The Hum ~ The Same Old Same Old?

The seasons are changing. This long, hot summer won’t be over officially until next Friday (Sept. 22, @ 1:02 p.m.) but cruel winds have already “hit heavy on the borderline,” and recently between fires and floods and guns on the Plaza, things seem out of control. How can we put things right? How about with music, dancing and friends?

photo by Bob Doran (BD)

The quintessential Equinox event, the North Country Fair, serves as a renewal of sorts. Music, art and yes, peace take over the Arcata Plaza and vicinity Saturday and Sunday. Now in its 44rd year, the festival has been run by a group of locals who just slightly facetiously call themselves the Same Old People.

Mark the potter is one of the Same Old People ~ pic by BD

Some of the founders have moved on, died off, or found other things to do, but the peace and love spirit remains unchanged. There’s been some evolution, but the Fair hasn’t changed much over the decades. It was a one day event a long, long time ago and it expanded to two days with little resistance, but that was decades ago.

Paul DeMark in the NC Fair decades ago ~ pic by a younger BD

There’s still non-stop music and dancing all day on two street stages and a section of lawn by the flagpole. “The weekend will feature 18 local bands, dancers, martial artists, Zumba and more,” as they put it. Take your pick:

This year, with steady hands on the till and a solid director, there was some discussion about toying with the same old status quo. You might think, if it works, why fiddle with it? Well, a big thing is actually changing: The parades are swapping days. Why? In the beginning we had the Northcoast Environmental Center’s All Species Parade, where you dressed up as animals or whatever. (I dressed as a lawn once, but it wasn’t much of a costume.)

Snake Wizard ~ BD

Then the samba tradition came along on Saturdays, with dancers and drummers in requisite tropical outfits. That injected new blood and excitement. New traditions formed. At this point we have several drum/dance troupes who join together every year as Samba da Alegria. As the S.O.P. website notes, the Samba Parade “always promises to be a highlight of the Fair.”

Golden girls ~ BD

The trouble was, the event seemed to be front loaded for Saturday. Everyone seemed to want to experience the first day of the Fair — and samba — Saturdays and there was a serious drop-off in attendance for Sundays. This year there’s a little social engineering at work. Taking advantage of the fact that a lot of people are hooked on samba, and they’re betting people will come two days. Or at least more will come Sunday. We’ll see.

Here’s the thing. There’s no admission. The whole event is free. But it takes money to run the fair, to pay a little to the performers, rent the port-a-potties, hire security, etc. That money comes from booth rental—people who sell anything from candles, pottery and tie-dyes to lemonade, tacos, hamburgers, gyros, etc.

David always has a great costume ~ BD

A lot of craftspeople work a circuit of fairs over the summer. All the people who sell stuff year after year want you there to shop both days. It may not seem that way to you, but fairs are about commerce. Come dressed up as your favorite animal and prepare to dance, but make sure you spend some money since that’s what makes the world go ‘round.      

Hispanic rhythms

If you’ve been paying attention to demographics, you know that California is a increasingly diverse place. With the changes, HSU’s student body has become more diverse—and that’s a good thing. For one thing, about a third off the students now identify as Hispanic, and those who book music are responding. Thus we have a show like the Associated Students have planned Saturday night at the Van Duzer with Sotomayor and Calafia Armada.


By chance that Saturday is also Mexico Independence Day (no, it’s not Cinco de Mayo) when Father Miguel Hidalgo rang a bell and made the Cry of Dolores (en Español, El Grito de Dolores) to start a revolution. The revolution is still happening musically with ancient rhythms mixed with modern sounds.

Sotomayor is an electronica project of Raul and Paulina Sotomayor, siblings out of Mexico City who use the classic rhythms of Columbian cumbia and Peruvian chichi, fusing them with cool synths. A few years ago their premier album Salvaje spawned the red hot/cool single “Cielo” and filled dancefloors in Mexico and around the world. They haven’t stopped and neither has the beat. (It may be hard to keep people in their seats at the Duzer.)

Calafia Armada

Opening the show is another rhythm centric band, Calafia Armada, one of several combos in “Cumbia Cartel: Oakland Familia” a collective connecting musicians, DJs and fans in the Bay Area. Jose, who plays a drum called a tambora, explained that Calafia Armada offers “a fusion of traditional cumbia Colombiana and other AfroColombian rhythms like chande, mapale, bullerengue, along with other rhythms of Latin America.”

Percussion is paramount in their sound. About half of Calafia Armada play some type of drum, with guitar, bass and horns carrying the melody. The young musicians are learning old songs with deep familial roots.

“My dad was a musician in El Salvador then in the Bay Area, and cumbia was his thing, so It was around me since birth,” said Jose. “[When] he told me cumbia had roots in Colombia and Africa with indigenous people, that's when my journey began, searching for the roots of cumbia in its most traditional form, a journey that has opened the doors locally in the Bay Area Colombian community.”

