Monday, September 18, 2017

La Misa Negra Interview: The band talks about their upcoming new album

See them live at The New Parish on Friday September 22.

by Azucena Rasilla
Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 12:17 PM

  • Photo by Andrew Zhou

Oakland band La Misa Negra is a fixture in the Bay Area's Latinx music scene. Founded by composer, guitarist, and accordion player Marco Polo Santiago, the band also consists of Colombian-born Diana Trujillo (lead vocals), Justin Chin (tenor and baritone sax), Morgan Nilsen (tenor sax and clarinet), Craig Bravo (drums and percussion), Elena de Troya (percussion), and Paul Martin Sounder (upright bass and percussion). Since forming in 2011, La Misa Negra has performed all over the United States, spreading their diverse cultural backgrounds in the form of their infectious cumbia sounds.

The band's music is heavily influenced by Afro-Latin sounds, accordion riffs typical of music from Mexico and Latin America, and hip-hop, jazz, rock, and heavy metal. This eclectic mix of rhythms makes La Misa Negra one of the most entertaining live bands, sure to have you singing and dancing all night.

The Express recently caught up with Marco Polo Santiago to talk about the band’s sophomore self-titled album, which will be released on September 29, as well as its upcoming album release party at The New Parish on Friday, Sept. 22.

Express: What was the thought process behind getting in the studio to get this album ready?
Santiago: I wanted to build upon that old-school sound that we have and take it further into the future. We’re incorporating various Afro-Colombian rhythms that we hadn’t before and also tapping more into outside influences, like rock and salsa, but still keeping everything within that trademark LMN sound that we have.

What were some of the challenges you guys encountered?
The music itself is more challenging to perform. We have horn lines that are harder to play. We also have rhythms that are faster and more complex, so it took us time to be able to get everything right. Some of the arrangements are really elaborate, and I wanted to try a lot of things we hadn’t done before. I also wanted a bigger sound, with more horns and more singers, so we enlisted a lot of guest musicians from the Bay – most of them friends of ours, like Deuce Eclipse (Bang Data/Zion I), Kata Miletich (Locura), Mario (trumpet player from Rupa & the April Fishes), Adam Theis (Jazz Mafia), and Jesse Sheehan (who used to play sax in Candelaria). Caipo from Bang Data produced the album along with me and we spent almost nine months crafting this thing together.

What can fans of LMN expect from this album?
Fire! It still sounds like us but it’s bigger and harder. It sounds more like our live shows than the first album.

The cover of La Misa Negra's new album.
  • The cover of La Misa Negra's new album.

Any favorite tracks?

We all have our own favorites but for me, I love "Dueña de Mi," "Sancocho," "Acosadora," and "Pistola." We have a remake of an old Cuban song, called "Yayabo," that I also enjoy a lot. And it starts with a Wu-Tang inspired sample. I had to throw in some Wu-Tang on this album. I also threw in some Black Sabbath and Alice in Chains for the rock/metal heads.

What is your favorite part about playing shows?
I started this band specifically to put on a crazy, rowdy show. We’re a live band first and foremost, so performing in front of people is the only reason this band exists. I think most artists prioritize making albums. We’re the opposite.

For someone who has never been to a LMN show, what can they look forward to?
They can look forward to having to shower afterwards because they’re walking out of that place drenched in sweat.

La Misa Negra's new album will be available for sale at the New Parish show on Friday, Sept. 22, and is available for pre-order on iTunes and Bandcamp. It will be widely released on Sept. 29.

Show details: Friday, Sept. 22, 9 p.m., $15, 18+, The New Parish, 1743 San Pablo Ave., Oakland.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Café Tacvba's NiuGüeis Tour Delighted Oakland Fans

by Azucena Rasilla
Sat, Sep 16, 2017 at 7:04 PM

Frontman Rubén Albarrán - PHOTOS BY ADRIAN JUSUE
  • Photos by Adrian Jusue
  • Frontman Rubén Albarrán

Here’s what you should know about a Café Tacvba concert: No matter how many times you have seen them live, every single show is like seeing them for the first time. The legendary Mexican rock band is always reinventing itself. This versatility has allowed them to maintain their popularity and longevity, even when several years go by in between releasing albums.

Their eighth studio album, Jei Beibi (pronounced “Hey baby”), was released in early May, and the Mexican quartet –- composed of Rubén Albarrán, Joselo Rangel, Quique Rangel, and Emmanuel del Real –- is currently on tour promoting the album.

