

Both have benefited from recording at Greaseland, a San Jose studio where producer Kid Andersen, Pugh and a regular corps of great players “make magic” on Little Village recordings, Tani says, calling the place a “modern West Coast version of Muscle Shoals.”

Young musicians from Mariachi Mestizo, a mariachi school in Delano that has released two Little Village Foundation albums, are appearing Feb. 7 in Berkeley. (Courtesy Robert Solorio)
Thursday’s show also features students of Mariachi Mestizo, a school in the Central Valley town Delano led by mariachi master Juan Morales, whose versatile multi-instrumentalists and singers, many teen girls, have appeared at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. The group has two albums on Little Village.

Another Little Village record, “Raise Your Voice-The Sound of Student Protest” — made in the wake of the 2018 mass shootings at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida — is being represented at Thursday’s show with appearances by spoken word artist Saida Dahir and guitarist-vocalist Ben Soto, from Salt Lake City, and solo artist Amalia Fleming, from Morro Bay.

Rounding out the bill are award-winning Iowa bluesman Kevin Burt; fourth-generation Chicana Marina Crouse, a funky Bay Area blues-jazz-soul singer; and eclectic “desert legend” Sean Wheeler, formerly of the punk band Throw Rag, who has gone acoustic.

Describing Little Village’s growing roster of artists — which also includes Bollywood blues artist Aki Kumar; soulful Filipina-California folk singer Aireene Espiritu; bassist Betty Reid Soskin, the 97-year-old National Park Ranger at the Rosie the Riveter Trust; and ragtime acoustic guitarist-vocalist Mary Flower — Tani says, “This is American roots music, not the Wikipedia definition. It’s wide, diverse and honest, and what America really sounds like, not what a media company decided. “

And about his own new CD “This Is It!,” a live album of a Freight & Salvage show mixed at Greaseland, Tani says it has some of the best versions of tunes he’s played over the past 15 years, settled and comfortable, “like the difference between a brand new baseball glove and one used by an All Star great.”

IF YOU GO
Little Village Foundation Benefit Show
Where: Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley
When: 8 p.m. Feb. 7
Tickets: $20 to $24
Contactwww.thefreight.org

Maurice Tani releases his live album “This Is It!” at the Feb. 7 Little Village Foundation concert. (Courtesy Freight & Salvage)

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                                       Recording Roy Tyler
Roy Tyler told me he couldn’t sing the vamp.He had nothing left. He’d started the song at the top of his range and when it got to the end he was gassed with no place to go.

I sat in the studio and pondered dropping the song from the cd. The background vocal was so good I really didn’t want to but it seemed silly if there wasn’t a lead vocal to go with it.

We tried it in a lower key and that didn’t work- it never does. I was getting frustrated before I blindly asked Roy if he knew anybody in Oakland that had cassette recordings of sermons.

“Rev. Cobb at Harmony Baptist Church”.

I cold called him right then. Reverend Cobb said he wanted $250 for us to use a piece of his sermon.

No!

But I did offer to put his name and Harmony Baptist church right in the credits. Which sermon? I dunno.

30 minutes later a kid shows up on a bicycle with a shoe box full of cassettes.

I got my little bro box cassette player out of the car and laid on the couch in the lounge while I sped through the box of cassettes looking for – I had no idea what. The recording session was basically stopped while I pursued my – eye roll – idea.

In hindsight it all seemed miraculous but then I realize that it was really pretty simple – the song was doomed unless I found something to save it and it wasn’t taking that much time to take a peek.

Sure enough I found it, “Waiting For Jesus” was the name of the song and “Waiting For Jesus” was the name of one of Cobb’s sermons. Other than the name they were completely different.

I had the engineer- Steve Savage- “fly” the end section of the sermon into where the vamp was supposed to be in the song.

This was back in the analog days. All done on tape. Steve recorded the sermon on to a piece of 1/4 inch tape  and we kinda eye balled it to where we thought it should go and then laid it over onto the 2 inch machine.

Old school indeed.

And with no autotune or time stretch.

It fit perfectly.

Perfectly.

Rev. Cobb’s sermon was in the same key and same tempo as the song!

That was truly nutty.

See for yourself @ 3:30 :

Waiting For Jesus
The Gospel Hummingbirds
(1994)
btw- I also tacked onto the front the beginning line of his sermon,

“For those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength”.

Wasn’t sure what it meant but I thought it had a nice ring to it.

Roy Singing w/Raphael Saadiq at The Fillmore
Copyright © 2019 Little Village Foundation, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you wished to hear about upcoming Little Village Foundation eventsOur mailing address is:

Little Village Foundation

606 Alamo Pintado Rd
Little Village Foundation

SolvangCA 93463-2284

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Congratulations to these nominees that are part of the growing Little Village Foundation family:

Best Emerging Artist Album:
Kevin Burt “Heartland And Soul”
Soul Blues Female Artist:
Whitney Shay

And to those who lent their support:

Instrumentalist – Guitar:
Christoffer “Kid” Andersen 
(omni)
Perkins Piano Player
(Instrumentalist – Piano):

Jim Pugh
Contemporary Blues Male Artist:
Rick Estrin 
(Everybody Needs Love – Marcel Smith)
Traditional Blues Album, Traditional Male Artist & Album of the Year:
The High Cost Of Low Living, 
Nick Moss Band
Featuring Dennis Gruenling
Instrumentalist – Drums:
June Core
(Hindi Man Blues -Aki Kumar)
Perkins Piano Player
(Instrumentalist – Piano):

*Mike Finnigan (fake news)
*I intend to Chicago-ize the ballot box and vote 10x for Mike. -Jim
Soul Blues Male Artist:
Wee Willie Walker 
(Everybody Needs Love – Marcel Smith)
Album of The Year:
Rough Cut, 
Curtis Salgado and Alan Hager
Instrumentalist – Drums:
Tony Braunagel
(Sweet Dreams -Ada Pasternak)
Instrumentalist – Horn:
Nancy Wright 
(Everybody Needs Love – Marcel Smith)
And to those artists that let us record with them:
Soul Blues
Recording of The Year:

The Reckoning, 
Billy Price
See the people
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Donate
2018 has been the year of the donor. Your overwhelming support  has resulted in multi- tiered growth including staff and board development which has allowed for us to focus on being able to bring awareness to new and now geographically diverse artists.

Thank you!

I stop counting at 150. That’s at least how many people volunteered in helping us through the year. To all the musicians and engineers and to all the people providing stuff like a couch for the night or a ride to the airport.

Thank you!At times the work of a startup nonprofit can get dark and lonely. All of these folks joined in working together to make LVF a community of we. And we are growing.

It is contagious.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Let’s cut to the chase with our 2018 year in review:

Little Village Foundation exploded in 2018:

  • 160 individuals and foundations donated to Little Village Foundation in 2018

  • All over the world tens of thousands of people listened LVF artists
  • From Forbes to Tiger Beat. From CNN to NPR. LVF artists received media coverage like never before.
  • All in support of an amazing 9 CD Releases!
Little Village at Freight and Salvage 8.1.2018
         KID, AKI AND JIM
July 15, 2018 Releases:
Fall 2018 Added Releases:
Selected 2018 LVF Artist Performances/Fundraisers:

San Jose Jazz Festival
San Jose, CA.

San Diego Blues Festival
San Diego, CA.

Gator By The Bay Festival
San Diego, CA.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
San Francisco, CA.

Freight and Salvage
Berkeley, CA.

Waterfront Blues Festival
Portland, OR.

Chicago Blues Festival
Chicago, IL.

The Kennedy Center
Washington, DC.

Lesher Center For The Performing Arts
Walnut Creek, CA.

Coming  up in 20019

Xochitl Morales

Mariachi Mestizo Class of 2018
Harvard University Class of 2022

MAKE A GIFT!

LITTLE VILLAGE FOUNDATION is a non-profit record label which shines a light on musicians who might not otherwise be heard. We believe that diverse music builds empathy, which builds stronger communities and a better world. Little Village seeks out remarkable artists, records them, gives them CD’s to sell and a national press rollout – the artists pay nothing, and retain all rights to their music and income from sales of their music.As all proceeds from the music goes directly to our artists, LITTLE VILLAGE depends entirely upon charitable contributions from people like you to fulfill our mission.

PLEASE MAKE A TAX-DEDUCTIBLE GIFT NOW & JOIN OUR VILLAGE!

DONATE

One Last Thing

 

A few years ago I made a record with The Buzzcocks. 

Seriously you can look it up. 

The Buzzcocks- All Set was the name of it.

Afterwards when I filled out the paper work for the credits in my illegible scrawl Pugh ended up on the credits as Push. So I’m listed on the cd as Jim Push not Jim Pugh. 

At least that’s how I figured it or else maybe they were having fun with me because they thought I was so square. Sure, I was compared to the lads from the Midlands. Totally square.

After we recorded the first song like a geek I announced,

“This song is faster than anything I’ve done on 4 recordings with Robert Cray.”

“It’s the slowest song on the record, mate.” Pete Shelley had said.

He was right.

RIP Pete Shelley.

****

Tell your loved ones you love them, everyday.

PEACE!

Copyright © 2018 Little Village Foundation, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you wished to hear about upcoming Little Village Foundation eventsOur mailing address is:

Little Village Foundation

606 Alamo Pintado Rd
Little Village Foundation

SolvangCA 93463-2284

Add us to your address book

Grateful For The People I’ve Worked With

I’d been at Kenney’s house the day before.  Back then we had lived near each other out in The Richmond. He knew a secretary at Warner’s that would send him new releases every month. Like clock work. Kinda pissed me off but we would sit and listen to some stuff while we talked and drank coffee. I tried to smile and appreciate his good fortune. He’s a lucky guy.

There was a new Rodney Crowell recording that piqued my curiosity. A piano solo I assumed was Glenn D Hardin but mildly surprised to read that it was Barry Beckett. It was really good but I didn’t think too much about it.

The next day I flew to Detroit to do a gig with Etta James. Playing with her was always an adventure and at the same time nostalgic in it’s way. It was that old time thing where she didn’t tell anybody anything more than what you needed to know.

There was one week where I played with Etta at The Stud on Folsom Street in San Francisco- truly an icon of the slap and tickle South of Market scene- then flew to Nashville and played at a country showcase club, then rode the tour bus to St Louis and played The Coliseum, even back then it was an amazing chitlin circuit return to 1965, back again on the bus to Minneapolis to play for the swells at The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

Diversity?

She was the embodiment of diversity. Everybody loved her.

Etta had been trying to get the record company to let me record with her. Typically producers use their own people. I get that but she was insistent. Her first record in years, “her comeback” record was Seven Year Itch for Island Records. I was shocked one day to open the mail and find an itinerary and a round trip ticket to Compass Point. A phone call to her manager, Lupe DeLeon, what the hell Lupe? Sure enough she’d convinced the powers that be for me to fly with her to the Bahamas and record with a band comprised of Keith Richards, Art Neville and Roger Hawkins. “Just be ready Jim”.

Got it.

Day before I was to leave it all came unraveled and they ended up doing it Nashville with a whole different bunch of folks. A year or so later it’s time for her to make another record for Island. I wasn’t pushing her to do it but she insisted again. This time their response was a solid “No”.

So here we are in Detroit and we get to the sound check at the Silver Dome.  There’s Etta’s producer- Barry Beckett- sitting on stage, seated at the organ. “Would you mind if I played organ with you guys?” He asked me. Sure! We sat together, he at the organ and me at the piano sharing a bench. I was a little nervous because he was one of my idols. Nice guy but kinda gruff or so I thought.

After a while I said, “I really like your solo on that new Rodney Crowell record.” He looked surprised, “Thanks man that’s the first piano solo I’ve ever done on a record.” Right then Etta walks by and says, “Hey Barry would you mind if Jimmy came to Nashville on Monday and recorded with us?”. “Well no I don’t….” Looking at me now considering things, “Jim I play all the keyboards on records I produce but….” He paused considering things,  “what the hell, Ok”.

I had been to Kenney’s house and heard his solo on that Rodney Crowell record, flown to Detroit and shared an organ bench with him, mentioned in passing his solo right before Etta passed by and asked him to let me record with her. I’m not saying that my compliment influenced his decision but it didn’t hurt. More than anything it was serendipitous. Most serendipitous.

Monday morning, “Oh that’s right. Look you can play piano but if you make a mistake raise your hand, I ain’t got time to check it. If I find any mistakes I’ll redo the whole damn thing myself”.

Yikes.

The band:

Roger Hawkins  – Drums

Barry Beckett – Hammond B3

Reggie Young- Guitar

Mabon “Teenie” Hodges – Guitar

Michael Rhodes – Bass

Me- Piano

Etta James- Vocals

Yikes again.