It’s all about opening doors, listening to the music, not building walls to shut it out. Open your ears and your mind will follow.

Dream on…

Oryan Paterson-Jones from BPBS Arts & Media can’t remain still, he’s a busy man. He just got back from Cuba where he was recording folkloric rhythms and music, now the dream machine he calls Beast, Please Be Still has an ambitious project unfolding over the weekend.

BPBS Fest 2017 features two days of music with just short of a dozen musical acts performing in four venues.

It all starts Friday afternoon with a series of shows where you’re invited to “walk or bike from one event to the next.” It begins at 4 p.m. with experimental folk at Northtown Coffee by Oryan’s friends Vinnie Byrne and Eva L'izard from Oakland and Crowey from Portland. Then at Blondie’s (at 7 p.m.) hear rock classics from past years by The Gritty Kitties and Rotten Cheeto and the Twisted Lickas. Day one concludes in the Miniplex at Richard’s Goat (at 9 p.m.) with Oryan’s experimental ambient outfit Die Geister Beschwören and two darkwave bands Ghoulhand and Deep Dark Light.

He’ll try to get some sleep to rest up for the big show at The Sanctuary: The 7th annual production of (recurring) DREAMS. Oryan explains, ”The first production was performed in 2010,” when Datura Blues (another of his projects) got into live film scoring. “Akira Kurosawa's 1990 film Dreams was adopted for its segmented narrative, thematic imagery and topical relevance. (The story is divided into eight short films, each recalling a dream Kurosawa had over the course of his life).

“We project Dreams onto a large screen. Bands perform to the movie in real time but from behind the screen. In this regard, the audience has no way of predicting what will happen, where particular sounds emanate from, what instruments are being used, who is ‘on stage,’ etc.

“This means the focus is almost entirely upon the movie's plot and imagery. This is what makes it different from similar events: The audience is not watching a band perform to film, they are following a story, with new eyes and ears,” and essentially joining in a waking dream state.

Drift into Dreams at 7 p.m. “sharp,” first with Opossum Sun Trail performing behind the segment "Sunshine Through The Rain,” then Five Minutes Alone ("The Peach Orchard”), Ghoulhand (“The Blizzard”), Die Geister Beschwören (“The Tunnel”), The Gritty Kitties (“Crows” with Martin Scorsese as Van Gogh), Kit Lamb (“Mount Fuji In Red”), Deep Dark Light (“The Weeping Demon”) ending with Crowey creating a soundtrack for "Village Of The Watermills.” Then it’s time to wake up, at least until it’s time to go home and dream good dreams. We can only hope.

Where it's @?

Forgive me if I left a whole lot out of this week’s paper. There are many more things going on, for example...

Thursday (Sept 14) 

Rex Manning Day / Julio Perdido / Slop 

@Breakfast All Day Collective @7pm
Rex Manning Day is an emo punk band from Olympia with members of G.L.O.S.S., Dyke Drama, Hail Seizures, and Box Fan.
Fulfilling all of your emotional punk dreams from the ‘90s.
w/Slop ~ queer punk out of Arcata, Julio Perdido ~ Songs of resistance, from Arcata, also more lovely acts tba + in-between bands dj dance party
Always All Ages / Sober Space / Safer Space / ADA Accessible


Friday, Sept. 15

What: Seattle-based Quartet Hunter Gather ~ Who: Levi Gillis, Alex Oliverio, Evan Woodle & Ronan Delisle

Where: The Crib ~ When: Friday, 15 Sept. doors-6pm, music-7pm

Why: to continue our ever-lasting amazement at the invention of young musicians these days.


The Whole Truth and nuthin' but . . . .  We’ve been fortunate to host some fascinating musics this year made by young players who are actively engaged in practicing ‘jazz’ music in the true spirit of experimentation the genre has always thrived on.  In these attempts to describe what it is I find worth listening to in these artists; I’ve often mentioned the incredible variety of influences young players are bringing to their game. The sheer amount of musical material available at the cost of a few mouse clicks is infecting naturally creative personalities who meet and bounce ideas off one another resulting in never before heard and endlessly fascinating sonic brews.  Yet another of these groups, Hunter Gather, led by saxophonist, Levi Gillis, is arriving Friday with the latest musical adventure.   Typical of the needs of these new ideas the group sports a non-traditional instrumentation to the tune of 2 electric guitars and a drummer.  Levi was first through the humble digs a summer ago with the Seattle-based quartet, The Sky is a Suitcase, presenting an evening of Ornette Coleman inspired jazz, an evening made memorable by his big tone, endlessly varied expression and ideas.  Hunter Gather can be seen as an exploration of another facet of this wonderfully creative young saxophonist, one that indulges his inescapable exposure to the textures of rock music but still tempered by the taste and dynamics of jazz and composition.   Yet another hallmark of this music is a general difficulty in describing it, but then it’s meant to be heard rather than described.  So perhaps it’s better to listen to it here and decide for ourselves the myriad influences we hear coursing through this music.
       Doors will open at 6 pm for the usual soup, fresh bread, drinks and conviviality with music starting at 7.  More information about Hunter Gather and the rest of the music coming through the humble digs can be found on the CribConcerts webpage

HumanNature presents ((((((((((( Shimshai Trio featuring Eliyahu Sills ))))))))))) LIVE!