The NiuGüeis Tour made its way to Oakland’s Fox Theater last night, and it was a sight to be seen. Concert-goers began congregating outside of the venue early in the afternoon, although the show didn't start until 9 p.m. By that time, the lines to get into the Fox Theater wrapped around the building and spilled over onto side streets.

Once inside the venue, a group of friends chatted excitedly: “What if this is their last tour? What if this is the last album?” one friend told another. The Mexican rock band has been going strong since 1989, and in the ‘90s, during the golden era of rock en español, Café Tacvba reigned supreme. Their 1994 album, Re, was labeled one of the ten greatest Latin rock albums of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.


It has been five years since Café Tacvba has released an album, and three since they last came to the Bay Area. (The band played a sold-out show at the Masonic in San Francisco in 2014.)

The band rammed through an extensive setlist, opening the show with the second single off the album, the track called "Futuro," written by Joselo Rangel and sung by frontman Rubén Albarrán and Rangel. Classics like "El Aparato" and "Como Te Extraño Mi Amor" were also part of the repertoire.

There were two particularly magical moments of the night. The first was when Emmanuel del Real performed fan favorite "Eres," as every single person inside the Fox sang along.

The other was when Café Tacvba performed "Chilanga Banda," a song whose lyrics represent the vernacular of Mexico City’s working-class.

Before leaving the stage, Rubén Albarrán addressed the crowd, emphasizing that no one should be afraid to speak their mind, that women should be respected and not risk getting attacked. He also spoke of the need to take care of the planet, to respect all living organisms, and to stop the violence that plagues the world.

They closed the show with "El baile y el salón," another classic off the Re album.

The NiuGüeis Tour will continue throughout the United States until October, and will culminate on December 1 in Monterrey, Mexico.

Enrique Rangel
  • Enrique Rangel
Emmanuel del Real
  • Emmanuel del Real
Joselo Rangel
  • Joselo Rangel

Correction: Our review stated that the band had not toured the Bay Area since 2014. The band played the Fox Theater and the Independent in 2015, and the Greek Theatre with Thievery Corporation in 2016.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Bay Area Rapper Show Banga ‘Glows Up’

by Amyra Soriano
Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 6:46 PM

Show Banga in Oakland. - AMYRA SORIANO
  • Amyra Soriano
  • Show Banga in Oakland.
Twenty-seven-year-old William Lassiter, otherwise known as Show Banga, or Showy for short, says he wants to share a positive message through his music.

Born and raised in San Francisco’s Fillmore district, the artist began writing songs early in his life. “I wrote poetry as a kid and in high school. I was always influenced by it,” he said. His father, ShowTime, was a well-known rapper and owner of numerous record stores, and his mother also listened to hip-hop. They motivated him to follow his dreams.

But his childhood wasn’t easy. “I was raised in the streets. Know people that’s doin’ maximum time in jail. Know people that got shot. My best friend got killed when I was 15,” he said.

Lassiter had a fallout with his mother when she found a gun in their home. So he went to live with his father in Vallejo, where he ended up meeting Iamsu! and P-Lo, two of the original founders of a group called the Heartbreak Gang.

During Lassiter’s junior year at Pinole High School, the trio established a creative collective called Go Gettaz, which launched his music career. Undeterred by the violence around him, Lassiter decided to use hip-hop to promote a more optimistic outlook. “I wanna change the youth killing each other. I wanna be the person that could stop that and really bring the Bay Area and music together,” he said.

His music is heavily influenced by Bay Area culture. “We represent the Bay,” he said. “I don’t wanna have to move to L.A. to put the Bay on. I wanna put the Bay on from the Bay.”

“How We Rock,” a track off his last album, Show Time 2, gained more than 1.5 million listens on SoundCloud. Show Banga has been featured in hits such as “Panoramic” by D-Mac, “I Can Tell” by Sage the Gemini, and “Tbt” by Kool John.

To show his love for the community, Lassiter coined the phrase “$quad $quad.” According to the rapper, $quad $quad is something everyone can be a part of. “[It’s] the people that keep me goin,’ the people that stay in tune with what I represent,” he said. The first “$quad” symbolizes his inner circle of close friends and family and the second “$quad” are his fans.

Between every high hat and clap is an ode to being young and reckless — within reason. “HBK, Shmoplife, $quad $quad — what we represent is having fun, turnin’ up, on some positive [stuff],” he said. “Being able to go to a concert and nobody gets murdered. Being able to throw events and nobody gets shot. That’s what we tryna represent. That’s what we tryna bring to the table. Plus being able to still talk about what we want.”