10:00 am to 1:00 pm, then 2:00pm to 5:00 pm we recorded for three days at Digital Studio on Music Row in Nashville.

The first song was a classic Memphis way behind the beat, butt drag, Otis like ballad that in places required that I play eighth note chords right along with Roger Hawkins. After the first take Barry frowned and looked up at me, “Try to be musical son.”

And he was right and so I did the age old “Think about all the things you want to play and then forget about it and just play” trick with varying degrees of success but slowly I was able to be musical in a situation that was frankly really stressful for me. Stress and playing behind the beat with Roger Hawkins don’t go together too well but it got better as we went along. Not great but better. I really tried to take in as much as I could. It was a defining learning moment in my career.

Barry was a tremendous musician in that he played simple yet unique parts with so much clarity and soul that I think it revised everything in my approach to not just studio keyboard playing but in all aspects of my playing.

We ate lunch a couple times and talked a little but not much. Just sat and ate. After those three days I never saw Barry Beckett again and few years later I had heard that he passed.

When it comes to in the pocket, simple yet interesting piano and organ playing I’ve never heard anybody better.

He was the best.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Copyright © 2018 Little Village Foundation, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you wished to hear about upcoming Little Village Foundation eventsOur mailing address is:

Little Village Foundation

606 Alamo Pintado Rd
Little Village Foundation

SolvangCA 93463-2284

Add us to your address book

Grateful For The People I’ve Worked With

I’d been at Kenney’s house the day before.  Back then we had lived near each other out in The Richmond. He knew a secretary at Warner’s that would send him new releases every month. Like clock work. Kinda pissed me off but we would sit and listen to some stuff while we talked and drank coffee. I tried to smile and appreciate his good fortune. He’s a lucky guy.

There was a new Rodney Crowell recording that piqued my curiosity. A piano solo I assumed was Glenn D Hardin but mildly surprised to read that it was Barry Beckett. It was really good but I didn’t think too much about it.

The next day I flew to Detroit to do a gig with Etta James. Playing with her was always an adventure and at the same time nostalgic in it’s way. It was that old time thing where she didn’t tell anybody anything more than what you needed to know.

There was one week where I played with Etta at The Stud on Folsom Street in San Francisco- truly an icon of the slap and tickle South of Market scene- then flew to Nashville and played at a country showcase club, then rode the tour bus to St Louis and played The Coliseum, even back then it was an amazing chitlin circuit return to 1965, back again on the bus to Minneapolis to play for the swells at The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

Diversity?

She was the embodiment of diversity. Everybody loved her.

Etta had been trying to get the record company to let me record with her. Typically producers use their own people. I get that but she was insistent. Her first record in years, “her comeback” record was Seven Year Itch for Island Records. I was shocked one day to open the mail and find an itinerary and a round trip ticket to Compass Point. A phone call to her manager, Lupe DeLeon, what the hell Lupe? Sure enough she’d convinced the powers that be for me to fly with her to the Bahamas and record with a band comprised of Keith Richards, Art Neville and Roger Hawkins. “Just be ready Jim”.

Got it.

Day before I was to leave it all came unraveled and they ended up doing it Nashville with a whole different bunch of folks. A year or so later it’s time for her to make another record for Island. I wasn’t pushing her to do it but she insisted again. This time their response was a solid “No”.

So here we are in Detroit and we get to the sound check at the Silver Dome.  There’s Etta’s producer- Barry Beckett- sitting on stage, seated at the organ. “Would you mind if I played organ with you guys?” He asked me. Sure! We sat together, he at the organ and me at the piano sharing a bench. I was a little nervous because he was one of my idols. Nice guy but kinda gruff or so I thought.

After a while I said, “I really like your solo on that new Rodney Crowell record.” He looked surprised, “Thanks man that’s the first piano solo I’ve ever done on a record.” Right then Etta walks by and says, “Hey Barry would you mind if Jimmy came to Nashville on Monday and recorded with us?”. “Well no I don’t….” Looking at me now considering things, “Jim I play all the keyboards on records I produce but….” He paused considering things,  “what the hell, Ok”.

I had been to Kenney’s house and heard his solo on that Rodney Crowell record, flown to Detroit and shared an organ bench with him, mentioned in passing his solo right before Etta passed by and asked him to let me record with her. I’m not saying that my compliment influenced his decision but it didn’t hurt. More than anything it was serendipitous. Most serendipitous.

Monday morning, “Oh that’s right. Look you can play piano but if you make a mistake raise your hand, I ain’t got time to check it. If I find any mistakes I’ll redo the whole damn thing myself”.

Yikes.

The band:

Roger Hawkins  – Drums

Barry Beckett – Hammond B3

Reggie Young- Guitar

Mabon “Teenie” Hodges – Guitar

Michael Rhodes – Bass

Me- Piano

Etta James- Vocals

Yikes again.

10:00 am to 1:00 pm, then 2:00pm to 5:00 pm we recorded for three days at Digital Studio on Music Row in Nashville.

The first song was a classic Memphis way behind the beat, butt drag, Otis like ballad that in places required that I play eighth note chords right along with Roger Hawkins. After the first take Barry frowned and looked up at me, “Try to be musical son.”

And he was right and so I did the age old “Think about all the things you want to play and then forget about it and just play” trick with varying degrees of success but slowly I was able to be musical in a situation that was frankly really stressful for me. Stress and playing behind the beat with Roger Hawkins don’t go together too well but it got better as we went along. Not great but better. I really tried to take in as much as I could. It was a defining learning moment in my career.

Barry was a tremendous musician in that he played simple yet unique parts with so much clarity and soul that I think it revised everything in my approach to not just studio keyboard playing but in all aspects of my playing.

We ate lunch a couple times and talked a little but not much. Just sat and ate. After those three days I never saw Barry Beckett again and few years later I had heard that he passed.

When it comes to in the pocket, simple yet interesting piano and organ playing I’ve never heard anybody better.

He was the best.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Copyright © 2018 Little Village Foundation, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you wished to hear about upcoming Little Village Foundation eventsOur mailing address is:

Little Village Foundation

606 Alamo Pintado Rd
Little Village Foundation

SolvangCA 93463-2284

Add us to your address book

Nov 7, 2018, 06:09pm

Jim Pugh On Building Empathy Through Diverse Music Of Little Village Foundation

Little Village Foundation founder, Jim PughPHOTO COURTESY OF LITTLE VILLAGE FOUNDATION
As the major record label system continues to evolve, different sounds and different artists have become more marginalized than ever before, thanks to the never ending search for the quickest, easiest hit record possible.

Songs get more and more formulaic and homogeneous sounding and artists are cast aside quickly, easily disposable in a world where making a buck is the primary motivating factor in a system that’s been in flux for nearly twenty years.

Few of the dollars being generated by that system actually trickle down to the artist, a problem that has plagued the record industry for most of its existence. Bad contracts and new 360 deals only complicate things.

But as the internet begins to diminish the hold over marketing and distribution that record labels once had, a lane has opened for music fans seeking diverse talent and high quality and artists prioritizing a living over stardom.

In 2015, musician Jim Pugh released his first batch of four recordings as founder of the Little Village Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization which specializes in presenting different sounds and stories by often overlooked artists operating outside the mainstream.

Little Village Foundation is donor driven, financing the recording of the music and an initial run of one thousand CDs for each artist they work with. The artists sell the albums themselves, keeping the profits, and can roll those profits into subsequent album pressings.

Most importantly though, Little Village artists maintain the copyrights to all of their recordings.

“It was a wild guess, that this kind of concept would strike a chord with people. But it really has,” said Pugh of the reaction to Little Village Foundation’s efforts. “In terms of music, there is a lot that flies under the radar, that, for one reason or another, is marginalized by various things and reasons. But the emotional commonality of music really strikes me. And so we have a real wide array of music. We do all the releases at the same time because we want the music to be considered in total,” he said of Little Village’s release slate, which has grown to encompass eight albums in 2018, doubling their initial output.

Pugh worked as a musician for upwards of thirty years, recording and touring with artists like Etta James and Robert Cray, eventually asking himself a question many artists wind up struggling with.

“I did volunteer work at a botanical garden. I shoveled mulch every day for about six months trying to figure out what exactly I wanted to do next. Somebody said, ‘Find the things that you really love to do and put them together and we’ll figure out a way to put a framework around it and make it a go,'” he explained of Little Village’s humble roots. “I realized that I have a passion for music. I have a passion for diversity and a passion for helping people in small ways. When I have a combination of those three things working the right way for me, I’ve found that that’s where I really am happy.”

Little Village Foundation digs deep throughout America and abroad in the hopes of finding unique artists and sounds that deserve to be heard.

In getting those artists into a recording studio, Little Village almost acts more as an incubator, and a direct conduit to music fans, than they do a traditional label focused on its bottom line.

Recording sessions can be brisk, cut live in studio in an effort to reduce production costs. The goal is to help maximize the overall experience for the artist, from discovery through release, creating a symbiotic relationship that’s sustainable.

“Little Village has never sold one CD. I’m not in that business. I didn’t want to be,” explained Pugh. “The people that I know that have record companies, they either owe people money or they’re owed money. And those are two things as a musician that I’m just not interested in. I’m not interested in being an accountant. I’m not interested in having inventory. So I turn it all over to the artists. It’s worked pretty well so far.”

As CD players have disappeared from automobiles, the music industry continues a shift toward online streaming and more and more physical sales take the form of vinyl, Little Village has had success with compact discs, financing all of it through donations and events like living room concerts.

”A big part of the record business, traditionally, has been the brick and mortar stores. [But] the number one purchase point for CDs [now] is at the [live concert] gigs. The venues. So that really isn’t a concern anymore,” observed Pugh of the challenge in getting product in front of fans that Little Village Foundation has been able to overcome.

“In the case of Wee Willie Walker, I think he sold over 4,000 CDs. And his profit margin was such that if you compared it to a regular record company deal, I would think it would be somewhere in the neighborhood, conceivably, of between five and ten times more than the deal you’d get with a record company,” Pugh said of the Minneapolis blues/soul singer who’s now released two albums through Little Village. “So it is competitive on that level even though they’re not national, household names. They still do well. You don’t have to be huge to be successful.”

Raise Your Voice (October, Little Village Foundation) COURTESY OF LITTLE VILLAGE FOUNDATION
In searching for the sounds that rarely grace hit records, Little Village Foundation has managed to make a difference in a number of communities that supersedes music to contribute on a human level.

Snuviko was one of the albums released in that initial 2015 offering. Los Tres Amigos are a group of three Santa Maria, California-based musicians who specialize in Mixtec music, the traditional sounds of Oaxaca, Mexico.

“The Mixtec record that I did, they never did a [concert] performance. Because they pretty much work in the fields six-and-a-half days a week from dark-to-dark,” Pugh explained. “Within their community, they use that CD in the elementary school and in kindergarten to demonstrate their culture, which people don’t really understand. It’s an awareness thing,” he said of the Snuviko album. “This is what they use to explain their culture in their community. They listen to it and talk about it. What has more value: that or Wee Willie Walker playing at major jazz and blues festivals in Europe and the United States? The answer is both are relevant.”

More recently, Pugh worked with Parkland, Florida students who survived the February school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

He traveled across the country to record students telling their stories musically and in spoken-word form in places like Atlanta, New York, Saint Paul, Salt Lake City, Big Sur and Florida.

“I think that some of this stuff is as good as it would’ve been forty or fifty years ago or even better. The writing. The focus…” mused Pugh in comparing the batch of protest songs that make up Little Village’s Raise Your Voice compilation to those that define the folk tradition of artists like Woody Guthrie. “These are really, really amazing kids.”

Released on October 5th, just in time for yesterday’s midterm elections, selections from Raise Your Voicewere also performed by students in front of the festival masses at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco. 100% of the proceeds from the album benefit gun control advocates Everytown.

In the 60s, socially conscious music drove the culture, provoking thoughtful conversation in an effort to beget change. Today, during turbulent, divisive times in America, Pugh hopes to accomplish more.

“One of our taglines is ‘diverse music held together, builds empathy.’ Music can be the conversation that people find awkward,” he said. “I think that music can be the very thing that we need in this country right now: understanding. Because it seems like there are some things out there that are kind of challenging empathy.”

I am a Chicago-based writer and broadcaster who’s tracked the changing music industry since the mid-90s with frequent contributions to WGN Radio and the Daily Herald.

Jim Ryan is a Chicago based writer/broadcaster who’s interviewed a Ramone and a Rolling Stone. Follow him on Twitter @RadioJimRyan or visit online at radiojimryan.com.radiojimryan@gmail.com

DONATE TO LITTLE VILLAGE!
Copyright © 2018 Little Village Foundation, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you wished to hear about upcoming Little Village Foundation eventsOur mailing address is:

Little Village Foundation

606 Alamo Pintado Rd
Little Village Foundation

SolvangCA 93463-2284

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               VOTE!