@Arcata Playhouse with Eliyahu Sills (bass and flutes) and Marlon Aldana (drums and percussion) joining Shimshai for this show!



Kirtan with Shemaia and the Skywater Band @Om Shala Yoga, 858 10th St, Arcata @7:30pm

Miss Claire Bent

@Westhaven Art Center  Third Friday Jazz: RLa with returning guest, Miss Claire Bent

Claire is probably the most sought after young jazz singer in Humboldt. Her subtle phrasing coupled with a unique scat style, create a performance like no other. She is a regular through the whole Humboldt area, and has performed many times with RLa.


Troyboi “Left is Right Tour” w/ Meaux Green and Slumberjack @Arcata Theatre Lounge @8pm

One of South East London’s most closely guarded secrets has recently emerged from the shadows and is set to take the music industry by storm. Known only as TroyBoi, this multi-talented musician recently signed to Timbaland’s right-hand man and US Super Producer, Jim Beanz, things are heating up faster than ever! Producing a wide variety of genres, but specializing in extraordinarily unique, versatile, and highly musical trap beats, TroyBoi 

Barn Dance! All ages, all abilities welcome. 7:30 Arcata Vet’s Hall ~ Lyndsey Battle calls the dances, and the Striped Pig Stringband provides the music. Come by yourself, with a partner, or in a group. No experience needed. A great way to kick off the fall! Sponsored by the Humboldt Folklife Society.

Al Gorgeous

*∆*∆* YAMS Presents *∆*∆*

A showcase of touring and local acts at Blondies Food and Drink! Featuring… Al Gorgeous - Indie Rock ~ Astro Tan - Portland Psychedelic R&B ~ Dimboi - Bedroom Rock ~ All Ages - Free but $5 donation is suggested and appreciated!

Kindred Spirits Friday @The Logger Bar 9pm ~ They play some kind of spiritgrass or other...


Then on Saturday, Sept. 16 (after the Fair)

@Blue Lake Casino ~ Familyman, Junior and company: The Wailers with Irie Rockers opening @9pm. Wailers on around 10pm-ish

The legendary Wailers band returns to bring its revolutionary sound to fans around the world. Steered by famed bassist and founder Aston “Familyman” Barrett, and joined in solidarity with original Wailers’ guitarists Julian Junior Marvin and Donald Kinsey, The Wailers continue to make musical history.

From 1973 to 1980, Bob Marley & The Wailers recorded, toured, and performed before countless millions worldwide. Since 1981, Familyman and Junior have carried on the mission to “keep The Wailers together,” just as Bob requested, affirming: “By doing that, you keep me alive through the music.”

In tribute to the late co-founder and drummer Carlton “Carly” Barrett, The Wailers present Aston Barrett, Jr. on drums. It’s startling how this young powerhouse delivers with his uncle’s inspiring landmark style. Lead singer Joshua David Barrett is a Rastaman by lifestyle and culture. Josh delivers Bob’s powerful message of Jah love and unity through his performance and interaction with the audience.

Also on stage are singers Shema McGregor, daughter of I Three Judy Mowatt, and Hassanah, a multi-cultural powerhouse; veteran Owen “Dreadie” Reid on guitar/bass; and Javaughn Bond on keyboards. The performance anchor is live engineer Dennis Thompson, the man responsible for The Wailers sound in stadiums, clubs, and studios throughout the ‘70s.

There are more than 250 million Bob Marley & The Wailers recordings sold, including 1977’s Exodus, anointed Best Album of the Century in 1999 by Time Magazine, and “One Love,” named Song of the Millennium that same year by BBC. Spin Magazine listed Bob Marley & The Wailers at #4 of the “50 Greatest Bands of All Times,” while The New York Times named Bob Marley the most significant musician of the 20th century. These accolades were made possible by the creative, timeless, and distinctive music, lyrics and production of these incomparable Wailers musicians.

@Humboldt Brews ~ Absynth Q and Kingfoot together again. Keep the Fair energy rolling with more fun from your two favorite dance bands for only $5!

