On April 3, Family Productions, Zacksongs Music, and JPC Records present the Mission Family Groove at 12 Galaxies in the Mission District of San Francisco, CA. The main stage will feature Hyim & The Fat Foakland Orchestra, the Garrin Benfield Band, and the JP Cutler Band. Local songwriters Holcombe Waller and Paige and Wendy De Rosa will perform on a second stage.

Garrin Benfield, JP Cutler, Hyim (left to right)
By Matthew Berkeley
Mission Family Groove is the brainchild of three local emerging musical artists: Hyim, Garrin Benfield, and JP Cutler. Helping continue to bridge the gap between local independent music, the visual art community, arts education, and various national non-profit political organizations, these musicians are launching their annual affair to benefit SFUSD's School of the Arts. The SOTA is a high school that specializes in creative and independent thinking and artistic and academic excellence for promising students of the arts. Having been touched by the arts in their own schooling, this group of talented musicians has a vision of returning the favor to a flourishing local school.

The headlining acts for this event preserve the spirit of songwriting and have full ensembles determined to shake the dance floor. Hyim's music is filled with sexy samba and funky backbeat rhythms. He leads his urban world-groove band with vocals reminiscent of Michael Franti and Sting while adding beautiful piano melodies atop three-part vocal harmonies and banging horn parts. His group, The Fat Foakland Orchestra, features drummer Michael Faiella (Wyclef Jean), bassist Mark Calderon (Carter Beauford of Dave Matthews Band, Leo Nocentelli of The Meters), and percussionist Ajayi Jackson (Omar Sosa). Garrin Benfield's music has been gaining attention lately with his song "Home" being featured on the Not In Our Name CD compilation. Other artists highlighted on the release include Ani DiFranco, Les Claypool, Charlie Hunter, Ozomatli, and Spearhead. Benfield was recently a finalist at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and his trio has toured as an opener on several West Coast runs with SF legend Boz Scaggs. This evening will mark the release of his new record August Live a compilation of live material from his most recent summer tour. JP Cutler is a singer/guitarist who blends his Americana musical upbringing with his love of ambient music. His deft fingerpicking style often reflects the work of fellow Minnesotan Leo Kottke, and the suspended tonal inventions in his songs are of their own unique nature.

The progressive organizations involved in the event are Rock The Vote, Little Kids Rock, Not In Our Name, Bread & Roses, and Our City. Several Bay Area visual artists will be displaying their work throughout the venue, and there will be some surprise special musical guest appearances.

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[Published on: 3/18/04]

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