Hurry down for an 8:30 start for the late show this Friday, as singer Christie Aida leads Free Press Music in a concert celebrating the band’s new recording, “House of Welcome, Vol.1.” Check it out here.
House of Welcome opened as a luxury hotel after the 1906 earthquake and lives on now as the Cadillac Hotel, operated by the nonprofit Reality House West to offer supportive services and housing to residents with few resources. House of Welcome remains the Cadillac’s signature concept in the present day.
Many of the songs on Free Press Music’s new EP reflect FPM leader Christie Aida’s immersion as a volunteer for Reality House West, the nonprofit created by the late Leroy Looper and his wife Kathy Looper and other activists to make the Cadillac a refuge and a home for its residents.
The stories, struggles and everyday life experiences of Tenderloin and SOMA residents inhabit Aida’s songs. The song “Reality House” recognizes the life experience and humanity of the Cadillac’s residents, such as one, Mary, who day in and day out practices harm reduction using Narcan to help others in crisis. A suite of songs has been developed from conversations and interactions with Theody, a Filipino man who lived for years on the streets of SOMA until he recently became a resident of the Cadillac.
Free Press Music developed as a music collective centered on the songs crafted by Aida and drummer Dave Mihaly, with roots in soul, jazz, blues and improvisation, developed in performances at spots around the Tenderloin, SOMA and the Western Addition, significantly including the Cadillac. Aida writes songs with lyrics in Tagalog, Spanish, English and French with a deep, dynamic repertoire that constellates sounds from around the globe, reflecting her sensitivity and advocacy for community organizing, social justice and housing as a human right.
The ensemble for this EP Release event includes singer Aida and drummer Mihaly along with Annelise Zamula on saxophone and Billy White on piano, all of whom contributed to the recording. Billy White works with Paula West. Mihaly’s drumming, central to the Free Press sound, has been characterized as a “cross between Jack DeJohnette and Levon Helm….like Levon, Dave was blessed with a sweet voice and the ability to play stringed instruments. Like Jack, he ‘knows’ compositions.”
Tonight’s show will inaugurate an 8:30 starting time for our Friday late shows. Please bring $20 for the band, though no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.
The BBCLP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit...
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Gigging musicians! You have nothing to lose but your lack of a collective voice to achieve fair wages for your work!
The IMA can be a conduit for you, if you join in to make it work.
Read more here - Andy Gilbert's Feb 25 article about the IMA from KQED's site