Tyler Suarez, a “Raise Your Voice” artist performs at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018. “Raise Your Voice” is a musical response to the Parkland Shooting.
Photo: James Tensuan, SFC
While the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass offers plenty of carefree thrills throughout the weekend, things got serious in one corner of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on the three-day festival’s last day.

On Sunday, Oct. 7,  a collective of high school students from around the country came together on the tiny Bandwagon Stage in Hellman Hollow to perform songs and poems they had written and recorded for an album called “Raise Your Voice,” produced by the Little Village Foundation, in response to the spate of school shootings in America.

 

“For me, it’s very inspiring to see a generation of young people challenge a system that is out of its damn mind and that puts profit ahead of peoples’ lives,” said Oakland blues musician Fantastic Negrito, who served as the emcee for the program.

Tyler Suarez, who was in eighth grade when his aunt Dawn Hochsprung was killed in 2012 while she served as principal of Sandy Hook elementary School, opened the set with “Little Princess,” a song he wrote in her honor, drawing hushed reverence from the tie-dye and straw hat crowd.

Saida Dahir, an African American Muslim who came to the U.S. as a child refugee, delivered the forceful “Poem for the Fallen,” imploring, “How much longer do we have to deal with this s—?”

Raise Your Voice artist Saida Dahir performs a spoke word piece at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in San Francisco on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018.

Photo: James Tensuan, SFC

“That was our shot of caffeine!” said Fantastic Negrito.

But it was Ben Soto’s “17” that brought out the tears in the meadow, as he memorialized the students killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., by naming each one in the middle of the song.

Eight students performed in all — including Madison Yearsley of New York, who delivered the title track from the compilation, and Tyler Jenkins of Connecticut, who sang “Save Me,” from the perspective of a victim of a school shooting — each one sending ripples of emotion through the audience while the Blue Angels inopportunely roared overhead as part of San Francisco Fleet Week festivities.

Looking up at the sky, Fantastic Negrito asked the question that must have been on everyone’s minds: “If we can pay all that tax money to fly the damn planes, why can’t we protect our youth?”

Tyler Jenkins, Saida Dahir, Amalia Fleming, Christopher Doleman, Ben Soto, Tyler  Suarez
Madison Yearsley and Ashlyn Flamer
The End of Another Great YearThe 3 days these students spent in San Francisco were transformative for them. More than once I heard, “Sure we can think freely where we live but it’s not really ok to openly express ourselves.” They all were blown away by the environment of welcoming free expression. Race, religion, gender, sexual preference- or whatever- it was as if these students had been freed. This is what they told me.

Was it the same for Wesleyan Freshman Tyler Jenkins as for Ashlyn Flamer from Phenix City, Alabama? No. Saida Dahir from Salt Lake City the same as Amalia Fleming from Morro Bay, Ca ? No. But there was a striking degree of commonality they shared including being like minded in purpose: Ending Gun Violence in Schools by Voting November 6th.

You are to be hailed for your support. I am honored to be involved with you in this project and in being entrusted with the support you’ve shown LVF. I can say without exaggeration that seeing a Somali refugee greeted with a standing ovation of cheers and tears at the reciting of her poem was absolutely priceless moment. One of many over that weekend.

With over 4 years of nonprofit work I carry with me this new found epiphany that most time goodwill extended to others begets others to do the same to others. And so it goes. There’s no doubt in my mind that these students go home receiving others the way same way they were received that afternoon in Golden Gate Park.

For 3 years now it has been that the last day of HSB is also the last day of the LVF calendar year. We begin anew. 2018 has been an exciting groundbreaking year for Little Village Foundation and there is much more to be done in the coming year. New artists, new music, new stories. Your continued support is needed. Please consider us as this year draws to a close.

Thank you.

 

See the people

Hear the music

Feel the community

Little Village Foundation is a nonprofit record company that seeks to shine the light of awareness on music that might not otherwise be heard. We believe that diverse music builds stronger communities and makes for a better world.

DONATE
Copyright © 2018 Little Village Foundation, All rights reserved.
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Raise Your Voice

On Instagram:

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https://www.instagram.com/raiseyourvoice_lvf/?hl=en

Non-Profit Little Village Foundation Releases Empowering New Album, Raise Your Voice, Featuring Students From Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL And Youth Across the Country Speaking Out Against Gun Violence in America

All Proceeds from Sales of “Raise Your Voice” to Benefit the Non-Profit Everytown for Gun Safety,

“Raise Your Voice” Available In Stores and with Digital Retailers on October 5, 2018 

Saida Dahir and Ben Soto
Salt Lake City, Utah
Amalia Fleming
Morro Bay, CA
Lavelle Prep AP Music Class
Staten Island, New York
Tyler Jenkins, Madison Yearsley, Tyler Suarez
Staten Island, New York
Christopher Doleman and Ashlyn Flamer
Atlanta, Georgia
Sawyer Garrity and Andrea Pena
Parkland, Florida
Join Little Village Sunday, Oct. 7th  at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass for the performance of Raise Your Voice – The Sound of Student Protest. Seven songs performed by students that wrote and performed them as part of The National School Walkout April 20, 2018 in support of the tragedy in Parkland, Florida.
Little Village Foundation seeks to shine the light of awareness on those who might not otherwise be heard and exists solely through the support of like minded people.
DONATE
Little Village Recording Artist: Whitney Shay In Concert

“Call it destiny, call it good genes or whatever else, Shay is the epitome of a rising star…This is Shay’s first album in six years, the first that features her own writing, and hopefully the first of many other forthcoming self-confident, bold statements from this immensely talented vocalist.” —Jim Hynes, Elmore Magazine

“Whitney Shay is a two-time winner of the San Diego Music Award for Best Blues Artist, and rightfully so. She is a tremendously-talented, fantastic singer that will put you in the mind of folks such as Carla Thomas, Etta James and other Sirens of soul and blues… Whitney Shay is a festival favorite, with incredible vocal chops and glamour-girl good looks. What’s not to love? Be it known that, for the blues, ‘A Woman Rules The World!’” -Sheryl & Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society

“Shay is a powerful, nuanced, and convincing singer. The studio band and Andersen’s production provide Shay with terrific backing on this superb recording.” -Ron Weinstock, Jazz & Blues Report

“Oh woman is this a great album! Shay has a great voice and she’s surrounded herself with some amazing musicians including Jim Pugh on keys, Kid Anderson on strings, Sax Gordon on what else, saxophones, Kedar Roy on bass, and even Igor Prado joining in as a guest on one song. But even with that line up, it’s Shay’s voice that is the undisputed star of this swinging blues album.” -John Porter, “Time for The Blues” WCVE

“The album exudes passion and will surely be…the one that will catapult her to a much wider audience.” -Martín Sassone, Bluscavidas (Translated review; Argentina)

“A great album with ten titles flawless, whether in the removed pieces, very rhythmic, as in the extremely well controlled soul ballads. A delightful discovery.” – Marcel Bénédit, ABS Magazine (Translated Review; France)

“Just listened to the whole album. My hair follicles are still tingling…Exciting and superb stuff, to say the very least.” -Don T-Bone Erickson KFMG 98.9 FM

“A Woman Rules The World” is #15 on the Living Blues Radio Charts for August 2018, and #39 on this week’s Roots Music Report


whitneyshay.com
*New Album “A Woman Rules The World” is out now!*
Get your tickets now: Belly Up CD Release and Birthday Show 9.16.18

Copyright © 2018 Little Village Foundation, All rights reserved.
We are friends.Our mailing address is:

Little Village Foundation

606 Alamo Pintado Road

SolvangCA 93463

Add us to your address book

By Jason Hall

The desert has a long and storied music history. The Coachella Valley was a winter wonderland in the 50s and 60s for the Hollywood elite. These part time residents included an assortment of amazing entertainers and musicians. We were known for being a destination for musicians, but not necessarily producing amazing musicians. Fast forward a few decades to the early 80s. There were a group of rebellious and young teenagers who were finding their voice through the up and coming punk scene spreading like wildfire through the country.

Sean Wheeler was at the forefront of this group of mischievous teenagers. Wheeler is a descendant of the McKinney family. They were some of the first non-native settlers in the valley. Wheeler’s great grandfather was an integral part in tapping into the rich aquifer running underneath our valley. Wheeler’s grandmother was the first-born Caucasian in Palm Springs. She was born in a tent on the corner of Ramon and Indian Canyon. It seems it is in Wheeler’s blood to be a pioneer as well. Maybe not in the same way his great grandfather did, but in a more in your face, “I don’t give a fuck” sort of way.

Wheeler started and fronted many of the now infamous bands in the early to mid-80s including the often rude and immature Mutual Hatred, the 2nd wave ska band The Sciotics, and the eternally crazy acid trip Zezo Zece Zadfrack and the Dune Buggy Attack Battalion. The latter took its name from an idea Charles Manson had while holed up in the Mojave Desert with his followers. These early days started with parties in Wheeler’s childhood home on San Lorenzo. The parties got wilder and wilder and Wheeler’s notoriety grew.

Towards the end of the 80s, a new musical movement was starting. A band called Katzenjammer was laying the groundwork for the style of music which put the desert scene on the map. Katzenjammer became Sons Of Kyuss and then shortened to Kyuss. Kyuss were the band who coined the term “stoner rock” and now the broader “desert rock.” Sean was never part of this scene although he was an integral part of turning it into what it has become. Nick Oliveri and Brant Bjork were influenced by Wheeler. Generator party originator, Mario “Boomer” Lalli, grew up with Wheeler. So did Alfredo Hernandez. These two were cornerstones in the stoner rock scene even though they were older than the Kyuss kids. Wheeler decided to keep forging his own and separate path.

In the early 90s, Wheeler started his most successful band to date, Throw Rag. Early Throw Rag shows were on par with the craziness of Butthole Surfers shows. Wheeler was never much of a singer; he was most definitely a performer though. He always ended up nude and the audience never knew what to expect. Would the show end after a few songs? Maybe it would end before it ever really began like a certain early SXSW show. Throw Rag was being noticed by several international touring bands and found themselves traveling the world. Wheeler successfully “made it” without being a part of the “stoner rock” scene. He did it like he lived his life, on his own terms.

Now, roughly 25 years later, Wheeler has his fingers in so many pies. He toured with Zander Schloss of Circle Jerks for 8 years. He has released Sun Trash (Wheeler and Troy Van Leeuwen, with many guests including most of Queens of The Stone Age) onto the world after 12 years of sitting on a shelf. He recorded and toured with Fatso Jeston. He was invited to tour with Brant Bjork as a guest vocalist and has become a more integral part of Bjork’s band, even writing and singing on the new album. He’s sung and toured with reggae band David Hilyard’s Rocksteady 7. He’s recorded a solo blues album, Sand In My Blood. He’s currently writing an autobiography. He’s also writing his second solo album. There are plans for Sun Trash and Sand In My Blood to come out on vinyl. And lastly, his live show schedule is about to take off… again. All of this while still finding time for the Throw Rag shows and spending time with his family in his Palm Springs home. Sean Wheeler is a true desert legend, a wizard from this sandy realm.

Coachella Valley Weekly: When did your music career start?

Sean Wheeler: “This punk band, Sin 34, was coming to town. I started a band so that we could open for them. We got together and wrote some songs and did some covers. Mike Bates played guitar, Julie, the singer of Sin 34 played bass, and John Summers played drums. The band was called Mutual Hatred. We quickly changed lineups. Greg Hawthorn played guitar because he played a couple chords. Eric Stewart was a punk rocker who was a little bit younger than me. He played bass. Alfredo (Hernandez) played drums. That was his first band. When we met him, he came from Nelly Kaufman. We were from Raymond Cree. It was 10th grade. He played snare in the marching band or something. That made us decide he was the drummer. Mutual Hatred was a band of 14 and 15 year olds. We played parties at my mom’s house, then all over. We got a show with pre Henry Black Flag, but lost the directions to the party and never found it. We played with Suicidal Tendencies before they even had an album. This compilation called Power wanted us to put a song called “Green Peace Sucks” on it but we broke up right then. It sucked. That didn’t pan out.”

CVW: Do those songs still exist?

Wheeler: “Yeah they do. Have you heard them?”

CVW: No. We’ve talked about them…

Wheeler: “The songs were inappropriate. The hit was ‘Green Peace Sucks.’ All the songs were really quick. We thought bumming people out was punk. I guess it kinda was the idea though. After we broke up, I was trying to make a band with Boomer (Mario Lalli). Herb (Lienau) got him though. That was Dead Issue. Herb, Scott Reader, Boomer and Alfredo Hernandez. That was an awesome band. The Sciotics were the next bigger band I was in. It was the tail end of the second wave of ska. We weren’t very good, but we were excited about dressing up. Zack Husky played guitar, and we had different drummers. It was hard finding drummers in the desert. There was Alfredo and Tony Brown of Unsound.”