Show Banga will unveil a new sound in his forthcoming album, Da Glo Up. “It’s a new wave,” he said with a grin. “It’s the energy. It’s growth in the industry. That’s what it is. Growth and just growin’ up.”

Aspiring to become the best version of himself, the rapper said he wants to venture into more entrepreneurial aspects of his brand, including clothes, accessories, and maybe even an app. “Starting from nothing... it’s all a dream,” he said. “It’s what we all want. It’s part of this glowin’. Wanting to keep growin’. Keep expandin’. You know what I mean? Comin’ up.”

Show Banga will perform at the Santa Clara Fairgrounds tomorrow as part of Baystock SJ, a fashion, art, and music event. He plans to release his album, Da Glo Up, in October.

New Guidebook Spotlights ‘100 Things to Do in Oakland Before You Die’

by Amyra Soriano
Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 11:00 AM

From a young age, Jessie Fetterling was consumed by wanderlust. “My mom was very adamant about taking road trips and showing us parts of the country, especially in California where we had family,” recalled the Kansas native.

She studied abroad in Europe and eventually became a travel writer, exploring places such as Singapore, South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates. After moving to the Bay Area six years ago, she eventually settled in Downtown Oakland. And now, Fetterling has taken her love of exploration to the place she calls home.
  • courtesy of Jessie Fetterling
Her new guidebook, 100 Things to Do in Oakland Before You Die, provides the ultimate to-do list for both tourists and locals alike. Categorized into five sections — food and drink, music and entertainment, sports and recreation, culture and history, and shopping and fashion — 100 Things recalls overlooked parts of Oakland history and celebrates its current-day renaissance of restaurants, businesses, and art galleries. Fetterling also shares suggested itineraries for date nights, family outings, budget-friendly activities, and more. In the process, the author uncovers exceptional spots that make Oakland… well, Oakland.

At first, deciding what places to highlight was difficult for the author. “There were definitely some places that I wanted to include and simply didn’t have the space,” she said. However, with the help of the city’s tourism bureau and fellow Oaklanders, she was able to narrow down the bucket list.

Although some activities — like strolling through the Grand Lake farmers’ market or grubbing at Burma Superstar — are part of the author’s regular go-tos, there were other experiences she had never tried before, like wining down on the Oakland Wine Trail.

“I learned so much about the city during my research process that I likely wouldn’t have investigated on my own,” she expressed. “For instance, I knew about the Oakland California [Mormon] Temple, but had yet to explore the grounds before researching.”

Fetterling believes travel helps expand her outlook on life — specifically what to be grateful for, what to be open-minded about, and so on.

“I love learning about the cultures of people and finding out why they do things differently,” she said. “I think that’s what travel’s all about though… is trying to grow from an experience and bring back what I’ve learned to others.”

On Saturday, Sept. 16, Fetterling — an editor for Emlen Media and freelance writer — will be at Laurel Book Store (1423 Broadway) to talk more about her book. 5 p.m., free,

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Living Room Light Exchange to Premiere Its Fourth Season on Art, New Media, and Tech Culture

by Ayah Mouhktar
Thu, Sep 14, 2017 at 11:02 AM

Living Room Light Exchange founders Elia Vargas and Liat Berdugo.
  • Living Room Light Exchange founders Elia Vargas and Liat Berdugo.
When you picture yourself with a drink in hand and in the midst of a thrilling dialogue about art and technology, you might imagine being at a bar or an art gallery. But at the Living Room Light Exchange, you’ll actually be cozied up on a couch in the living room of a local artist.

Beginning its fourth season on Tuesday, Sept. 19 — four years after its debut — the Living Room Light Exchange hosts monthly salons in various living rooms across the Bay Area, with the intention of creating dialogue between local artists and the audience about art, new media, and technology culture.

Founders Liat Berdugo and Elia Vargas said they started the series because of a lack of “critical dialogue on art and technology.” “In the Bay Area, the technology capital, there wasn’t quite a space to dissect art and technology together,” said Vargas. Thus far, LRLX has hosted 28 salons featuring more than 80 different artists and is fully sustained by its community.

This season, viewers will have a number of things to look forward to, said Vargas. He explained their desire to highlight more diversity within the field, “especially in this political climate,” and to make the space more inclusive to gender non-conforming folks and people of color. “The Light Exchange is continuing the trajectory,” Vargas said.

