Showing posts with label goosebumps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label goosebumps. Show all posts

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bobby McFerrin's VOCAbuLaries and the joy of improvisation

Who knows if Bobby even knows what's coming next? But we know it's going to be fun.

I've had the wonderful opportunity to see Bobby McFerrin twice now in my life. Once in the 90s at UCLA's Royce Hall and once last weekend with SFJAZZ. For a vocalist and performers in general, his performances are nothing short of amazing. The joy he exudes for music and his talent is so overwhelming that it's hard to not get sucked in for those two hours.

Read my review of the San Francisco show here. It was the world premiere of his VOCAbuLaries performances and the unveiling of his new album of the same title.

Skip to 2:10 to see how McFerrin performs Bach's "Ave Maria" with the audience.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Pomplamoose; "Don't Want to Miss a Thing"

When Jack Conte told me that Pomplamoose was going to cover that silly pop song from the movie Armageddon, I was thinking, okay, "crappy silly dramatic love song that this band will make awesome." And they did. Of course. Everything that this band touches they turn into diamonds, or gold or.. whatever.

What makes this song for me is Nataly's ghostly angelic vocal interlude right after the bridge at 2:18. I've played just that little bit about 12 times now. It's absolutely stunning.

Pomplamoose produced Nulia Nune's most recent EP I Think you Know and the track "Through the Floorboards" features a vocal track that sounds very similar to the one you'll hear here.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chanticleer performs in the Cathedral of Christ the Light: or how I spent my second night of Hannukah

Last night I had the absolute pleasure of attending the barely one-year-old Cathedral of Christ the Light right on Lake Merritt in Oakland for an evening with the Bay Area’s own "orchestra of voices" Chanticleer. The twelve guys are back from touring the country and have already begun their annual Bay Area Christmas concerts.

This is the first time I’ve seen Chanticleer, and what I really love about them (other than their music) is the air of the fun they have. There are jokes in the program bios and smiles all around. I spotted the signature insanely awesome handlebar mustache of eldest member Eric Alatorre and the faux mohawk of soprano Michael McNeil. I see this kind of artistic seriousness coupled with gleeful enjoyment a signature Bay Area attitude and I am reminded how much I love living in this part of the country. I am also proud that these guys (most of them from middle America) represent my little slice of the world when they go out on the road.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Video: The Swell Season invites Moji to the stage in Houston

This video is a month old and I had seen it a couple weeks ago. But I came across it again and I think it's worth sharing.

The Swell Season performed at Warehouse Live in Houston on November 13, and according to the description on the YouTube tag:
Glen introduced a new song, inviting the audience to sing along. Upon a quick rehearsal of our part, he heard one voice that he dubbed "Aretha" and promptly invited it's owner, Moji to join him onstage. Here is the magical result!

I love when she cues the band to come back in with louder dynamics. She's obviously a pro.

Moji's band: the 2 Dollar Sound

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Girls Rock Camp, Poison Apple Pie and Female Empowerment

                     Splash!  photo courtesy of bagrc on flickr

It's about time I blogged about one of my favorite things that I am proud to be part of in this lifetime: Girls Rock Camp, the promotion of women in music and in the arts and entertainment industry in general.

Girls Rock Camp started in Portland, Oregon in 2001 with the mission of building self-esteem of young women through music creation and performance. The concept has since exploded nationally and internationally with dozens of new camps popping up in new cities every summer (I believe there will be around 50 worldwide in the summer of 2009). As each camp develops, organizers and supporters get more ambitious; there are Lady Rock Camps (for us older girls), documentaries, after school programs, tours, showcases and even more exciting, bands that met through camp but gig on their own.

Just watch: music is going to be very different as these girls grow up. Has anyone else noticed how more and more women are popping up in indie bands? And not just as the singer or keyboardists!

Here's the trailer for the Girls Rock! documentary:

When I lived in Austin I helped out the Girls Rock Camp director in her endeavor in initiating the first camp in Austin. I helped the younger girls, all around 10 years old, write two songs: one about the ghost Bloody Mary, and another one about ice cream tummy aches. When I saw them perform, I bawled my eyes out in shear joy. I was so moved and inspired by them.

