Taken from Common Ground (August 2003)
Everybody deserves music, sweet music
by Nicole Kennedy
"Am I a folk artist?" Michael Franti asked Utah Phillips on stage at the 26th annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival. In a very real sense, folk music is the sound and words of and for the people. And Franti believes that in his sexy fusion funk, hip-hop and soul, "the consciousness is in the music." Addressing everything from the present day geopolitical balance of power to what it is to love nowadays, Franti's sound resonates deeply with today's audience.
Michael Franti at this year's
Vancouver Folk Festival
His new album Everybody Deserves Music contains the song Bomb the World in which Franti says it like it is, "We can bomb the world to pieces but we can't bomb it into peace." Franti left his old label Capital Records, where he created albums like Home and the silky smooth Chocolate Supa Highway, when they suggested he team up with Wil Smith. With the goal to "create a label for conscious, funky, human music," Boo Boo Wax was born. The first release on the new record label was Michael Franti: Live at the Baobab, recording the acoustic Franti in a cafe in his hometown of San Francisco. Next was his album Stay Human. Using a local radio station's reports in between Franti's engaging rhymes and soul funk rhythms, Stay Human tells a devastating tale of the fictional Sister Fatima.
I spent my Saturday, July 19, like a Michael Franti Vancouver Folk Music Festival roadie touring with him from an early sit down song workshop under the trees, to a late afternoon hip-hop soul dance party in the blazing sun, and then on to the evening's main event stage beneath a starry night sky. It was here that Michael Franti's activist magic shone brightly. He enchanted 20,000 people getting them to dance, raise their arms holding hands of friends and sing, "Everybody deserves music, sweet music!" More folk deserve to hear his sweet music.
Check out this amazing artist at http://www.spearheadvibrations.com/. He is Common Ground's VFF favorite, we will let you know when he's next in town.