Scheduled presenters include creative collective The Black Aesthetic, interdisciplinary artist Christy Chan, and writer April Glaser.

Past salons have featured lively discussions. One that sticks out to Vargas in particular was with Caroline Sinders, a designer/user researcher whose work sparked a discussion about artificial intelligence and feminism. “To have someone so eloquently spoken, to be able to work through what her research is attempting to do and how she goes about it, is a very unique and interesting opportunity,” said Vargas.

The new LRLX season will begin on Tuesday, Sept, 19 at 7 p.m. in the living room of musician Andrew Maguire. RSVP through Eventbrite for the address.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Delta Wires Captures the Sound of Blues Music’s Migration

by j. poet
Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 11:35 AM

In 2008, Express readers named Delta Wires, Oakland’s premier blues outfit, the East Bay’s Best Live Band. Since then, the seven-man band, known for its blazing horn charts, has continued burning up stages, locally and internationally. Not too band for a band that was put together as a one-off project by Ernie Pinata, the band’s singer, harmonica player, and frontman.

Born and raised in Oakland, Pinata picked up the harmonica when he was 16 and taught himself to play by listening to records by Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters, and other urban blues greats. Although he played regularly in coffee shops, and once sat in with blues great Freddie King in Berkeley, Pinata wasn’t thinking about becoming a full-time musician. In 1970, he was working toward a master’s degree in fine arts, studying poetry and sociology at Oakland’s California College of Arts and Crafts, when he got interested in the mass migration of African-American workers during World War II. The sharecroppers who moved from Mississippi to work in Memphis, Chicago, and Oakland brought the blues with them and changed the history of popular American music.

Instead of writing a sociology paper on the subject, Pinata put together the first incarnation of Delta Wires to illustrate the evolution of the music, from its acoustic roots to the electric styles that were born in Chicago and Oakland. “We did a cappella field hollers, Robert Johnson and Son House songs, using acoustic guitars, fiddle, and harp and Chicago-style electric blues with a sax player, trying to copy Muddy Waters and the other Chess Records guys as close as we could.”

The presentation was a success, so Pinata booked a few dates at Oakland clubs, still thinking of the band as a fun, temporary project. “People started sitting in with us and things took off. We turned pro in 1971 and, after we got a standing ovation opening for Van Morrison in 1972, we knew we were on the right path. We’ve been going strong ever since.”

On Born in Oakland, their recently released album, they continue to impress as they burn through a collection of 10 tunes, seven of them composed by the band. The record is a culmination of the hard work they’ve put into their music since 1970. It’s getting airplay all over the country and generating rave reviews in publications like Chicago’s Midwest Record and the Lee County Courier in Tupelo, Mississippi.

“It took a couple of years to create this album,” said Pinata. “The songwriting was a totally collaborative process, with everyone in the band contributing to the writing and arranging.” Pinata said someone will suggest a horn line or contribute a guitar lick and the rest of the band will run with it, adding and subtracting parts until everything comes together. “This time we decided to throw out the rule book and let the music take over,” Pinata told the Express. “When Richard [Healy, the band’s guitar player] came up with the slow, bluesy hook for ‘Your Eyes,’ he said it didn’t sound like Delta Wires. I told him it was good to try something that was a little different. We just went with the flow.”

The response the band got from their fans when they started playing their new tunes was overwhelmingly positive. “We always play ‘em out before we go into the studio to make an album,” Pinata explained. “When you have a seven-piece band, with three horn players, you can’t record a song if it doesn’t have any history.”

On Born in Oakland, Delta Wires cover a lot of musical territory. With its greasy horn line and drummer Tony Huszar’s hard funk backbeat, “Sunny Day” tips its hat to Tower of Power, Oakland’s premier horn-driven R&B band during the early ’70s. “Devil’s in My Headset” rides a slow, Memphis soul groove and features a smoking solo by sax player Gerry Jonutz, complementing Pinata’s extended foray on harmonica. “Fun Time” is a fast jump blues; “Fine and Healthy Thing” dips into the swinging sound of West Coast blues, with a skewed shuffle rhythm and the horns front and center, while Healy’s layered guitars on “Vacation” suggest the Allman Brothers taking a holiday in Mississippi.

