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Goapele 

When: April 29-30, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., May 1, 7 & 9 p.m. 2011
Price: $28
Part of our enduring fascination with Goapele is the obvious: her sinewy vocal style and equally sinewy physique. But she also has a compelling history, as an East Bay native who really did build her career entirely from scratch. Goapele is beautiful enough, and talented enough, to resemble one of those R&B starlets who gets "discovered" and manufactured by a producer. But she actually has her roots in the local hip-hop scene - as a teen she sang at La Peña Cultural Center with her brother's DJ crew, Local 1200 - and in a family-run cottage industry. Back in 2002, Goapele muscled her way onto KMEL and KBLX playlists, and eventually went national. Now she's an indie artist again, tapping back into her hip-hop roots. Goapele's 2010 single, "Milk and Honey," featured Auto-Tuned vocals over a murky, bass-heavy beat produced by Bedrock. It wasn't so much an attempt to placate fans as an experiment with new technology. She'll appear in a more stripped-down form at Yoshi's (1330 Fillmore St., San Francisco), Friday through Sunday, Apr. 29-May 1. Fri.-Sat. 8 & 10 p.m.; Sun. 7 & 9 p.m. $28. Yoshis.com.
— Rachel Swan

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