Bay Area Beats

Berkeley-based singer songwriter Diana Gameros comes from Ciudad Juárez — a Mexican border town ripped apart by violent drug cartels. Gameros hasn’t been home in 13 years. 

http://lorinbenedict.com

Lorin Benedict is a theoretical and computational physicist at Lawrence Livermore labs. His work focuses on predicting the properties of materials—chiefly within extreme conditions of temperature and pressure, like at the center of giant planets and in stars. At the end of a long day studying the hearts of the stars, Benedict often finds himself heading out beneath their flickering light to sing the 12-bar blues in his double life as a Bay Area jazz singer.

Under CC license from Evert-Jan Hielema.

 

Bobby Hutcherson, the jazz legend and internationally renowned vibraphonist, passed away last week. He was 75. A few years ago, KALW’s Ben Trefny joined reporter David Ross at Bobby’s home near the coast in Montara. They talked about music and life and things larger than life. The result was this piece Ben and David produced about Bobby for our series Bay Area Beats.

photo courtesy Antique Naked Soul

Oakland's Antique Naked Soul describe themselves as a “beatbox-sing soul band,” which means they use only their own voices, looped on-stage, to create their sound, and their message.

Photo credit: Robbie Walsh

The name “Fantastic Negrito” might throw you off step a little bit. Musician Xavier Dphrepaulezz says that, just like the sound of his music, the name Fantastic Negrito is rooted in blackness and also international. It’s exuberant, but there’s a sharp point to it.

Photo courtesy of Matt Beardsley

In order to talk about Andre Thierry, first you have to talk about the godfather of Zydeco music, Clifton Chenier.

Courtesy John Givens. Cropped and resized from original.

Berkeley based guitarist and songwriter John Givens brings a sensibility for visual art into his songwriting; he used to be a filmmaker and art director. Together with his 8-piece soul band, No Lovely Thing, he also explores themes ranging from the political to the emotional. He shares the stories behind some of their songs in this edition of Bay Area Beats.

photo courtesty of Dirty Cello

 

Rebecca Roudman and Jason Eckl are willing to play music just about anywhere. In fact, they seek out unusual places.

Joe Picard

Watching Bay Area singer Karina Denike perform is like going back in time, to an era of torch singers. You can hear a lifetime of musical influences in her music — a jazz vocalist’s depth mixed with a punk edge, a little doo wop, an Eastern European lilt, and some 1960’s soul.

Bay Area Beats: Marco Polo Santiago

Oct 26, 2015

 


 

Musician Marco Polo Santiago was raised in L.A., in a big Mexican-American family, with the sound of cumbia always in the background. He grew up to be a musician, but his tastes ran more to metal and hip hop than anything Latin.

 

Bay Area Beats: Zena

Sep 14, 2015

Zena, from Oakland, is a singer songwriter, visual artist, storyteller –  and one of the few women masters of the kora – a West African harp – taught directly by Malian kora master, Toumani Diabate. She blends West African music with American Delta Blues and Appalachian tunes, to create what she calls "Afrofolk." Zena came to our studios - kora in hand- to tell KALW's Hana Baba about her story of migration and music.

PHOTO COURTESY NAIMA SHALHOUB, TAKEN BY SARAH DERAGON

San Francisco musician Naima Shalhoub performs for incarcerated women, and recorded her latest album live inside the San Francisco County Jail. We meet the Lebanese American musician in this segment of Bay Area Beats.

Bay Area Beats: Flesh World

Jun 15, 2015
Top L-R: Andrew Luttrell (Bass), Scott Moore (Guitar) Bottom L-R: Jess Scott (Vocals, Guitar), Diane Anastasio (Drums)
Melissa Farley

In our latest episode of Bay Area Beats we'll hear from the band Flesh World. They've been playing together in San Francisco since 2012. Guitarist Scott Moore comes from the hardcore punk scene while singer Jess Scott used to play a punk genre called noise pop. Together, they make something altogether new. They talk about their new album The Wild Animals in My Life and the naked truth about how they met at Maximum Rock and Roll Headquarters where Scott Moore lived at the time.

San Francisco rapper DaVinci says it was hard to ignore the gentrification in his neighborhood when he was growing up. He’s from the Fillmore District, which has been in phases of decline, redevelopment, and change since the 1960’s. In the past decade, the Fillmore has undergone a surge of economic activity that’s changed the face of the famous jazz quarter of the city once again. In this installment of Bay Area Beats, DaVinci shares how growing up in the Fillmore influenced his music.


The band Howell Devine -- Josh Howell, Pete Devine, and Joe Kyle Jr. --  is bringing the southern blues to the Bay. For this episode of Bay Area Beats, we caught up with the founding members to find out how the blues got into their souls.

April Renae / brigetboyle.com

You can hear all sorts of different musical ingredients in the work of Briget Boyle. In the mix is everything from Eastern European harmonies to Balkan brass bands to pop rock. You can hear all those influences, plus a little country western twang, on Boyle’s new solo album, ‘The Parts Interior.’

