(San Francisco, CA) – On Jan 19, 2018, San Francisco’s Freight & Salvage will bring seven Little Village Foundation (LVF) artists together for an evening of music and spoken word reflecting the diverse makeup of the label’s roster and mission-backed up by the powerful Greaseland All-Stars featuring LVF founder Jim Pugh (B.B. King, Etta James, John Lee Hooker, Robert Cray, Boz Skaggs, Syl Johnson and Van Morrison) and Greaseland Studios award-winning producer/engineer Kid Andersen.
Little Village Foundation, the non-profit record label focused on bringing the hidden veins of roots music in America to the masses, presents a sampler of the folk, blues, jazz, gospel and ethnic flavors that make LVF’s the most diverse catalog around.
LVF Artists featured include Aireene Espiritu, Aki Kumar, Chris Cain, Howell Devine, Maurice Tani, The Sons Of The Soul Revivers, and Xóchitl Morales.
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’d seen 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 epicenter of 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 and 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.
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.