Girls Rock Camp Austin is now going into it's third year growing to include several sessions a summer, a South by Southwest annual showcase, and Lady Rock Camp. The Mayor has declared December 11, 2008 the Official Girls Rock Camp Day. The girls are taking over Austin!

Now that I live in the Bay Area, I'm lucky to also be riding in the wave of the first-ever Bay Area Girls Rock Camp. This past summer, I volunteered as a band coach for the band Splash! I helped the three twelve-year-olds and one 8-year-old write a song about: what else, writing a song!

At camp we made fanzines (out of my old Spin Magazines, go recycling!), silk screened Splash!'s bands logo onto t-shirts, learned about self-defense and self-image and more. It was awesome. We had the end-of-camp showcase, where every band performed the song they wrote during camp, at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco.

I was so inspired by these girls and the community that rallied around them.

In the band Splash!, I met a 12 year old drummer named Torrey who also played guitar (and rather well I might add). She wanted to learn more. She's now my private student and she's awesome. Even though I'm certainly not the most accomplished musician (I'm going to be learning my guitar scales with her!) there's so much I can teach her. We've been singing, tuning guitars, replacing strings, learning more chords, fingerpicking patterns, music theory, some piano and yes, learning to read music.

Torrey had been wanting to learn "Blackbird" for a couple months and I kept telling her, "yeah, we'll do that, but you have to learn basic fingerpicking patterns first." I went away to Australia for two weeks and when I got back, whaddaya know, she's learned Blackbird! Just like that! Gawd it took me months to learn it! Amazing. This girl is a human sponge!

Anyway, Torrey and two of her friends (one of them also a former member of Splash!) are now in a group called Poison Apple Pie. So far, they've performed at a wedding and a Girls Rock Camp fundraiser.

Here's Poisen Apple Pie performing REM's "The One I Love" at Art Murmur on first Fridays in Downtown Oakland. Torrey is the drummer (you can't really see her, but you can definitely hear her). She's awesome, I'm so proud of her. It'll be a sad day when I have nothing left to teach her. But until then, we'll be playing.

If you would like to donate to Girls Rock Camp, click here to get to their website and navigate over to the "get involved" tab on the left. The rock stars of the future will appreciate it!

There will be a fundraiser at the El Rio in San Francisco on December 14th, as part of the 50 Shows in 50 States benefit that the Portland Girls Rock Camp has organized to raise money for the Girls Rock Camp Alliance.

If you want to find out more about a Girls Rock Camp near you, go here.

And also, if you're interested in girl empowerment in general, check out Saturday Night Live Amy Poehler's new project Smart Girls At the Party: an online website celebrating girls who are changing the world by being themselves.



Sunday, October 5, 2008

Missed African Music Shows: The Soweto Gospel Choir and Cesaria Evora

While I'm so happy to be in Australia this week visiting family and friends, I am sorry to report that I am missing two beautiful shows.

Singer Cesaria Evora from Cape Verde will be performing at the Zellerbach Auditorium in Berkeley, California on October 9th and 10th as part of the Cal Performances Season. Go HERE for details. I've never seen her before, but I've heard that she's amazing live.

Evora sings mouna which can be described as a soulful genre unique to the archipelago (off the West Coast of Africa) that fuses Latin jazz and Afro beats with traces of Portuguese fado and Brazilian modinha (ballads).

Here's her myspace page, and a youtube video of my favorite song, "Sodade." Love the cigarette!

I will also be missing the Soweto Gospel Choir performing in Palo Alto, California on October 7th at the Memorial Church as part of the Stanford Lively Arts series. This group fuses two of my favorite "genres" of music, gospel and african music and understandably, each time I've seen this group ( once at the Edinburgh Fringe Fest in 2003 and once in San Antonio in 2007), I've ended up a soggy, weepy mess on the floor with goosebumps: This nice jewish girl loves her gospel music!

They get a little cheesey for my taste sometimes when they sing in English and include synth keyboards, but they also break out into dance on some numbers. I prefer the a capella numbers.

Here's the Soweto Gospel Choir's website. Notice that they will be continuing their 2008 tour into the Midwest, East Coast, Canada, back to Southern California and then it looks like Europe too (maybe there are two choirs touring at the same time?). Check out their touring schedule if you're interested.

Here's a youtube video that gives you a pretty good idea of what they sound and look like.

I've added a couple songs on my playlist over to the right, take a listen!