Rosewater: A Tribute to the Grateful Dead @The Jam

Next show! Rosewater live on September 16th at The Jam Arcata! This is an extra special show, Trevor Kumec our original bassist will be in town for North Country Fair, we figured this would be a great chance to unite once again for a fun full night of Grateful Dead tunes!

Arcata Bay String Quartet

@HSU Fulkerson Recital Hall

Even in a tiny jewel of a place like Humboldt County the stars align and a new artistic force emerges. Please join the members of the Arcata Bay String Quartet for their inaugural concert on the HSU campus on Saturday evening, September 16th. This Faculty Artist Series concert will feature HSU music faculty violinists Cindy Moyer and Karen Davy, community viola player Sherry Hanson, and faculty cellist Garrick Woods.

The first half of the concert will include classic repertoire, including the Quartet in G Major, Op. 64, No. 4 by the "father of the string quartet" Franz Joseph Haydn, and Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 13, a much more dramatic early quartet by Felix Mendelssohn that is modeled on the late quartets of Beethoven. This is accessible music for everyone and could serve as an excellent introduction to anyone curious about live music performance. The second half of the concert will include quartets by two living American composers. This is relatively new music, but still very accessible and not difficult to listen to or to understand. The Ken Benshoof quartet's "sweeter than wine (2015)" is a jazz influenced work composed for the Kronos Quartet's "50 for the Future" series. More jazz influence can be heard in the folk music inspired work of Gwyneth Walker, specifically her "Traveling Songs for String Quartet," with familiar titles like Sweet Betsy from Pike, Follow the Drinkin’ Gourd, Coming Home, and Arkansas Traveler.

The players of the ABSQ bring together formidable musicianship and performance experience. HSU Music Department Chair Cindy Moyer is an Eastman School of Music trained violinist who regularly performs solo, orchestral, and chamber music, in addition to being a teacher, adjudicator, and clinician. Karen Davy has played and taught violin and viola in Humboldt County for nearly twenty years. She has performed with the Humboldt and Eureka Symphonies, Symphony of the Redwoods, and North State Symphony. Both violinists have been teachers at the Sequoia and Humboldt Chamber Music Workshops. Sherry Hanson is a retired elementary school teacher from Fortuna who is an active participant in the north coast chamber music scene. She is Principal Viola in the Eureka Symphony and also plays in the North State Symphony and the Symphony of the Redwoods. Garrick Woods is the HSU Music Department's newest faculty member, with degrees from the University of Arizona and the University of Utah. He is a multi-instrumentalist who plays and teaches cello and bass at HSU, and is the conductor of Humboldt Symphony.

Saturday, September 16 at 7:00 p.m. in Fulkerson Recital Hall. $10 General, $5 Senior/Child, $5 for HSU students with ID.


On Sunday, Sept. 17...

Michael Franti and Spearhead
@Van Duzer Theatre ~ CenterArts ~ @8pm [Note: For some reason the Arcata show is not listed on Michael's tour web-world via Facebook. Not certain why not.]

111 Events · May - Nov 2017
We need music more than ever to be a positive voice! Here's to all the music makers and people who enjoy music simply because of the way it makes them feel. Keep shining bright! We hope to see you on this summer's #LOVEOUTLOUD Tour!


Tuesday, Sept. 19......

Black Uhuru @Humboldt Brews with "special guests" Irie Rockers

Derrick “Duckie” Simpson the “Gong Gong Gullie” is the founder and leader for reggae’s BLACK UHURU. Although going through numerous lead singers and musicians they have remained to be one of the most recognized and prolific reggae bands for over 50 years.

The roots of BLACK UHURU were formed in Kingston Jamaica’s Waterhouse district also known as “Firehouse” in the early 60′s. Though considered to be one of Jamaica’s toughest neighborhoods it’s home to several other reggae singers and musicians. It was where Duckie Simpson grew up and learned to sing from boyhood friends Winston “Pipe” Matthews and Lloyd “Bread” McDonald of Wailing Souls. He recorded four tracks with Wailing Souls before forming his own group.

The original Black Uhuru (Swahili for freedom) was Derrick “Duckie” Simpson, Euvin “Don Carlos” Spencer and Rudolph “Garth” Dennis. They only recorded a few singles “Folk Songs” “Time Is On Our Side” and “Slow Coach” before separating. Don went solo and Garth joined Wailing Souls...

Despite all of BLACK UHURU’s change of different singers and musicians the one thing that has always remained is Derrick “Duckie” Simpson. Much respect to a legendary figure for Reggae Music. The group is presently working on releasing a new album soon to come. It features Duckie on lead.


Get your eardrums ready! Stranger Than Fact will be up from Oakland and supported by local bands Dead Drift and Droll Weevil. You better go ahead and take Wednesday off, because how can a Tuesday night get any better??

Stranger Than Fact


Dead Drift

Droll Weevil  [click on both words to connect and/or hear some music]

That's all for now...