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.

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.

Freda Banks

In 2008, double bassist and founder of the Musical Art Quintet, Sascha Jacobsen regularly attended the Sunday night chamber music jams at Cafe Revolution. But after his umpteenth time through Dvorak’s Opus 77, String quartet No. 2 in G major—one of the few chamber music standards that includes The double bass—he realized that if he wanted to play something else, he’d have to write it himself.

KALW’s Jayme Catsouphes brings us the story in this Bay Area Beats profile from our archives.

Bay Area Beats: DJ Atish on the art of mixing

May 7, 2013

The chemistry between people on a dance floor and the DJ mixing for them is not something to take lightly. The DJ is like a combination of artist, entertainer, and performer – taking the crowd on a musical journey.

Bay Area Beats: Sarah Cahill

Mar 7, 2013

Sarah Cahill is considered one of the architects and champions of the new music scene in the Bay Area. She founded the annual Garden of Memory concert at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, which is one of the many ways she tries to make contemporary music more accessible to a wider audience. She also does that Sunday nights on her radio show Then and Now on KALW on Sundays at 8pm. Cahill spoke with KALW's Martina Castro and played some songs for her, as she described why she ended up leaving the more formal classical world, for the freedom of the experimental genre.

It may have the word “noise” in the title, but San Francisco's Noise Pop festival is all about highlighting the best indie art, film and music in the Bay Area. It kicks off tonight with concerts including Oakland’s Will Sprott.

Matthew Washburn

San Francisco’s Bhi Bhiman set out from his home in St. Louis in pursuit of the mecca of classic rock and roll – a city where Jefferson Airplane still haunts the streets. But once he arrived on the west coast, Bhiman found only a few remnants of this once golden age of American music.

Not to be discouraged, the first-generation Sri Lankan singer/songwriter steeped himself in the rich American musical traditions of blues and folk.

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