Pinata, bass player Tom Gerrits, and Huszar produced the album, with the rest of the band contributing ideas and arrangements. “When everybody has a say in the process, you make better music. We cut the basic tracks in seven days, then I went in and knocked out the vocals in four hours, a lot of them first takes. We all gave it everything we had, and it shows.”

Born in Oakland, the band’s seventh album, is the first that features mostly original songs. “Everything is still blues-based, but it’s more modern and adventurous than anything we’ve ever done before,” Pinata said. “When we play The Uptown, we’ll be doing all the songs on the album and creating a positive atmosphere. It’s a hometown gig and we’re gonna kick ass.”

Delta Wires’ CD release party will be held on Saturday, Sept. 9, at The Uptown, 1928 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. 8:30 p.m., $20, $25.

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Mistah F.A.B, Too $hort, and D’ Wayne Wiggins to Perform at Hurricane Harvey Benefit at Complex in Oakland

Proceeds will benefit Houston Unity Tribe, currently helping people on the ground.

by Azucena Rasilla
Fri, Sep 1, 2017 at 11:22 AM

  • Photo Courtesy Desley Brooks

As a result of Hurricane Harvey, 364,000 people have registered for assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as of Friday, according to FEMA, and that number is expected to rise in the coming days and weeks. More than 33,000 people are currently in shelters across Texas.

As people in Texas recover from the devastation left behind by Harvey, donations from across the country are pouring in. Texans’ star defensive J.J Watt has already raised more than $14 million from an online fundraiser that he started on Sunday. Sam Martin of the Detroit Lions started his own fundraising effort on Twitter, posting a video in which he invited his followers to donate items. In the video, Martin also vouched to donate six pounds of dog food for every retweet that the video gets, up to $10,000 worth of food. As of this morning, his video has more than 344,000 retweets.

Local artists, activists, and political figures in Oakland are also coming together to help in the relief effort: Mistah F.A.B, Too $hort, and D’ Wayne Wiggins, in partnership with councilmember Desley Brooks and Complex owner Oscar Edwards, are putting together a benefit concert next Wednesday at the venue in Downtown Oakland.

Tickets are $10, and the concert will benefit Houston Unity Tribe (H.U.T), a community-based organization in the greater Houston area. Those part of H.U.T have been on the ground in Houston helping with the relief efforts, collecting material goods, and distributing them among people who have been displaced from their homes.

Even if you can’t attend the show, you can still donate $10 to help this local Houston organization.

The event will be hosted by Kev Choice, Jennifer Johns, RyanNicole, Davey D, and many others.

Wednesday, Sept. 6, 6 p.m, $10, Complex, 420 14th St., Oakland,

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Keak Da Sneak in Stable but Critical Condition After Shooting

by Ruth Gebreyesus
Tue, Aug 22, 2017 at 4:24 PM

It's been one hell of a journey ,

A post shared by Keak Da Sneak (@therealkeakdasneak) on

Oakland rapper Charles Kente Williams, better known as Keak Da Sneak, is recovering from surgery after being shot multiple times early on Monday morning in Richmond. The 39-year-old rapper is best known for coining the term "hyphy" and for propelling the musical movement. He started his career as part of the influential Oakland crew 3X Krazy.

Before the shooting, on Sunday evening, Keak took the stage at Complex in Oakland for a headlining performance, according to the venue's general manager, Oscar Edwards. Mistah F.A.B., who was at that show, posted a video on his Instagram after the shooting (that he later deleted), confirming the incident and urging folks to give "each other roses while we’re here.”

Earlier this year, Keak was shot on January 20 ahead of a performance at The Venu nightclub in Tracy. Though there are few details about the shooting, Keak was able to perform days later, though hobbled, and using a cane.

The rapper realeased a video for his latest song, "Thunderdome," in June. In his unmistakable scratchy voice, Keak pays homage to Oakland's sports teams against the backdrop of the A's Coliseum and Oracle Arena.

Friday, August 18, 2017

La Peña Cultural Center Trying to Raise Much-Needed Funds Before the End of the Month

by Azucena Rasilla
Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 4:49 PM

Last year's Chilean Independence Day party - PHOTO COURTESY LA PEÑA
  • Photo courtesy La Peña
  • Last year's Chilean Independence Day party

For more than forty years, La Peña Cultural Center has been a pillar of the community in Berkeley. The nonprofit has been a crucial gathering place for artists of color and activists fighting for social justice. Today, La Peña is rallying the community to help it raise $20,000 by the end of the month.