CVW: When did Zezo come into play?

Wheeler: “I think in the mid to late 80s. We were ahead of ourselves. We had a TR-707 drum machine when they first came out. We were doing stuff with samples and drum machines with rock ’n roll. That was pre Ministry. You know, Nick (Oliveri) and Brant (Bjork) were at a Zezo show when they were kids. They were there to see D.I. It was a good night for us. They told me it was totally life changing for those guys. Every time I’d see them, they’d bring up that show. It was a trip in that band. It was me, Joe Dillon, Scotty Brooks, and Dan Lapim. There were some other random guys, it just didn’t work out.”

CVW: Throw Rag was a national and sometimes international band you fronted. When did that start?

Wheeler: “It was a weird time for me in the desert. I was way into going to LA and seeing bands. I’d go see Guns ’N’ Roses at the troubadour in LA. I was into that sort of music. SST Records kinda fell into this sort of jazz thing. It seemed like punk rock was disappearing.”

CVW: Was that why SST picked up Sorta Quartet?

Wheeler: “Yeah. I was having a hard time in my life and moved to Orange County. That was when I put together Throw Rag. Our first show was at Rhythm And Brews. Our second show was there too. Boomer was so rad. Pulp Fiction just came out and he let us open for Dick Dale. He was a big deal then. Throw Rag is still going. The first two years, I wasn’t sober. There was a lot of craziness and nudity. I messed up a lot of opportunities. Sublime’s manager loved us, but I didn’t believe he was really their manager, so I ignored him. When Brad died, I saw that dude on MTV talking about Sublime and realized I messed up.”

CVW: You guys still became successful even after all the bullshit.

Wheeler: “Well, I mean, I was sober after two years with Throw Rag. That’s when all the opportunities came. We toured with Flogging Molly, Stiff Little Fingers, The Circle Jerks, The Damned, Queens Of The Stoned Age, Reverend Horton Heat multiple times, Southern Culture on The Skids, and Andre W.K. It’s funny. I wasn’t connected to the stoner rock scene at all, but I’ve been fly the flag for the desert forever. These dudes were all about the desert. I toured with Rancid selling merch and one day on the bus, they asked, ‘Hey man, you know those Kyuss guys?’ I told them, ‘yeah, I know those Kyuss guys.’ They told me how popular they were. I was like, ‘What?! Bullshit man.’ They told me that Kyuss was really popular in Europe. I never realized that. It blew my mind. That helped me with getting European tours. Just the connection to the desert.”

CVW: Man. I could talk to you for days about the past. What’s going on now?

Wheeler: “Sean and Zander stopped touring and I was at a loss. I was concerned about what I was going to do. Almost immediately, Boomer took me to these Robby Krieger (The Doors) sessions which still haven’t come out. Then The Mutants project happened. These three guys from England were recording an album up at Rancho De La Luna. It was this guy Chris (Constantinou of Adam and The Ants), this guy Space, and Rat Scabies from The Damned. Dave Catching, and Bingo Richie, and Chris Goss were on it. They called me up and I sang on that album. Then Mark Lanegan called me and asked me to throw a band together to tour with him. I got this friend Billy Pitman who plays guitar with Jimmy Vaughn to come out with me. It was well received. Then Brant called me. He wanted me to come and support him on a European tour. It ended up that the money was all tied up. He then asked if I would just sing with him…. Actually, knowing me, I probably suggested it. So two years ago, I stopped playing with Zander and didn’t know what to do. Then I do and album with Robby Krieger, play in a band with one of my idols, Rat Scabies, tour with Mark Lanegan, and joined Brants Band. All that happened in 5 months. Now I’ve been touring with Brant for two years, and even wrote a couple songs on his new album, Mankind Woman which comes out September 14. I also made a solo record with Billy Pitman called Sand In My Blood. Those songs are the songs I’m playing with The Reluctant Messenger. That’s Danny McGough of Tom Waits and Dave Davies on keyboards, Billy Pitman, and Gregory Boaz of Tex & The Horseheads on bass. We’re playin on Thursday, September 6, at Pappy and Harriet’s. Plus, I just got off of 8 weeks of touring supporting an album I recorded with Dave Hilyard’s Rocksteady 7. That album was number 6 on the Billboard reggae charts. That was pretty rad.”

CVW: I saw you on that tour in San Diego and thought, ‘is there a genre Sean can’t sing on?’

Wheeler: “Two years ago if you were to tell me, ‘you’re going to sing with a stoner rock band, make a blues album, and sing on a reggae album,’ I would have said, ‘Are you kidding me man? Get the fuck outta here.’ Never would I have thought I’d be doing any of those things. I was never really a singer. I was a frontman. I have been working on my singing. I’ve finally been finding my voice over the past 8 to 10 years. It feels good.”

CVW: Yeah man. Your singing has gotten really good. You were always a performer more than a singer. And you’re a hell of a frontman. There’s a reason you were voted best frontman at this year’s CVMAs.

Wheeler: “I’m shocked that I won that. It was such an honor. There are a ton of local frontmen who are working hard every day. And they’re playing local shows. I play a lot of shows every year, but not nearly enough in the low desert. I’d like to play more, but it’s difficult with my tour schedule. I mean, I am 100% desert, but I didn’t expect to win. I was so stoked. I can’t thank our community enough. I love the desert. For me, it’s always about the desert.”

CVW: I think you are recognized in our scene as a pioneer, and a lot of people know who you are. Most people I know take the time to see you when you play locally because you have a reputation as being a true frontman.

Wheeler was also given the “Pioneer Award” at the 2015 CV Music Awards.

Sean Wheeler will be performing with The Reluctant Messengers Thursday, September 6, at Pappy and Harriet’s.

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SLIM’S
c/s
BAILE!! BAILE!!!  

Viernes! Viernes!
         Soul Show


MAYHEM

ORALE!

ELVIN BISHOP

THE SONS
The Soul Revivers

Featuring:  The Sad Man Himself

                         Wee Willie Walker

SLIM’S
c/s
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You are invited to attend:

Little Village Presents: The Sons of The Soul Revivers and Whitney Shay

Saturday, September 8, 2018 from 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM

Join the Little Village Foundation for an evening of music, food and fun. Jim Pugh will be presenting two Little Village Foundation artists: The Sons of The Soul Revivers and San Diego’s own, Whitney Shay. This event is being hosted at the home of Paul Eichen and Susan Flieder, located at 4512 Monaco St, San Diego, CA (front door on Cordova St.)  Tacos and beverages will be provided.  Please RSVP by registering as space is limited for this intimate event.  We look forward to seeing you there! See the people Hear the music Feel the community Can’t make the event, but want to support Little Village? We’d love it if signed up for our newsletter or considered making a donation here: www.littlevillagefoundation.com/donate

The Home of Paul Eichen and Susan Flieder

4512 Monaco Street

San DiegoCA 92107

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Issue #256
Vol. 49, #4

AKI KUMAR

Hindi Man Blues

Little Village Foundation – LVF 1017

In 2016, Aki Kumar turned heads with Aki

Goes to Bollywood, an unprecedented

project that fused blues with Bollywood- style

Indian pop—two genres not known for

breaking with tradition. The unlikely union led

Jason Ricci to lovingly pronounce it a “marketing

nightmare” in the album’s liner notes, but

it went on to establish the Mumbai native as

one of the most innovative voices of the next

generation of blues harmonica players. With

Hindi Man Blues, Kumar doubles down on

his idiosyncratic enterprise with a fresh set of

material drawn from the same dual wells.
Of course, Kumar is not the first harp

player to successfully meld the blues with

genres that might at first seem like strange

bedfellows. Charlie Musselwhite’s foray

into Cuban blues with 1999’s Continental

Drifter, Corky Siegel’s classical chamber blues

and Wade Schuman’s work with the eclectic

troupe Hazmat Modine all come to mind. But

Kumar stands out in ways that challenge the

standards reviewers typically rely on when

assessing a new harp record. Indeed, describing

this breathtaking release as “unique” or

“innovative,” while accurate, fails to capture

the scope of Kumar’s vision.
Collaborating with Kumar to realize that

vision are several veterans of the West Coast

blues scene, including Marty Dodson, Jim Pugh,

Bob Welsh, June Core and Kid Andersen, who

co-produced the sessions. The album opens

with the spirited Dum Maaro Dum, the hit title

song from the 1971 Indian film Hare Rama Hare

Krishna. Kumar complements its Bollywood meets-

1960s British spy films vibe with a bluesy

third position harmonica solo.
Several other tracks, such as Ajeeb

Daastaan Hai Yeh and Sajan Re Jhoot Mat

Bolo, are also inspired by Indian television

programs. The instrumental Watermelon Man

gets a bluesy, ska-inflected treatment here, and

the addition of Andersen’s electric sitar offers

a compelling contrast to Herbie Hancock’s

original composition. Kumar even takes number

45 to task in All Bark No Bite, an unflinching

contemporary protest blues in the Delta style.
Various iterations of the blues idiom

are deeply embedded throughout the album,

including the more Bollywood-centric tracks.

Even those who prefer their blues in three

chords and 12 bars will find much to love

with Hindi Man Blues.

—Roger Gatchet

 

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Issue #256
Vol. 49, #4

MARCEL SMITH

Everybody Needs Love

Little Village Foundation – LVF 1019

Sacramento singer and multi-instrumentalist

Marcel Smith was still in his 20s when he

first recorded back in 1993 for the hometown

Have Mercy imprint as a member of a

group called the Soul Prophets. With Smith’s

soul-searing vocals and Robert Nakajima’s

fire-spitting guitar, that set, Coming From the

Old School, ranks as a serious contender for

the Best Album That Nobody Heard award,

but apart from recording the 1994 Have

Mercy CD Old Time Religion as a member

of Sacramento’s W.D. Gospel Singers, Smith

has apparently not returned to the recording

studio until this effort a quarter-century later.

Now, courtesy of keyboardist Jim Pugh’s

Little Village Foundation, we finally have

Smith’s first recording under his own name,

and it’s a good ’un. Produced by Pugh, Kid

Andersen and Rick Estrin, the result is a wellcrafted

album in the manner of the label’s

previous efforts with Wee Willie Walker

and John Blues Boyd. As Estrin aptly notes,

Smith sings like “a fully mature cross between

Sam Cooke and Wilson Pickett,” while as a

guitarist he sometimes recalls Robert Ward’s

Magnatone tremolo. The 12-track playlist

contains no original material, opting instead

for an eclectic and unusual choice of covers

that mixes gospel with soul and pop. Thus,

we get the gospel chestnuts What a Friend

We Have in Jesus and This Little Light of

Mine along with selections of sacred fare from

the Soul Stirrers and the Five Blind Boys of

Mississippi, the title track from the Temptations

by way of Gladys Knight and three lesserknown

selections from the Cooke songbook in

Keep Movin’ On (with an assist from labelmate

Walker), Hold Me and That’s Heaven to

Me. Bobby Womack’s Harry Hippie and the

Hollies’ He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother are the

most unorthodox selections, and the program

concludes with a beautifully controlled reading

of Nat King Cole’s Looking Back, a song also

favored by Otis Rush.

It’s been a long wait to hear Marcel

Smith get a chance to fulfill the promise of

those first recordings for Have Mercy 25 years

ago, but we can rejoice that the follow up

is here at last and that it shows Smith to be

at or near the forefront of contemporary singers.

Hopefully, we won’t have to wait so long

to hear him again.

—Jim DeKoster

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BILLBOARD Magazine
Monday August 20th

Students Releasing ‘Raise Your Voice’ Album Before Midterm Elections

After a group of students from Parkland, Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School crisscrossed the nation this summer on their “Road to Change” tour, they will now lift their voices before the November midterm elections on an inspiring collection of songs titled Raise Your Voice: The Sound of Student Protest.

The 11-track album, due Oct. 5 through the nonprofit Little Village Foundation, features new songs and spoken-word pieces composed and performed by the students of the high school that was the site of a deadly mass shooting in February that left 17 students and teachers dead.

Proceeds from the album recorded in response to that shooting and other deadly assaults at schools across the nation will be donated to the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety organization. On the day of the album’s release, the students will perform live at San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival on Oct. 5. Among the songs included in the collection is “Shine,” the soaring, inspirational track written and performed by students Sawyer Garrity and Andrea Peña and others at a CNN town hall in February, just weeks after the shooting.

“The courage of these students is amazing. Everyone participating on the album is incredibly talented and their hearts are filled with love for their fellow students,” said Little Village Foundation founder Jim Pugh in s statement announcing the release. “Raise Your Voice is a cross-section of America. It includes young artists standing up from Morro Bay in California to a music class in New York City, but it’s very focused in its sense of purpose. Raise Your Voice features a wide range of students who want to share their music at such a critical moment in our country. Raise Your Voice gives them an opportunity to have their voices out there, and to encourage other students to rise up. These students just want to keep our schools safe, and we feel this music will have the potential to strike at what’s going on in America.”

