Music » The Hum


ATL opening, benefits galore, Habib Koité and don't call them "Gypsies"



Woke up this morning with a tune in my head: an old Joe Jackson thing called "Fools in Love."

"Fools in love, they think they're heroes ’cause they get to feel no pain. I say fools in love are zeros; I should know. I should know, because this fool's in love again."

Joe comes off all cynical, but you know he's probably happy to play the fool for love. Since I'm writing this on the day before All Fool's Day, I've been thinking about fools and why they're important to all of us. I have a few foolish things on my calendar for tomorrow. I'm heading up to the studios of KHSU in the afternoon to help out with their fund drive. I always pitch on my friend Vinnie's show, Fogou; he's been volunteering as a deejay for as long as I can remember. Aside from a few overworked paid staffers, the whole thing is run by folks who work for nothing, but love it -- fools who believe that public radio is worth giving up an afternoon or an evening. And the enterprise is paid for by fools like you who give the station money, even though they could just as well listen for free.

I'm also attending a couple of "soft" openings for new businesses. One is for a new record store set to open next week run by starry-eyed fools who are ready to ignore the fact that record stores are dying off since everyone seems to think music is a free commodity. (More about this hip establishment next week.)

Then there's the Arcata Theatre Lounge. (Did you make it all the way through last week's long, involved story?) Lara and Brian Cox are brave souls, dreamers who have invested their blood, sweat and tears -- their lives, as Lara put it -- in resurrecting an old movie theater, making it shine like a beacon once more. Is it a fool's errand? I don't think so. And I plan on being a regular patron, going there to hear music and to see movies that won't play elsewhere. ATL celebrates its Grand Opening on Friday. Family business is taking me out of town, but I'd be there if I could, putting the new dancefloor to the test with two of Humboldt's top dance bands: the swingin' rock/country/blues/etc. band The Delta Nationals for swing dancers ... and for salsa dancers, the hot AfroCuban rhythms of Ponche!

Incidentally, The Delta Nationals also have a gig Saturday playing for the Brain Dance at Eureka's Moose Lodge with another swing/rock band, Magnolia. Proceeds benefit Making Headway Center for Brain Injury. And Ponche! has a gig Sunday playing for Los Bagel's Birthday Bash, a celebration of the business' 25th anniversary at the Arcata Community Center that includes games for kids, dinner and who knows what else. Being a progressive community-minded biz, Los Bagels has turned the party into a benefit for Planned Parenthood, Humboldt Baykeeper and Green Wheels.

Community Alliance of Family Farmers gets part of the door Saturday at the Arcata Vet's Hal when Humboldt Folklife has its monthly Contra Dance. Michael Mulderig serves as caller with the cleverly named Contraband providing appropriate music.

The Mateel plays host to yet another benefit Saturday night: The Hospital and Clinic Ball will help the Phelps Foundation buy medical equipment for Garberville's hospital and clinic. There's dinner music by Randy Ruland and the Sniff Unit and Classically Yours, then good old rock and soul (at 8 p.m.) with Jimi Jeff and the Gypsy Band doing their thing.

Brewmeister and part-time musician Bob Smith called to let us know about an impromptu Fieldbrook Folk Fest this weekend at Fieldbrook Market. It starts Friday evening with The Spindrifters: "They're a local band, mostly Fieldbrook people," said Smith. "Saturday, starting around noon, we'll have a series of folk acts. It should run all day behind the store." Folkies include Moonsong, Rachael Coyote, Lizard, then The Singing Nettles (from the NEC) and the band Kindred Spirits said Smith, who is a member of K. Spirits. "We run the spectrum, but that day we'll be doing bluegrass and old time music," he said, adding, "The folks from the market will have the barbecue going and beer on tap; we'll all be hanging out having a good time." The music's free; bring cash for beer and BBQ.

The hypnotic Malian guitarist Habib Koité plays neo-griot music Thursday in HSU's Kate Buchanan Room. Says Habib (who, despite what a T-S writer was told, speaks English), "The role of the musician is to move people emotionally, and also to inform or to comment about different things in life. I am a griot by birth and by name and will always be. When you are a musician as well, you can't be more griot than that."

More world music? Redwood Raks World Dance Studio celebrates International Roma Day Sunday. Roma? Well, Roma, Rom or Romani are preferred terms for the people commonly called "Gypsies." That's part of the message of Sani Rifati from Kosovo and Rumen "Sali" Shopov from Bulgaria of Voice of Roma, who will be in town for the event. "Sani is an activist who supports an orphanage in Kosovo," said Chubritza's Craig Kurumada, who is helping organize the affair. "Sani is also out to educate people about the 'G' word: gypsy. It's difficult because people think Rom may mean Romanians or people from Rome. 'Gypsy' is something like the way we once used 'colored' in America. You might still hear it, but it's archaic." The day's events include a Rom-style Balkan dance workshop (at 5) followed by a 7:30 p.m. potluck and dance party with music by Orkestar Sali, with Sali on various string instruments and percussion plus clarinet, accordion, bass and more percussion.

Your favorite Dead tribute band, Play Dead, plays a post-Arts Alive! gig Saturday the Red Fox. Rumor has it the band may be going on hiatus after one subsequent gig, so see ’em while you can. Also on Saturday, neo-country-rockers Cadillac Ranch emerge from the garage for a show at Mosgo's. And the vagabond Arcata indie band Strix Vega is back from SxSW for a show at the Alibi with Drunken Prayer, an alt. southern soul/country/pop band from Portland.

Wanna see how things are going at the Eureka Film and Concert Center (aka the Eureka Theater)? Philly-based electro-jam trance-fusion band Disco Biscuits are there for a Passion show Sunday, and no, they don't play Bee Gees covers.

The Eureka Symphony plays Friday and Saturday over at that other renovated theater, the Arkley Center for the Performing Arts. Their "Danube Adventure" includes music by Brahms, Mozart and the Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian, all under the baton of maestra Carol Jacobson, a force of nature who was recently named Northcoast Music Educator of the Year by the California Music Educators Association.

HSU Music Dept. faculty and students present a program of new compositions on Saturday in Fulkerson Recital Hall including "Light at the End of the Tunnel," by prof Brian Post, written in memory of his friend Deborah Clasquin, a revered teacher and pianist who passed away recently.

More classics Sunday, again in Fulkerson Hall: The Alexander String Quartet plays Haydn, Mendelssohn and Terry Riley's "Mythic Birds Waltz."

Reggae? Start Thursday evening at Bayside Grange where Ishi Dube and Massagana play for "Redwood Reggae" with "special guests." Same night at Humboldt Brews: Sister Carol (seen on the big screen recently in Jonathan Demme's Rachael Getting Married). Opening the show: Woven Roots with some EastHum reggae. Ishi pops up again when Jah Sun does a Saturday afternoon thing at Azalea Hall in McKinleyville, a benefit for Laurel Tree Learning Center that also includes food, a raffle and fun for kids like a bounce house.

Tickets are finally on sale for Reggae Rising (July 31-Aug. 2) and, surprise, prices are down: "early bird" tix just $99 (plus service charge). The line-up? Confirmed are German reggae star Gentlemen, Marcia Griffiths from the I-Threes, Brit reggae faves Aswad and The Original Wailers with Al Anderson and Junior Marvin, among others. (Junior is also part of the team booking the show.)

Meanwhile downriver, Reggae on the River 2009 is on for Saturday, July 18. No word yet on who's playing.


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