BRIGET BOYLE: Every person in some way can be a singer, and can tell their story, even if it's just singing along with the radio or singing in the shower. There's something really human about it, and really simple.  

 

“You know, you can only paint a painting once. But a song, you can replay, re-envision, re-imagine virtually an infinite number of times,” says Matt Jaffe. And that’s one reason he wants to devote himself to music.

This Mill Valley singer-songwriter has opened for the legendary Mavis Staples and will do the same March 7th for Megan Slankard. One thing he couldn’t do, if he wasn’t on stage, is legally attend many of his own shows; Matt Jaffe is only 19.

Berkeley-based singer Gautam Tejas Ganeshan plays Carnatic music -- a devotional form traditional to South India. But he's bringing a local twist to this centuries-old sound.

Photo by Peter Earl McCollough

Berkeley-based musician Madeline Tasquin has been singing all her life -- first back in Canada with her opera-singing mother and gold-mining father, and later here in the Bay Area with bands like Whiskerman and Antioquia. Now she’s working on a new LP with her band, Madeline Tasquin Trading Company, and getting ready for a European tour. We caught up with her for this episode of Bay Area Beats.

Some of all Parts, is a San Francisco rap group made up of old high school buddies Carlos Teasdale, Daniel Velarde, and Joe Truss. Truss is Assistant Principal at San Francisco’s Academy of Arts and Science. He says he was skeptical about joining a rap group at first. He wasn’t impressed with a lot of mainstream rap out there at the time.

In San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood, there’s a small building that’s a big part of some young people’s lives. Sunset Youth Services provides teenagers, transitional age young adults, and their families with support like violence prevention programs, parenting classes, and food assistance. And tucked away in a corner upstairs is the youth-run music studio, Upstar Records. That’s where teens learn to record their own songs, produce beats, and shoot music videos.

Twenty-four-year-old Clarissa Bryant has been recording there since she was sixteen, just one year after she came out at school. KALW’s Audrey Dilling brings you the story in this installment of Bay Area Beats.

Eighteen-year-old Tatyana Martinez turned to writing poetry as a young girl to cope with big changes in her life. Over time, her poetry evolved into music. She now works for the youth run recording studio Upstar Records, inside San Francisco’s Sunset Youth Services. The youth center supports young people and their families with things like parenting classes, food assistance, and job training at Upstar. When she’s not helping young musicians make music, Martinez writes and records her own songs with the goal of putting out her own album. She shares the story behind her songs in this installment of Bay Area Beats.

photo by Aubrey Trinnaman

Emily Ritz and Kacey Johansing are best friends. They were both in separate bands and living in Marin County when they decided to go on tour together. They ended up in Norway and decided to form a duo. But it wasn’t until they got back from their trip that they came up with their name.

Bay Area Beats: DOE EYE

May 28, 2014
Olivia Lee

In this edition of Bay Area Beats, we meet Union City based musician Maryam Qudus, who says she was a shy child of an Afghan immigrant family. When she wanted to pursue music, it was a first for her family, her culture, and her larger community.

“There was NO music in my family. ----- my mom knows who Beyonce is, who MJ is- that’s all,” says Qudus.

Photo courtesy of quinndeveaux.com

Oakland-based singer/songwriter Quinn Deveaux is one part city, one part country. When he plays with his band, the Blue Beat Review, he taps into Ray Charles and plays the savvy bandleader, burning his way through tune after tune and keeping his audience dancing late into the night.

Bay Area Beats: Micah Tron

May 12, 2014

Micah Tron is a rapper born and raised in San Francisco. She’s a queer woman of color, but the hurdles she has faced go even beyond her race, sexual preference, and gender. She lived in a shelter after being displaced by Hurricane Katrina and a few years into her twenties, she was diagnosed with epilepsy. But she hasn’t let this stop her from pursuing her music career – she says it actually motivates her. After her nephew was born deaf, she learned sign language, and her latest dream is to make music for the deaf community. She spoke with reporter Lo Benichou about her story.

Sunset Youth Services is an organization that supports transitional age youth and their families with things like parenting classes, food assistance, and job training. And it's home to the youth-run recording studio, Upstar Records, where young people learn audio production skills. That's where you’ll usually find 16-year-old Adriel Diaz. 

Bay Area Beats: Meet San Francisco's Mystic Blaze

Apr 30, 2014

TraVaughn Hicks has been making music since he was a young boy and his rapper uncle would record him singing on his songs.

You've probably been seeing this next band around town for a while, on line-ups at clubs like Bottom of the Hill and The Independent. They've been playing the show circuit for over four years and have a following that stretches as far as London, England. 

Bay Area Beats: LoCura

Jan 29, 2014

San Francisco band LoCura reflects the bay area’s mix of cultures and histories. LoCura blends flamenco, Cuban son, reggae, cumbia and ska to make their own revolutionary party music. KALW caught up with the band’s lead singer Kata Miletich and guitarist Bob Sanders in this story from our archives.

Pages