Just about everyone has been affected by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. In the music world, no one knows when the box office will open again, and even as many of us return to work in the coming weeks and months, working musicians will continue to be cut off from the clubs, dancehalls, theaters, and festivals that sustain them. And the rest of us will be cut off, too, from something we need now more than ever. So we’re bringing the gigs to the artists, and the artists to you — straight from their living room to yours.
“Working from Home,” a co-production of the Arhoolie Foundation and Little Village Foundation, will feature intimate mini house concerts recorded live by traditional musicians around the country trying to make it through this current public health crisis doing what they do best. For every installment, we will provide links where you can give tips directly to the performers, and we will match the first $500 raised for each.
EPISODE SEVEN: Aki Kumar and Rome Yamilov
This week’s episode features Aki Kumar, a native of Mumbai, India who left for the United States with the intention of working as a software engineer when he discovered the sounds of the blues, and his life changed dramatically. One of the hardest working artists on the live music scene today, this San Jose-based blues musician has successfully blended elements of Indian music into his musical and visual presentation, making for a multi-cultural mash-up that sounds like no one else, yet never loses touch with its blues foundation. Hope you enjoy.
EPISODE SIX: Wilson Savoy
This week’s episode features Cajun dynamo Wilson Savoy at home in Lafayette, Louisiana, bringing you a little bit of everything — from traditional Cajun accordion and fiddle to rockin’ Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles tunes on the piano. The guy can sing, too. Hope you enjoy.
EPISODE FIVE: Mary Flower
This week’s “Working From Home” features award-winning Portland, Oregon-based singer/guitarist/songwriter Mary Flower, a prodigious talent whose seasoned skills have established her as one of America’s foremost roots performers. So much so that legendary Jefferson Airplane/Hot Tuna guitarist Jorma Kaukonen admiringly described Mary Flower as “a national treasure in your own backyard.”
EPISODE FOUR: Familia Longoria
This week’s episode features three generations of La Familia Longoria from Brownsville, Texas. Juan Longoria Sr. has performed for over 50 years throughout the Rio Grande Valley and the state of Texas as the accordion player and leader of “Los Halcones Del Valle.” His son Juan Jr. continues the family tradition in his group Conteño and as founding director of the conjunto music program at Los Fresnos High School. One alumnus of the program is Juan III, who plays the accordion and bajo-quinto, and in 2018 participated in the Texas Folklife Apprenticeship Program.
EPISODE THREE: The Sons of The Soul Revivers
This week’s Episode 3 “Working From Home” features a fan favorite: The Sons of The Soul Revivers. Walter, James and Dwayne Morgan grew up singing together in San Francisco. Living now in Vallejo, Ca. Their passion for quartet music continues with a technique and passion unrivaled.
EPISODE TWO: C.J. Chenier
This week we present C.J. Chenier, coming to you straight from his backyard with a short set of zydeco and blues. Behind him are some personal mementos and a photo of his famous father: the late Clifton Chenier, undisputed King of Zydeco. The accordion C.J is playing belonged to his dad, who called it Black Gal. Clifton gave it to C.J. It doesn’t leave the house often, if ever, so it’s a rare treat to see it in good shape after all these years and coming to life again in C.J.’s able hands.