You can find some provided descriptions of select tracks below.

Raise Your Voice track list:

“Shine” (Sawyer Garrity and Andrea Peña)
“Raise Your Voice” (Madison Yearsley)
“Save Me” (Tyler Jenkins)
“A Poem for the Fallen” (Saida Dahir)
“Renegades” (Amalia Fleming)
“The Truth: We Need Change” (John W. Lavelle Preparatory Charter School, AP Music Class)
“17” (Ben Soto)
“The Separation” (Ashlyn Flamer and Christopher Doleman)
“Little Princess” (Tyler Suarez)
“Freedom” (Nina Lee)
“We Can” (St. Paul High School for Recording Arts)

Raise Your Voice would not be possible without the support of the like minded people that believe music is a great vehicle for change. As we come into the fall, now more than ever, we need your help in making this happen. Support Raise Your Voice by giving to Little Village Foundation NOW.
DONATE

 

 

The courage and moral clarity shown by the student survivors of the recent mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida struck an immediate emotional chord with the American public, bringing home the reality of gun violence. The situation is powerfully addressed in audio form in Raise Your Voice, a timely collection of musical and spoken-word pieces written and recorded by students from Parkland and other parts of the country in response to Parkland and other school shootings.Slated for a timely release by the non-profit Little Village Foundation on October 7, 2018—one month prior to the all-important midterm elections—Raise Your Voice collects a cross-section of impassioned new pieces written and performed by students from across the United States. The material includes the widely heard original composition “Shine,” performed by Marjory Stoneman Douglas students Emma Gonzalez and Sawyer Garrity, who wrote the song with other members of their drama class. Other tracks for Raise Your Voice were recorded by Little Village Foundation founder Jim Pugh in various locations across the United States.

Pugh was initially inspired to assemble Raise Your Voice after being contacted by Bowling Green State University ethnomusicologist Katherine Meizel. Meizel had helped to assemble an NPR story documenting students’ musical responses in the wake of the Parkland shooting. (https://www.npr.org/sections/therecord/2018/03/15/593866152/music-and-protest-hand-in-hand-songs-of-the-student-walkouts)

Similar to Little Village Foundation’s entire catalogue of releases that give all money raised through CD sales directly to the recording artists, Raise Your Voice’s proceeds will be donated to a singular non-profit organization: Everytown (https://everytown.org). Everytown supports a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities.

As Pugh notes, “The courage of these students is amazing. Everyone participating on the album is incredibly talented and their hearts are filled with love for their fellow students. Raise Your Voice is a cross-section of America. It’s girls standing up in Morro Bay, California to a hip-hop class in New York City, but it’s very focused in its sense of purpose. Raise Your Voice features a wide range of students who want to share their music at such a critical moment in our country. Raise Your Voice gives them an opportunity to have their voices out there, and to encourage other students to rise up. These students just want to keep our schools safe, and we feel this music will have the potential to strike at what’s going on in America.”

Selected performers appearing on Raise Your Voice will perform on October 5 at San Francisco’s renowned Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival. (http://www.hardlystrictlybluegrass.com/2018).

Hear Madison Yearsley Sing The Title Track, “Raise Your Voice”.

https://soundcloud.com/little-village-foundation/raise-your-voice/s-qWPp1

Raise Your Voice would not be possible without the support of the like minded people that believe music is a great vehicle for change. As we come into the fall, now more than ever, we need your help in making this happen. Support Raise Your Voice by giving to Little Village Foundation NOW.
Donate
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SolvangCA 93463

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Little Village Foundation via gmail.mcsv.net 

À moi

 

 

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Jim Pugh has built a small musical empire by reversing the music industry’s foundational rules. Rather than extracting value from recordings by hoarding rights to the music, Pugh’s nonprofit Little Village Foundation label serves as a musical freeway, with artists retaining their intellectual property and proceeds from CD sales.

In just two years, Little Village has released an extraordinary roster of projects documenting overlooked artists in blues, gospel, folk, mariachi and country music. An Aug. 1 celebration at Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage marks the arrival of seven new albums, including the latest incarnation of Indian-born South Bay blues harmonica player Aki Kumar’s improbably effective synthesis of Bollywood and Southside Chicago, “Hindi Man Blues.”

Moscow-born, Los Angeles-based violinist Ada Pasternak plays music from her debut release “Sweet Dreams,” a tribute to her parents, who escaped Soviet persecution by moving to the United States. Powerhouse El Cerrito blues singer Marina Crouse also celebrates the release of her excellent debut album, “Never Too Soon,” which exemplifies the potent alliance between Little Village and Kid Andersen’s Greaseland Studios in San Jose.

Aki Kumar delivers a fun mashup with the original Badan Pe Sitaare movie clip.

Badan Pe Sitaare

Making his recording debut in a secular context after decades as a force in gospel music, vocalist Marcel Smith delivers a soul-steeped program on another excellent Greaseland production, “Everybody Needs Love.” The Central Valley’s Mariachi Mestizo presents four songs from last year’s triumphant Carnegie Hall performance and celebrates the release of the milestone-marking album “XX Aniversario.” And rising blues vocalist Whitney Shay, a two-time San Diego Music Award winner for best blues artist, delivers original songs from “A Woman Rules the World.”

Rounding out the lineup is United by Music North America (UBMNA), a Dutch concept brought to the U.S. by the late blues singer Candye Kane that pairs professional musicians with musically talented people with developmental challenges. In Jim Pugh’s Little Village, everyone’s welcome.

Details:8 p.m.; Freight & Salvage, Berkeley; $20-$24; 510-644-2020, www.thefreight.org.

– Andrew Gilbert

 

Little Village Foundation

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PREMiERING

                       
          6 Singers                            
and
                                     a Mariachi
AND
Purchase Tickets
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Catch Marcel Smith et al
Freight and Salvage  (Berkeley)
Wednesday, August 1 @8:00

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Little Village Foundation via mail243.sea81.mcsv.net 

17:25 (Il y a 21 minutes)

À moi

 

 

Marina Crouse is an exceptional singer. Her album Never Too Soon is an eclectic mix of soul and blues. It is a mix of English and Spanish. It is American music…California style and it is simply a great album.

I suppose the album’s second tune, coming right after a great reading of Bobby Bland’sTouch of the Blues defines Crouse, this album and the Little Village Foundation. That song is an updated version of War’s Cisco Kid…sung in Spanish.

Let’s step back a second and acknowledge a cruel fact of life. If War, this great Southern California based band, came out in this day and age, they wouldn’t even have a record contract. They, like much of their home state, were and still are multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and even multi-national. Like Marina Crouse they were simply great musicians. Back in the day, great music would often win out and find an audience and a large audience at that mind you.

Now, it isn’t even given a chance. That is until Jim Pugh’s Little Village Foundation steps in and produces musicians who wouldn’t be given an opportunity otherwise.

Crouse moves from that slice of urban funk mentioned earlier into a mid-60s Little Milton tune More and More, before visiting a Syl Johnson tune Any Way the Wind Blows. Both tunes are sung with verve, passion and care.

Then Crouse sings a bolero, Sabor A Mi. Before the program is all over Crouse visits New Orleans and an Annie Laurie’s rhythm & blues number, It’s Been a Long Time and closes everything out with a Dan Penn/Spooner Oldham composition In the Same Old Way. Somewhere in the mix is even a Bob Dylan tune sung in Spanish and it all works and works in a big way.

The entire album was recorded at Kid Andersen’s Greaseland Studios (where else) in San Jose, California. It was Andersen who, along with Jim Pugh, produced Never Too Soon. Andersen plays guitar on all the tracks and Pugh does the same on piano and organ. Drummer Derrick “D’Mar” Martin and bassist Randy Bermudez round out the core band who performs on this CD. The entire ensemble lends sympathetic support and never gets in the way of or distracts from the supple vocals of Crouse.

What makes Never Too Soon is the voice and delivery of Marina Crouse. She wields a naturalistic instrument which is imbibed with warmth. It has an unaffected expressiveness that is simply refreshing. Her singing carries with it none of the vocal histrionics and clichés that mar so many female vocalists in this field. They, unlike Crouse, have never taken the time to learn the elusive and subtle dialect of the blues. She performs in two languages, yet seamlessly blends both to deliverer missives in the international language of music.

In talking to Jim Pugh, the founder of the Little Village Foundation, some time back he explained that one of the principal missions of the organization is to create cultural empathy through music. Marina Crouse does that all on her own and all on one album. That is quite an accomplishment.

Never Too Soon places Marina Crouse as an early front runner for the 2018 BLUES JUNCTION Productions’ Etta James Award for Best Female vocalist and this CD is, of course, a contender for Album of the Year.

– David Mac

 

 

MAURICE AT THE FREIGHT!!

Maurice Tani plays Berkeley Freight and Salvage

The Bay Area music scene doesn’t have an official poet laureate, but if someone gets around to creating the position, there’s no better candidate than Maurice Tani.

Over the past dozen years, the Berkeley singer/songwriter has quietly built a gripping body of work marked by wry humor, gimlet-eyed emotional insight and battered romanticism. Phrasing with the temporal calibration of a jazz singer, he’s the rare Americana artist whose music is alive to the nation’s full messy mosaic.

In the wake of releasing his eighth album, “The Lovers Card” (Little Village Foundation), the guitarist returns to Freight & Salvage Friday with a stripped-down acoustic band featuring longtime partner Mike Anderson on bass, Houston Jones pianist Henry Salvia, drummer Kenny “KO” Owen and several special guests.

Focusing on originals and vintage country music hits, Tani said he “normally starts out acoustic and morphs into a more electric sound in the second set. But this time, I’m getting back to some of my country roots in the second half with some Jim Reeves and George Jones.”

Produced by keyboardist and Little Village founder Jim Pugh and guitarist/engineer Kid Andersen at Andersen’s Greaseland Studios in San Jose, “The Lovers Card” showcases Tani’s rockin’ and rollickin’ side, which is hardly surprising, considering the veteran blues musicians at the helm.

But Tani is a mansion with many rooms. One of his most plushly appointed chambers has a big Nashville star on the door, which is why he’s a staple at events like the alt-country band Crying Time’s George Jones celebrations and Margaret Belton’s popular Patsy Cline tribute (which returns to Freight & Salvage on July 15).

Like many of Tani’s colleagues, Belton, a savvy singer with pipes to spare, admires his ability to interpret a song “with a perfect dose of quirk, humor, heart and soul.” But as a connoisseur of finely wrought lyrics, she’s come to treasure his work as a songwriter and his “incredible way of setting a scene through his music.” His songs might evoke “a mysterious pulp fiction novel, a dimly lit smoky lounge or something from the Beverly Hillbillies.”

Part of what makes Tani such an engaging artist is his insistent musical curiosity. He’s played an essential role in Pugh’s Little Village label, which has emerged over the past two years as an invaluable conduit for overlooked California artists, including Central Valley mariachi bands, blues acts, gospel ensembles and harmonica ace Aki Kumar, who’s earned national attention with his singular blend of Bollywood themes and the blues.

As an aide-de-camp for Pugh, Tani is deeply involved with the label, which celebrates seven new albums with a Freight showcase on Aug. 1. The steady contact with such a diverse array of performs has started “spilling over to my work in new unexpected ways,” he said. “I’m kind of a sponge. I think I’m still growing, getting better working in this environment with all these different ingredients.”

A case study is his connection with the Sons of the Soul Revivers, a powerhouse family gospel group from Vallejo that released “Live! At Rancho Nicasio” on Little Village last June. After Tani played a January showcase for Little Village artists at the Freight, the Sons “were citing my lyrics back to me, lines that they liked,” he said.

The group’s founding brother Walter Morgan Jr. said, “You ought to write us a song,” Tani recalled. “Gospel is way out of my wheelhouse, but I wrote a song for them in the spring, and they really liked it. They’re going to do it with me at the Freight. It might be the last time I get to sing it, because I have a feeling after hearing them perform it, they’re going to own it.”

Given his history, Tani isn’t the most likely suspect to emerge as one of the Bay Area’s leading songwriters. He made a name for himself in the mid-1980s with the ZaSu Pitts Memorial Orchestra, a popular band that played Motown and 1960s soul and R&B. What started as a lark “took off like wildfire” after a KQED New Year’s special, “and immediately we became highly bookable,” Tani said. “It changed our lives, and the whole thing lasted about 15 years.”

He released his first album under his name with 2005’s “Sirens” (WIR), featuring his band 77 El Deora with vocalist Jenn Courtney . With her voice serving as a muse, Tani found he “ could say things through her that were more vulnerable, that I didn’t feel comfortable singing. Gradually I began performing that same material myself.”