Natalia Neira and Bianca Torres, co-directors of La Peña, explained that the financial crisis of 2008 forced many Bay Area nonprofits to severely cut their budgets. Once the economy recovered, some nonprofits still weren't able to restore them, forcing staff members to cut down on administrative and operational costs. Some funders chose to give grants to other up-and-coming nonprofits, Neira and Torres explained, while others decided to give grants once per fiscal year instead of multiple times per year, as they had done in the past.

La Peña’s annual budget is approximately $400,000. While, thankfully, the nonprofit isn't at risk of closing its doors, it does need to raise $20,000 by the end of the month in order to finish this fiscal year without debt.

Since September of last year, La Peña has put together 243 events and more than 1,000 classes serving the Bay Area community.

The nonprofit offsets the cost of maintaining the space, not by tickets sales, but through donations and grants. La Peña will start receiving a new grant from Leveraging A Network for Equity (LANE) in September. The money will be given over a period of four years and will be used for repairs, upgrades, recovery and change capital to help improve La Peña’s business model to make it profitable .

Neira and Torres say this new grant will have an enormous impact on La Peña in the coming fiscal years, but as of right now, they have to complete their current fundraiser; otherwise, they will have to tap into their emergency fund.

There are several ways in which the community can help: Attend an event and give an extra donation at the door, make a contribution online, or attend their upcoming "Friends of La Peña Concert" on Saturday, August 26 at 8 p.m. (There's no charge, but donations are accepted.) Lagunitas Brewery will be selling brews, and a portion of the sales will go toward La Peña's fundraising goal.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Art + Soul Returns To Oakland This Weekend

by Ruth Gebreyesus and Azucena Rasilla
Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 10:33 AM

  • Photo courtesy of Art + Soul

Art + Soul Oakland, the music and art festival that's an intrinsic part of summers in the Town, returns this weekend. Now in its 17th year, Art + Soul is continuing its tradition of honoring local musicians, artists and businesses. With the accelerated rise in festivals and an ever-changing landscape in downtown Oakland,  a homegrown one that comes back year after year at an accessible price point and a commitment to highlight local talent stands out as special. Beyond the stage and art vending booths, this year's Art + Soul is also featuring brews from Oakland United Brewing and Temescal Brewing.

On stage, Saturday's lineup features hometown hero Goapele whose latest project, Dreamseeker, is an evolution of the singer's neo-soul and jazz sound. "Stay", a nostalgic love ballad featuring BJ the Chicago Kid, stands out in its trap leaning beat that serve the singers' soulful voices flawlessly. Those of us who missed her weekend residency at Yoshi's back in May can celebrate one of Oakland's finest on Saturday.

Also on the lineup for Saturday is East Oakland singer and rapper Adrian Marcel who the Express profiled this June on his path from record label restrictions to an independent hustle that's found him success and freedom. Marcel's performance at Art + Soul will be his first in his hometown since his last album, GMFU was released this spring. The project, which features production from Raphael Saadiq, travels comfortably from rap to R&B and back through 16 tracks.

Taking the stage on Sunday is certified soul queen Angie Stone. Stone was last at Art + Soul in 2007 drawing the festival's largest crowds ever. Besides seven solo studio albums under her belt, Stone has also acted in stage productions, TV shows and films. Her set at Art + Soul will surely include her hits as well as classic covers infused with her soulful touch.

Oakland-Panamanian duo, Los Rakas have been hard at work. They recently dropped the remix of Y.L.S featuring Baby Gas, Young Chop, D.A.GO & Chapp. The duo also teamed up with the Regulars Only crew for a house party a few months ago, and in September, they will have their own “Rakas Boat Dance Party.” If you still have not seen Los Rakas live, their performance at the festival is your chance. As Oaklanders, it’s quite an honor that they will get to perform on the main stage. – Azucena Rasilla

“Original music that's bringing the boogie to ya booty,” that’s how this group of nine musicians define what Midtown Social is all about. Their eclectic combination of sounds is infections, and sure to put you to dance. The Art + Soul Oakland festival is the perfect stage for the band to showcase their music. Being local musicians they understand the struggles faced by the creative community, but soaring rents, and vapid gentrification will not prevent Midtown Social from continuing their quest to produce and perform. Don’t miss their set at the Oakland Jams stage on Sunday August 20. - AR

Free for children 12 and under, $7 for 65+ and youth 13-17, $12 for adults, August 19-20. For full lineups and more information, visit

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