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When: Fri., May 11, 8 & 10 p.m., Sat., May 12, 8 & 10 p.m. and Sun., May 13, 6 & 8 p.m. 2012
Price: $35

While her voice is an acquired taste, there's no question about Goapele's talent as a musician. Trained in Oakland Youth Choir, Berklee College of Music, and at local hip-hop shows -- where she often sang hooks over beats provided by her brother's DJ crew, Local 1200 -- Goapele nonetheless has a largely instinctual way of singing. Like her patchwork fashions and worldish jewelry, Goapele's music is cobbled together from a variety of influences. Neo-soul and hip-hop are the most prominent among them, but she also cites the South African singer Miriam Makeba, and a lot of her phrasing is steeped in jazz and blues. Not to mention that Goapele always surrounds herself with top talent. Pianist and Berkeley High alum Michael Aaberg wrote the jazzy parallel fifths that characterize her most famous track, "Closer," while local duo Teddy Thunderbolt and Dan Electric produced the metallic bass line that undergirds her new single, "Play." The latter almost perfectly encapsulates Goapele's appeal: It's hip, electronic, and sensual, but if you strip out the software, it's pure blues. Goapele performs at Yoshi's San Francisco (1330 Fillmore St., San Francisco) Friday through Sunday, May 11-13. $26-$35.

— Rachel Swan


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