Contact Andrew Gilbert at jazzscribe@aol.com.


MAURICE TANI

When: 8 p.m. June 8

Where: Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley

Tickets: $20-$24; 510-644-2020, www.thefreight.org

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Gospel Quartet To Perform In Los Olivos

An award-winning gospel quartet will bring its joyous harmonies and infectious energy to the Santa Ynez Valley when the Sons of the Soul Revivers perform Saturday evening, June 16, in Los Olivos.

“The Sons” were named Best Gospel Quartet at the BMA Bay Area Gospel Music Awards in April and recently released a critically acclaimed CD, “Live! At Rancho Nicasio.”

“Occasionally a recording appears that is captivating from the first note. That is the case with the new release,” wrote Robert H. Cataliotti when reviewing the album for “Living Blues.”

“The blend of voices that the Morgan brothers achieve is filled with heartfelt exuberance and soulful power,” he added.

The group also was a hit this year at the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland.

“Incredible. I couldn’t stop moving and neither could the audience. SSRs had everyone on their feet, moving, their entire set. They took us to church and then some,” said the festival’s assistant artistic director, Erika Olsen.

“All three Morgans are exemplary vocalists, and … they possess identical inflections and vibrato in their voices. These qualities, as well as a lifetime singing together in church, produce significant ringing chords, where overtones reinforce each other to form a complex, yet natural, harmony,” wrote James Nadal for allaboutjazz.com.

The group was formed in 1970 when three brothers — Walter Jr., James and Dwayne Morgan — decided to carry on the legacy of their father’s group, the Soul Revivers, from the 1960s.

“Live! At Rancho Nicasio” was recorded on the Little Village Foundation label, which was created by blues keyboardist Jim Pugh of Los Olivos, and the 7:30 p.m. concert at St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church will be a benefit for the foundation.

The Little Village Foundation, funded entirely by donations, is dedicated to discovering worthy American musicians and helping them record their music. The foundation provides studio time, production services, and 1,000 CDs to each of its groups, all for free.

St. Mark’s is at 2901 Nojoqui Ave. in Los Olivos. Tickets for the show cost $20 and $10 for students, available at the door.

For more information go to LittleVillageFoundation.com, search Facebook for The Sons of the Soul Revivers, or email jim@littlevillagefoundation.com.

“Don’t Forget The Family Prayer” –  32nd Street Baptist Church – Oakland, California
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Wee Willie Walker

Singing #1 Summer Song
Just email:
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LVF NEWS FOR MAY
Congratulations
to LVF recording artist, Xochitl Morales, on her acceptance to 

Harvard!!!

Save The Date:

COMING UP:August 1st 2018 Little Village Record Release Party At The Freight and Salvage
(No Fools No Fun)
The Sons of The Soul Revivers
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass October 2018
Barry Beckett

I’d been at Kenney’s house the day before.  Back then we had lived near each other out in The Richmond. He knew a secretary at Warner’s that would send him new releases every month. Like clock work. Kinda pissed me off but we would sit and listen to some stuff while we talked and drank coffee. I tried to smile and appreciate his good fortune. He’s a lucky guy.

There was a new Rodney Crowell recording that piqued my curiosity. A piano solo I assumed was Glenn D Hardin but mildly surprised to read that it was Barry Beckett. It was really good but I didn’t think too much about it.

The next day I flew to Detroit to do a gig with Etta James. Playing with her was always an adventure and at the same time nostalgic in it’s way. It was that old time thing where she didn’t tell anybody anything more than what you needed to know.

There was one week where I played with Etta at The Stud on Folsom Street in San Francisco- truly an icon of the slap and tickle South of Market scene- then flew to Nashville and played at a country showcase club, then rode the tour bus to St Louis and played The Coliseum, even back then it was an amazing chitlin circuit return to 1965, back again on the bus to Minneapolis to play for the swells at The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis.

Diversity?

She was the embodiment of diversity. Everybody loved her.

Etta had been trying to get the record company to let me record with her. Typically producers use their own people. I get that but she was insistent. Her first record, “her comeback” record was Seven Year Itch for Island Records. I was shocked one day to open the mail and find an itinerary and a round trip ticket to Compass Point. A phone call to her manager, Lupe DeLeon, what the hell Lupe? Sure enough she’d convinced the powers that be for me to fly with her to the Bahamas and record with a band comprised of Keith Richards, Aaron Neville and Roger Hawkins. “Just be ready Jim”.

Got it.

Day before I was to leave it all came unraveled and they ended up doing it Nashville with a whole different bunch of folks. A year or so later it’s time for her to make another record for Island. I wasn’t pushing her to do it but she insisted again. This time their response was a solid “No”.

So here we are in Detroit and we get to the sound check at the Silver Dome.  There’s Etta’s producer- Barry Beckett- sitting on stage, seated at the organ. “Would you mind if I played organ with you guys?” He asked me. Sure! We sat together, he at the organ and me at the piano sharing a bench. I was a little nervous because he was one of my idols. Nice guy but kinda gruff or so I thought.

After a while I said, “I really like your solo on that new Rodney Crowell record.” He looked surprised, “Thanks man that’s the first piano solo I’ve ever done on a record.” Right then Etta walks by and says, “Hey Barry would you mind if Jimmy came to Nashville on Monday and recorded with us?”. “Well no I don’t….” Looking at me now considering things, “Jim I play all the keyboards on records I produce but….” He paused considering things,  “what the hell, Ok”.

Monday morning, “Oh that’s right. Look you can play piano but if you make a mistake raise your hand, I ain’t got time to check it. If I find any mistakes I’ll redo the whole damn thing myself”.

Yikes.

The band:

Roger Hawkins  – Drums
Barry Beckett – Hammond B3
Reggie Young- Guitar
Mabon “Teenie” Hodges – Guitar
Michael Rhodes – Bass
Me- Piano
Etta James- Vocals

Yikes again.

10:00 am to 1:00 then 2:00pm to 5:00 pm we recorded for three days at Digital Studio on Music Row in Nashville.

The first song was a classic Memphis way behind the beat butt drag Otis like ballad that in places required that I play eighth note chords right along with Roger Hawkins. After the first take Barry frowned and looked up at me, “Try to be musical son.”

And he was right and so I did the age old “Think about all the things you want to play and then forget about it and just play” trick with varying degrees of success but slowly I was able to be musical in a situation that was frankly really stressful for me. Stress and playing behind the beat with Roger Hawkins don’t go together to week but it got better as we went along. Not great but better. I really tried to take in as much as I could. It was a defining learning moment in my career.

Barry was a tremendous musician in that he played simple yet unique parts with so much clarity and soul that I think it revised everything in my approach to not just studio keyboard playing but in all aspects of my playing.

After those three days I never say Barry Beckett again and few years later I had heard that he passed. When it comes to in the pocket, simple yet interesting piano and organ playing I’ve never heard anybody better.

He was the best.

SNEAK PEAK!!

See the people
Hear the music
Feel the community

Little Village Foundation exists through the generous support of like minded foundations and individuals.To find out more: http://littlevillagefoundation.com

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At The Freight 1.19.2018

“Diverse Music When Held Together Makes For A Stronger Community And A Better World”

Little Village Foundation Exists through the Generous donations of Like Minded People.

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                      Appearing Near YOU This Summer

 

 

.19.2018 Little Village Concert at  Freight and Salvage 
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LVF at The Freight was a beautiful evening of music and friends.
Here’s a video for your enjoyment filmed by Vicki Wong and edited by Maurice Tani.Thanks Vicki and Maurice!
AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY RUTH E. KAISER
THANKS RUTH E!
AKI KUMAR

Aireene Espiritu

Xochitl and Anai Morales

Trompetista Xochitl Morales

Mike Anderson      Maurice Tani             Christoffer Andersen
James and Dwayne Morgan

Chris Cain

Joshua Howell

Little Village Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit record company with a mission to shine a light on music that might not otherwise be heard and that diverse music builds empathy making for a stronger community and a better world.
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Copyright © 2018 Little Village Foundation, All rights reserved.
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We’re ringing in 2018 with an amazing show.

 

 

Fri Jan 19, 8 pm
Freight & Salvage
Berkeley

 

Come to the show and bring your friends. They’ll love it.
Buy tickets

EVEN BETTER,
BE A PART OF THE LITTLE VILLAGE FOUNDATION MIRACLE!
We encourage you to show your support of these artists by choosing one of these special tax-deductible giving opportunities: *
$100 2 VIP tix (reserved seats) at the Freight show, plus 2 signed CD’s.
LVF VIP $100
$250 2 VIP tix (reserved seats) at the Freight show, 2 signed CD’s, invitation to Backstage Party after show.
LVF VIP $250
$500 4 VIP tix (reserved seats) at the Freight show, 4 signed CD’s, invitation to Backstage Party after show.
LVF VIP $500
$2000 6 VIP tix (reserved seats) at the Freight show, 6 signed CD’s, Backstage Party after show AND concert in your home with a Little Village Artist (date and artist to be negotiated)
LVF VIP $2000
* contributions tax deductible less $18 per ticket.
Can’t come to the show? YOU CAN STILL DONATE TO LVF

About the Artists:

AIREENE ESPIRITU
SOULFUL FOLK SONGSTRESS: Aireene is a ukulele-playing singer/songwriter who weaves Latin/African rhythms, folk, bluegrass pickings and inspirations from gospel music – a mix of stompin’, swayin’, and timeless Americana. On her LVF release, “Back Where I Belong”, what began as a rather wild dream turned out to be a wonderful work of art, with Espiritu applying her strong, emotion dripping alto pipes to seven songs that had been recorded by R&B legend Sugar Pie DeSanto. “Strong emotion-dripping alto pipes”.
Lee Hildebrand, Living Blues Magazine

AKI KUMAR
BOLLYWOOD FILM MUSIC-CHICAGO BLUES MASH-UP: “Mumbai, India, and Chicago, Illinois, are half a world apart geographically. Musically, the lively soundtracks of Mumbai’s Bollywood film industry and the blues of Chicago might even seem planets apart. Somehow, though, Mumbai-bred, San Jose, California–based vocalist and harmonica virtuoso Aki Kumar has combined the two disparate genres in an unforced musical fusion never before attempted and has pulled it off with breathtaking aplomb.”-Lee Hildebrand, Living Blues Magazine

CHRIS CAIN
JAZZ-TINGED BLUES-SOAKED MASTER SINGER-GUITARIST: San Jose, CA-based Memphis style guitarist and singer Chris Cain was born into the blues.His father, a truck driver by trade and blues guitarist himself, took a young Cain to see many greats including B.B. King, Count Basie, and others. When Cain burst onto the blues scene in 1987 with his award-winning debut album, he soon found himself sharing the stage and trading licks with a few of the legends he’dseen as a kid, including Albert King and Albert Collins. Like many Little Village Foundation albums, Cain recorded his self-titled new album at Kid Anderson’s Greaseland Studios in San Jose, CA. The epicenterof the blues and R&B recording scene here in the Bay Area, Greaseland is responsible for the resurgence of San Jose as a true mecca for 21st century blues music. Cain’s new album marks his 12th release and the latest chapter in a storied career led by his powerfully deep vocals and unforgettable guitar work.

HOWELL DEVINE
SEXY SHACK SHAKING SOUTHERN MUSIC: “…a real King Biscuit Time vibe in sound, groove, and attitude. Joshua Howell, the band’s guitarist and harmonica player, plays wicked harp loosely in the Rice Miller tradition, with traces of Jaybird Coleman and Little Walter… emotive, straight blues, with sharp and superb guitar sliding & picking… they are wild, juxtaposing interesting syncopations and jazz beats. Drummer Pete Devine and contrabassist Joe Kyle Jr. are in their own dynamic creative realm, approaching the rhythm in a free, almost avant-garde way—a contrast that gives the ensemble an idiosyncratic edge… apparently, nobody showed the rhythm section the playbook.”~ Frank Mathias, Living Blues

MAURICE TANI
CALIFORNOGRAPHIC SINGER-SONGWRITER: Known for his wry-to-romantic songwriting and self-proclaimed “Supercalifornographic” Americana music, veteran Bay Area artist Maurice Tani churns out memorable musical narratives about life on the left coast. The songs highlight broken hearts, moving away to exotic places to escape romantic demons, and dark stories of fictional characters. His music is California country rock rooted (he says) in the traditional Bakersfield style of music, but the gate has obviously been left open and Tani has been left free to wander a landscape furnished with the sounds of jazz, blues, and narrative folk music. Robert Sproul, in No Depression Magazine, says, “I was actually blown away. Maurice Tani writes songs that sound at once familiar, ethereal and beautiful. …a songwriter’s songwriter with reoccurring themes and his own life experiences, a mournful world critics to date have rushed to categorize as ‘country music.’”

