New Works Debut this Summer with “Interplay: In Concert with Nature”

A series of artist commissions returns this summer at Stern Grove Festival

Part of Stern Grove Festival’s founding mission is to provide paid performing opportunities for local artists. The Festival is also a place for local artists to connect and interact with their community in an intimate and admission-free setting.

This summer, Stern Grove Festival continues this legacy with its local artist commission series. Ten local artists performing this summer will debut new works during the 79th Season. Using the the theme, “Interplay: In Concert with Nature” as a point of departure, artists will craft these new works inspired by the unique “interplay” between performance, nature, and the audience.

Fans can look forward to new works in hip-hop music and dance, funk, Afro-Colombian, synth pop, and more from the following local artists:

Keep up with the Festival’s blog and connect with us on Facebook for a glimpse behind the scenes as the artists work on these new pieces.

midtown-social-square

Midtown Social

bayonics-square

Bayonics

hieroglpyhics-square

Hieroglyphics

mixd-ingrdnts-square

Mix’d Ingrdnts

golden-state-breakers-square

Golden State Breakers

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John Brothers Piano Company

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La Misa Negra

MJ's Brass Boppers

MJ’s Brass Boppers

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Afrolicious

astronauts-etc-square

Astronauts, etc.

SGF Playlist :: Stern Grove Festival’s 79th Season Line-Up

Welcome to Stern Grove Festival’s 79th season! This year, the admission-free concert line-up features some big names like king of funk George Clinton, the GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY-winning Julieta Venegas, and the Bay Area’s own groundbreaking hip hop collective Hieroglpyhics. These major artists are accompanied by a ring of impressive local performers, from the Mission District’s nightclub-turned-big-band, Afrolicious, to the swinging styles of John Brothers Piano Company, who got their start (literally) in train stations and on street corners around the Bay Area.

“Aside from the diversity and world class talent that we’ll be having on our stage this summer, I’m proud that we’re highlighting local artists each week,” says Judy Tsang, Director of Programming for Stern Grove Festival. “The Bay Area is full of talent and we should all get to know and support the artists who live here.”

In addition to the artists and bands shared in the 79th Season’s Spotify Playlist below are three incredible dance groups: the world-famous San Francisco Ballet (performing 7/31), the all-girl dance group Mix’d Ingrdnts (7/3), and the b-boys of the Golden State Breakers (7/3).

Please visit Stern Grove Festival’s concert page for a complete list of and further information on the performing artists of the 79th season, or visit any of the Artist Pages below:

June 19
Janelle Monáe
Midtown Social

June 26
George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic
Bayonics

July 3
Hieroglyphics
Mix’d Ingrdnts
Golden State Breakers

July 10
San Francisco Symphony

July 17
Joan Osborne’s Soul Revue
John Brothers Piano Company

July 24
Julieta Venegas
La Misa Negra

July 31
San Francisco Ballet

August 7
The O’Jays
MJ’s Brass Boppers

August 14
ATOMIC BOMB! The Music of William Onyeabor feat Jamie Lidell, Luke Jenner, Money Mark, Sinkane, and more

August 21
The New Pornographers
Astronauts, etc.

SGF Playlist :: WOMEX 2015 Highlights


Posted by Judy Tsang, Director of Programming

During my recent travels, I made a stop at this year’s WOMEX conference in Budapest. Every year, WOMEX brings artists, agents, artist managers, and arts presenters from all over the world together; this year, WOMEX hosted over 2,500 delegates from 90 countries over five days of workshops, networking, and band showcases. There are always new and exciting bands to discover (and re-discover) at the conference. Here is a playlist and videos of some of my favorites from this year’s conference.

A-Wa

Three sisters from Israel who combine Yemenite folk singing with electronic dance music.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3bjZlmsb4A

Tritha Electric
Funk- and rock-infused band fronted by Bengali singer/guitarist Tritha Sinha.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gu3lNIKRtJ8

Artist Talk with Talib Kweli and Davey D

Artist Talk with Talib Kweli and Davey D

Talib Kweli and Davey D

Hip-hop artist Talib Kweli gave a pre-concert Artist Talk at Stern Grove Festival on August 16, 2015. Led by KPFA radio host Davey D, the interview explores Kweli’s activism and involvement in the Black Lives Matter movement, his collaboration with legendary MC Rakim, and the challenges of making music as an independent artist. Listen to the interview below.

Zakiya Harris – “Interplay” and Kids Camp

We met up with local singer Zakiya Harris during the last day of her songwriting Kids Camp at Stern Grove Festival. She spoke about being one of the seven local artists chosen to participate in this season’s “Interplay” local artist commission series, her dynamic sound and band, Elephantine, and more.

She’ll perform her new song this Sunday, August 16 when she opens for Talib Kweli at 2 p.m.


Interplay – Con Brio

We attended a rehearsal with local funksters Con Brio in their Oakland studio to hear the band’s (almost finished) new song “Wings of Love”, which was created as part of the Festival’s local artist commission series, titled “Interplay: Artists In Concert With Nature”.

When front man Ziek McCarter got his first wave of inspiration to begin the commissioned piece, he was – believe it or not – in nature! After a long morning walk the band began throwing ideas around, and they eventually crafted a slow, grooving piece.

But after attending the tUnE-yArDs concert earlier this summer at Stern Grove Festival, both McCarter and keyboardist Micah Dubreuil knew that slow wouldn’t cut it. Their goal is to make everyone in the Grove dance and they created a completely different, high-energy song that will debut on the Stern Grove Festival stage.

Check out the interview and learn more about one of our favorite local bands, who will open for funk legends Morris Day and The Time on Sunday, August 9, 2015 at 2 p.m. at Stern Grove Festival.


Artist Talk at the Troc with SF Ballet Principal Dancer Lorena Feijoo

Prior to SF Ballet’s only summer appearance on the Stern Grove Festival stage, Principal Dancer Lorena Feijoo was interviewed by Dance Educator Mary Wood at an Artist Talk at the Troc. Listen below to hear about her thoughts on performing with San Francisco Ballet, and more. This talk was held on July 26, 2015 in the Trocadero Clubhouse at Stern Grove Festival.


Interplay – Bhi Bhiman

We asked local singer/songwriter and guitarist Bhi Bhiman to be part of the Festival’s local artist commission series, titled “Interplay: Artists in Concert with Nature”, in which seven local artists create pieces specifically for the Stern Grove Festival stage.

Bhi feels very comfortable in a place like Stern Grove, which he says reminds him of his hometown, St Louis. He wrote “Going Back Home” as a tribute to the feeling of missing your friends, your family, and everything that makes you feel “home.” For Bhi, his home is now in the Bay Area with his wife and daughter. Listen below to hear a preview of the song and learn about his creative process behind the commission. Come hear Bhi perform it live this Sunday, August 2 at Stern Grove Festival, when he opens for five-time GRAMMY-winning artist, Mary Chapin Carpenter.


Interplay – Kawika Alfiche of Hālau ‘o Keikiali’i

We caught up with kumu Kawika Alfiche of Hālau ‘o Keikiali’i at a Kids Day at Stern Grove, where a group of 100 kids learned the art of hula dance.

Hālau ‘o Keikiali’i was commissioned by Stern Grove Festival, as part of the “Interplay: Artists In Concert with Nature” series, to create a new work to debut this summer. Alfiche and the Hālau are crafting a 30-person hula dance and musical piece that represents both their hometown of San Francisco as well as the natural elements of Stern Grove itself.