THE SONS OF THE SOUL REVIVERS
HIGH ENERGY GOSPEL QUARTET SINGING: Vallejo-based gospel sensations The Sons Of The Soul Revivers is led by Walter Morgan Jr., and his two brothers Dwayne and James Morgan. Formed in the 1970s to continue the vocal quartet tradition that the brothers’ father, Walter Sr., and his brothers started with the original Soul Revivers in the 1960s. “Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco is one of the world’s best and, most appropriately, this year they kicked off the Festival’s main stage on Sunday morning by taking everyone to church with The Sons of Soul Revivers. They had a tight band, great harmonies and easily the best stage show and most uplifting vibe of the entire festival of over 100 performers. Catch them if you can.” -Mike Kappus Rosebud Agency

XÓCHITL MORALES
PASSIONATE SPOKEN WORD: 17-year-old Central Valley high school student Xochitl Morales is a rising voice amongst the California spoken word scene after her poetry went viral with Buzzfeed’s Pero Like Facebook page spotlighting her piece “Latin-Americans: The Children with a Dark Past.” Xochitl has performed for Governor Jerry Brown, and her works have been recognized by NBC News and Huffington Post. Xochitl is the assistant director and trumpet player of Mariachi Juvenil Mestizo. Her father is ex-Mariachi Los Camperos member Juan Morales who leads Mariachi Mestizo, mixed-gender youth mariachi orchestra that released the critically-acclaimed Te Doy La Libertad on LVF in 2016. On her new LVF release, Descansos, Xóchitl explores her Central Valley life where her Mexican roots blend with and strain against mainstream American culture. Love of family, friends, stories of pesticide poisoning and inequality in the prosperous farming communities merge in her riveting, heart-wrenching poems.

 

ABOUT LITTLE VILLAGE FOUNDATION

Little Village Foundation is a non-profit cultural producer and record label that searches out, discovers, records and produces music that otherwise would not be heard beyond the artist’s family and community. Little Village supports the dreams of artists from non-traditional backgrounds. Many of these artists make music just as a part of telling their community stories. Through some detective work and the help of an extensive network from his extensive performing career, Executive Director Jim Pugh learns of great music happening in communities throughout the country, music that has deep roots in American popular and roots traditions. He then offers to record their music at no expense to the artist at all. Usually this is the very first time the artist has been recorded. Not only is there no expense to the artist, Little Village Foundation owns zero intellectual property for the music and sets up all retail accounts for the sales of CDs in the artists’ names. This happens with generous public donations and grants.
Questions?
Email us at http://littlevillagefoundation.com/contact/

Little Village Foundation is thrilled to welcome HowellDevine and join with them in announcing their NEW RELEASE:


HOWL

“I love country blues and I also love 60s blues/jazz trios (like Jack McDuff) so they could be onto creating a great new sound combining the two approaches. I enjoyed every tune.”
                   -Charlie Musselwhite

INTERVIEW

The Rollicking Thunder
of HowellDevine’s
Pete Devine

BY DEBORAH CROOKS
NOVEMBER 13, 2017

After living and performing in the San Francisco bay Area for a quarter of a century, drummer Pete Devine hit gold when he teamed up with guitarist Josh Howell and bassist Joe Kyle, Jr. to form HowellDevine. The formidable blues trio quickly garnered local and national fans for their raw and rhythmic live sound, releasing a trio of acclaimed CDs, including two with roots label Arhoolie Records. With their fourth album, HOWL, HowellDevine continues to hone and develop its well-considered blues vision, broadening their sound to incorporate electric elements, and signing with Jim Pugh’s Little Village Foundation. I caught up with Devine as the band prepared for their CD release show, November 29, at Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse.

Can you describe how you first started playing together and when you knew you had something?

Pete Devine: I first met Josh howell back in 2011, at a small arts and entertainment space in San Francisco’s Mission District. My friend Sara Powell had a cozy music listening room, and she hired Josh Howell to play an opening set for my jug band, Devine’s Jug Band, one night. I listened to Josh play some really nice blues slide guitar. Then he broke out his harp and truly blew me away. I asked if I could sit in with him on jug, washboard and drums on a couple songs….and magic was made!

We played as a duet for maybe 6 months, and then felt it was time to add an upright bass player. We had tried a couple of different guys who were both great players, but they weren’t quite right. I then contacted my longtime friend, bassist Joe Kyle. Joe had always been my number one want for upright bass players to join me and Josh….but he was very busy playing with other groups.

It took a bit of time before Joe committed himself to being the third member, a very integral member, of HowellDevine. [In part because] I had just 6 months earlier pulled a stint in a drug and alcohol rehab down in LA, and Joe wanted to make sure that I had straightened out and was flying right! And yes indeed that has been the case…I’ve been a clean, killing machine for 6.5 years now.

Tell us a bit about creative process as a band. How do you typically work together sourcing, choosing and writing or co-writing songs?

All three of us openly share our ideas with each other, and we all listen to what another has to say. There is a lot of respect between the three of us. One of us will suggest a song to play, and we will put our own twist onto it, and most likely our own arrangement—different from the original.

Josh has brought many of the songs to the table that we perform now, but Joe and I have also come up with some of the tunes that we cover. Two of my favorite songs on the new HOWL CD were written by Josh: “Sirenic Woman” and “PM Blues.” I do think Josh is an excellent songwriter. I’d like to see him do more of that in the future…. My wife Sandie also suggested at one point that we cover Blind Blake’s “Rope Stretchin Blues,” which we now perform and have recorded for the new CD.

We are definitely not a “cover band” in the sense that we try to recreate songs like they were heard on the original records. Why do that? It’s already been done. When we decide upon a song, we make that song our own, at the same time hopefully giving justice to it. Hopefully creating something that the original performer (if they’re still alive) might actually be happy to hear.

Who would you say are your musical influences? Any notable mentors?

As far as influences for me personally, there are many from different genres and time periods. I love early jazz, and one of the early jazz drummers who has influenced me most [is] the great New Orleans drummer Baby Dodds. Another one of my favs is the early NO drummer Zutty Singleton. And from the swing era, Gene Krupa.

For electric blues, I’d say Frances Clay (who I was lucky enough to meet on several occasions. He once even told me he really dug how I played!). Then there’s drummers Fred Below, Odie Payne, and the lesser known Ted Harvey. All of these cats were more Chicago-style electric blues drummers.

For earlier blues percussionists, both Bull City Red (Blind Boy Fuller’s washboard player) and Robert Burse (percussionist on the later Memphis Jug Band records, and brother to Charlie Burse) come directly to mind.

Throw in some Earl Palmer (the drummer on many Fats Domino & Little Richard records), and maybe even a small dash of Mitch Mitchell…and you’ve got a drummer here with MANY different influences coming from MANY different directions. Do I time travel? Perhaps I do.

Brought Life Back to the Dead,9-3-16 , Howell Devine, Strawberry Music Festival, Tuolmne, CA
HowellDevine at Strawberry Music Festival
How do you think living in the Bay Area has or hasn’t influenced your sound?

Well I don’t know if I be the same type of drummer as I am today if I had lived elsewhere. Living in the SF area for so long definitely, has played a hand in how I sound. In this music-rich part of the country, I have played, or still do play, in Traditional Jazz Bands, Blues Bands, String Bands, Ragtime Bands, Gypsy Jazz Bands, Jug Bands. Anything organic and rootsy. Pretty much everything except for a disco band. Maybe that’s next…lol. Probably not.

HowellDevine is my main act these days, and I’d have to say it’s my favorite band I’ve ever been a part of. I’ve played in some good ones too. To me, HowellDevine is not just blues, but blues with jazzy nerve beats and a rollicking thunder. We’ve been compared to sounding like a freight train at times. I also get to blow the jug and play the washboard….along with my drumset in this band. Sometimes all at the same time!

Joshua Howell and Joe Kyle are both amazing musicians AND people. I credit both of them for helping me to be a better drummer than I may have otherwise been if I had not teamed up with them for this band.

Describe working on your latest recording: How did you select tunes for HOWL? Was this your first time recording at Greaseland?

HOWL is our fourth record, and this was our first time recording down at Kid Andersen’s Greaseland Studios in San Jose. Working with Kid and his side kick Robby Yamiliv was truly a special thing. There is some sort of magic —or mojo if you will-—that happens just being in that space. Kid is an amazing engineer, as well as musician. He joins us on two songs on the new record on the B3 Organ, and that’s a sound that we really dig!

The tunes we decided to record for this record are basically songs that we have been playing lately as part of our repertoire.

You recently signed with Jim Pugh’s new label, Little Village Foundation. How did that develop, why the switch from Arhoolie?

We sort of stretched the boundaries of what one may have heard on our last couple of Arhoolie recordings. Like I had mentioned, we have thrown a B3 Organ into the mix on a couple of tunes. Joe also puts down his upright and picks up the electric bass for several songs, which gives the band more of groovy, funky electric sound on a couple tunes…dance grooves you might hear on a early 60’s R&B jukebox. These new aspects of what we are about might not necessarily fall into what we all consider to be the “Arhoolie sound”.

Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie was a very good thing that happened to us. It’s wonderful to have a couple records that are now part of the Smithsonian/ Folkways/ Arhoolie catalogue. They will be there forever…and I DO mean forever. It is an honor to have worked with Chris, Tom Diamont, and the rest of the Arhoolies. They are legendary

Jim Pugh, who is an amazing pianist and organ player (Robert Cray Band, Etta James), started this new nonprofit label called Little Village Foundation. He’s doing really good things, getting some great music out there to folks so otherwise might not get a chance to hear it. Musicians like singer/harmonica player Aki Kumar—who has an amazing band that mashes Bollywood music and blues together, or local songwriter Maurice Tani, are just a couple of the artists he has on his label.

I thought HowellDevine’s music might be a good fit for Little Village, so I approached Jim about having us on his label. He really dug our band and this new record of ours…..so here we are. We are very excited about our new record, and also being a part of the LVF family!

What can listeners expect at the Freight & Salvage on November 29? Any other notable appearances or tours planned for 2018?

I think our upcoming Nov. 29th Freight and Salvage show is going to be a very exciting event! Not only will we be playing songs from our new CD, but our friend, 1960’s San Francisco Liquid light pioneer George Holden will be presenting a liquid light/ cinema show on a big screen that he’ll be setting up behind us on the stage at the Freight. Linked up with our music, there will be old video and photos just above our heads, as well as the psychedelic swirling liquid light. A total sound and imagery extravaganza.

Also blues guitarist Pete Madsen and his musical partner, vocalist Celeste Kopel, will be playing a short opening set to kick off the show. They’re really great…and we’re looking forward to hearing them.

Will there be some dancing, too? You betcha!

To answer the second part of this question, well….it’s hard to say what 2018 will bring for HowellDevine. I do know we’ll continue to perform at our favorite haunts around the Bay Area. Hopefully we’ll get a good little buzz about HOWL.

Over the last couple years we have played several major festivals — including Strawberry Music Fest in California and The Rhythm & Roots Festival in Rhode Island. I would love for us to do more stuff like that, and hopefully a bit more traveling.

As long as the three of us keep the music coming and continue to improve as a musical entity, I have a feeling that good things will be coming down the road for us.

 www.HowellDevine.com

Little Village Foundation

See the people
Hear the music
Feel the community

LVF is a certified 501c3 nonprofit that
exists solely through the donations of
like minded people

As 2017 closes out please consider LVF

DONATE
Copyright © 2017 Little Village Foundation, All rights reserved.
We are friends.Our mailing address is:

  3 GREAT Living Blues Magazine Reviews
PAUL DELAY BAND
Live at Notodden ’97
Little Village Foundation — LVF 1016Although the late Paul deLay never quite achieved the name recognition of many of his contemporaries, he always garnered high praise and respect from the pros who knew him.  Nightcats front man Rick Estrin once quipped that deLay should have been a superstar, and in his takes-from-the-road memoir, Big Road Blues, Mark Hummel described him in no uncertain terms: “He was one of my absolute favorite players, singers and songwriters of all time.”DeLay, who was based on the West Coast, recorded rather prolifically from the late 1980s through the early 2000s.  During that time he released a series of critically acclaimed albums for Evidence and his own Criminal Records label and made guest appearances on others’ records—see especially his cuts on the 1999 Kid Ramos gem Greasy Kid Stuff—before his life was cut short following an unexpected end-stage leukemia diagnosis at the age of 55.This live collection is the product of a recently unearthed recording of deLay and his band’s performance at the 1997 Notodden Blues Festival.  Arriving on shelves a decade after his passing, Live at Notodden ’97 captures deLay and his road-tested ensemble at the peak of their creative powers.Those who are unfamiliar with deLay’s blues will notice two things with this disc.  First, his vocals.  Especially on slow ballads like, “I’m Gonna Miss Talking To You,” deLay’s tortured voice channels an emotional intensity that was nearly unparalleled among male blues singers of his generation.  The audio quality of the recording is such that listeners can appreciate the subtleties in tone and phrasing that made him such a captivating live performer.Second, deLay’s idiosyncratic harmonica work is on full display here.  Although familiar names such as Little Walter, Paul Butterfield and Big Walter Horton populate the list of his early influences, deLay was a unique specimen in the blues world: his style was utterly singular.  His endlessly inventive solos, while always firmly grounded in the postwar style of his predecessors, are timeless even today.  Put simply, deLay sounds like deLay and no one else.  The jovial stage presence that was a hallmark of his live shows can be heard here as well.  “Here’s a Muddy Waters tune that I wrote in 1954,” he kids, before kicking off the slow blues, “Come Home Baby (I Wish You Would).”An unexpected gift for enduring fans of deLay’s music, Live at Notodden ’97 also serves as an accessible entry point for newcomers before keeping deeper into his studio catalog.—Roger Gatchet

CHRIS CAIN

Chris Cain
Little Village Foundation  – LVF 1012

On his new album, Chris Cain cooks up a tasty brew, boiling with a few dashes of rock ‘n roll, simmering with bluesy jazz and served up with Cain’s delectable guitar riffs. Adding to the feast are Nancy Wright and Jack Sanford on saxes, Larry Taylor on Bass, Tony Braunagel on drums and Jim Pugh on piano and organ. Cain is the master of plying the just-right lick in the right place; he never wastes a note, even as he squeezes multiple notes into a single phase.

Lost love, mean women, tiresome relationships and had-enough-of-each-other tales dominate this self-titled album. On Tell Tale Signs, a bluesy jazz ballad that features Cain on piano, the singer acknowledges that there’s no way to tell a lover that it’s time to go separate ways, there’s no reason to keep going on and it’s time to say goodbye. The song’s sonic structure – and that of the other blues moan on the album, Sitting Here Wondering- recalls bluesman Fenton Robinson’s Somebody Loan Me A Dime. Kidney Stew, which features Cain on all alto saxes, is the most infectious tune of the album; it’s swing jazz piece whose bright tone and clean guitar riffs on the bridge lift us out of our chairs and straight onto the dance floor. Cain’s searing lead riff launches his version of Albert King’s You’re Gonna Need Me;King would surely be pleased with Cain’s version, for he delivers the leads almost note-for-note while still adding his own commanding interpretation of them.Cain’s powerful vocals on the song blend the pathos and joy in just the right portions. The album kicks off with the blues rocker Tired of The Way You Do; it echoes dome of the phrasing of Baby Please Don’t Go, by Big Joe Williams, and Cain’s crisp lead on the bridge closes with a bit of Dick Dale vibrato.

Cain’s first Album, 1987’s Late Night City Blues, was nominated for four W.C. Handy Blues Awards, including guitarist of year. Chris  Cainshould be nominated for some awards, too, for Cain deserves to be more widely known: this album demonstrates again that Cain clearly inherited the guitar mantle of BB King and Albert King.
– Henry L. Carrigan Jr.

The Sons of The Soul Revivers

Live! At Rancho Nicasio
Little Village Foundation- LVF 103

It does not happen that often, but occasionally a recording appears that is absolutely captivation from the first note. This is the case with the new release Live! At Rancho Nicasio from the Vallejo, California -based gospel group, The Sons Of The Soul Revivers. Steeped in the vocal quartet tradition, the group was formed in 1970 by three brothers, guitarist/singer Walter Morgan Sr., singer James Morgan and singer Dwayne Morgan, to carry on the work of their father’s original Soul Revivers from the 1960’s. The band also includes bassist/vocalist DaQuante Johnson and drummer Oliver Calloway, as well as guest organist Jim Pugh (who also produced the recording and is founder of Little Village.) and second guitarist Thomas Smith.

From the first slashing chords of Walter’s guitar on Come Over Here, the music takes off, and these guys set the house rocking and do not let up until 52 minutes later when the complete their set.

There is some ineffable quality that is conjured when brothers sing together, whether it’s the Nevilles or the Everlys or the Jacksons, and the blend of voices that the Morgan’s achieve is filled with heartfelt exuberance and soulful power.They have put together such a solid program that it’s hard to single out highlights. The classic It’s A Needed Time has a propulsive, captivating energy. The slow-paced Pilgrim and A Stranger draws from a deep well of spiritual energy and boasts an impassioned dialogue between James’ preaching and Dwayne’s soaring falsetto part.

The rapid fire call and response between two brothers on Joy is stunning. Morgan’s stellar guitar anchors the grooves, as exemplified by the fills he plays in tandem with Pugh’s surging organ runs on Give Him His Due. They pull out all the stops on the epic eight-minute-plus closer I’m A New Creature, which boasts some riveting guitar interplay between Morgan and Smith.

In addition to the knockout performances, Lve! Rancho Nicasio is an outstanding recording that boasts a deeply resonant sound and an immediacy that brings home the spirit of The Sons of The Soul Revivers.

-Robebert C. Calaliotti

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Sand In My Blood Blues Blast Review

Desert Legend Sean Wheeler – Sand In My Blood
http://littlevillagefoundation.com/sean-wheeler/
Little Village Foundation
11 songs time-35:36Now for something completely different…On this his first solo release self proclaimed desert legend Sean Wheeler has managed to create something that is at once riveting, stark, gritty and moving. A lifelong resident of California’s Coachella Valley low desert he was previously in the hardcore punk band Mutual Hatred and the punk n’ roll band Throw Rag. He brings his gruff voice and punk sensibilities to this extraordinary CD. The main thrust here is Sean’s voice along with the spy movie-meets-The Adams Family guitar tone of Billy Pittman. Much here is just them alone with the occasional percussion, keyboards or harmonica. His voice set against the atmospheric guitar is a match made in musical heaven. The two original songs along with nine covers from various genres of music blend together to create an experience that is as unique as possible.
Adams Family guitar adds an ominous tone Reverend Gary Davis’ “Death Don’t Have No Mercy”, the only other instrument being bass. Sean’s gruff growl of a voice fits the feel perfectively. A Captain Beefheart song I’m not familiar with, “I’ Glad”, has normal lyrics and is calm, not a typical Beefheart song. Only guitar and bass with a yearning vocal. The original “Hey Cowboy” lopes along with the addition of some basic drumming. The guitar tone is wonderful here as it is throughout the CD. Sean’s rougher than an outhouse corncob on chili night voice fits right in here. Gil Scott-Heron’s funky “Home Is Where The Hatred Is” is backed solely by guitar and finger snaps.
“Wayfaring Man Of Grief” a poem by James Montgomery set to music has a serious, haunting quality to it. Kid Andersen contributes harmonium to “What Are They Doing In Heaven Today”, about as quiet as Sean gets. Blind Willie Johnson’s “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” receives a maniacal and sinister vocal assault. It works just fine thank you very much. A song with the lyric “Tell your heart’s tenants I’m moving in” is alright in my book, that’s what you get in “Now That You Know(Funky Wicked World). Aki Kumar adds his harmonica to the toe-tapping “Men Like Me Can Fly”. Clifton Chenier’s “I’m Coming Home” is a soulful and moody slice of rhythm and blues.Less is definitely more in the case of this recording. A deeply felt voice, guitar, spare percussion, occasional keyboards and harmonica are all this special rough hewn music need. Open your mind and broaden your horizons with this lowdown masterpiece.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.

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Paul Delay Live At Nottoden ’97
Blues Blast Magazine October 16, 2017

by Paul Mitchell

Paul DeLay passed away in 2007 so it is strangely appropriate that this CD, recorded ten years before his death, should see the light of day ten years after his passing. Paul’s band had traveled to Norway in 1997, given a great performance and were flattered to find that they had been recorded and one of their tunes had appeared alongside BB King, Luther Allison and Robert Cray on a commemorative disc of the festival. It was years later that two members of the band thought to inquire whether tapes still existed of the whole performance and the Norwegians responded in the affirmative. So, after all these years we have a new Paul DeLay recording to enjoy.

Paul came from the Pacific Northwest and his high quality band of the time was based in Portland, Oregon. Alongside Paul’s harmonica and vocals we have Louis Pain on B3, Peter Damman on guitar, Dan Fincher on guitar, Mike Klobas on drums and John Mazzocco on bass. Paul wrote all the material here bar one Muddy Waters cover, the members of the band chipping in on a few tunes.

After a short introduction we are straight into the short “Come On With It” which acts as a warm-up for the band. Initial sound quality problems improve on “Wealthy Man” in which Paul declares that he may not be rich but he is doing fine with his girl’s affections while Peter lays down a fine solo. Dan Fincher’s sax is a great asset on all the material here, adding depth to the arrangements and joining Paul in creating what sounds at times like a horn section and his work is impressive on “Nice and Strong” which also features John’s bass to strong effect.

Above all what comes out strongly here is Paul’s personality, not only in his exuberant playing but also in his obvious delight at the reception he is getting and his humorous asides. In a section entitled “Paul Speaks” he introduces the band and then apologizes for his appearance, caused by British Airways’ loss of his luggage (very embarrassing for a Brit reviewer!). The sole cover follows, an extended reading of the slow Muddy Waters blues “Come Home Baby” which features Paul’s mellow harp work. “Rainy Marie” adds some Cajun rhythms and “I Can’t Quit You No” keeps the band rocking. The pace drops for “What Went Wrong”, a soulful ballad about a deteriorating relationship which Paul sings well with Peter and Dan playing well in unison but things get rocking again on the bouncing shuffle “Say What You Mean”.

Paul introduces “I Know What You Mean” in humorous fashion and it provides an interesting tune with John’s bubbling bass and Louis’ organ stabs providing great support for Peter to cut loose on his solo. The song also gives Paul plenty of opportunity to have fun with his vocals, as can be heard by his chuckles at the end. The touching “I’m Gonna Miss Talking To You” is an emotional ballad with lovely playing from the whole band, a song that was clearly written with a broken romance in mind but now takes on a different dimension when you think of Paul’s untimely passing. “Love On A Roll” is a barn-storming finale that has solos for everybody though Paul sounds like he is suffering vocally at the end of the show.

The many fans of Paul DeLay’s playing will be delighted that these tapes were recovered to make a fine memorial to his playing and personality.

Paul Delay Live At Nottoden ’97 is made possible through the hard work of Louis Pain and Pete Dammann. LVF would not have been be able to do this release without the generous support of it’s donors. Please continue giving so that we can continue bringing to light music that might not otherwise be heard.

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Maurice Tani’s The Lovers Card
Reviewed by Scott Bloom

Maurice Tani is a cartographer of the human heart.  His latest release, The Lovers Card (Little Village Foundation), sees Tani following the path to love, heartbreak, and redemption. No details are overlooked by the careful mapmaker, and in Tani’s case, the destination is less relevant than the journey.

Eschewing the traditional powerhouse country sounds of his band, 77 El Deora, The Lovers Card features bluesey accompaniments from members of the Little Village Foundation (LVF), a non-profit collective that nurtures quality songwriting and American roots music.  Don’t be fooled by the cowboy hat on the cover; this is late night music, not shit-kicking honkytonk.  Blues veteran and LVF six-string guru Christoffer “Kid” Andersen lends lead guitars, while Robert Cray alumnus Jim Pugh adds fragile, keyboard accents that mirror Tani’s narrative, and rock-solid bassist Mike Anderson fills out the bottom.

To be sure, country inflections make an appearance (notably on “Fallin’), but this collection of songs is a marked departure from Tani’s 2010 release, the Crown and the Crow’s Confession.  Crown and Crow drove listeners down a dystopian two-lane highway, straight into the warped heart of the American dream.  He followed that release with Blue Line, a more introspective album where Tani narrowed his vision to the more compact landscapes of human emotion.

On The Lovers Card, the songs and arrangements are even more subtle, the band following behind Tani instead of propelling him forward.  Tani remains a clever wordsmith, but there is less rollicking country, and more space between the players, quiet moments to ruminate on the words.  Some classic R&B notes flesh out a far more soulful record than any of Tani’s prior output. The music does credit to the lyrics without becoming the focal point. Think of Randy Newman or John Prine, but with less self-pity.  Tani’s voice is plaintive but robust, breaking at just the right moment, but never too much.

Tani says this is the record he has been building up to for his entire career, and you can see the reason for his enthusiasm. Each song is carefully crafted, lacking filler or excessive sentiment.  The Lovers Card is a late night confessional, not a love letter. Tani reminds his listeners that love can be a dangerous game for those who chose to play.  Clearly, Tani can’t stay away.

Maurice Tani and 77 El Deora perform Friday, October 20, at Armando’s in Martinez.

By Scott Bloom

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