CopperWire – Stories – acoustic hip hop video

Hey! We made a rap video.

We shot this at an undisclosed location on Valencia and 21st Street in San Francisco two weeks before their album dropped and shot up the top 5 on college radio charts. We kind of messed up the sound recording, but Chris Coniglio (who played the guitar) did an amazing job fixing it up so it sounds as good as it does in the video. Chris co-wrote much of the music and produced the album. Continue reading

Darren Johnston: The making of Songs From Seven Miles

Last weekend I got to sit in on a rehearsal of Darren Johnston’s new project Songs From Seven Miles. For the song cycle Darren interviewed eight immigrants from Peru, South Korea, Burma, Russia, Mexico, Bulgaria and Egypt who now all live in San Francisco. He then wrote a libretto entirely from direct quotes from these interviews. The songs bear the names of the interviewees. The song in this video is Carlos. Carlos is from Peru. Continue reading

Gaucho’s new old video + fundraiser

This video is from Gaucho’s 2010 recording sessions with Tamar Korn and Leon Oakley. The band is now raising $10,000 to independently record and release their fifth album. Gaucho’s fundraiser ends on June 9, and as of June 2 they have almost $5,000 to go. This band is very special to me (watch me wax poetic about it at the end of the video). My father Sergei is matching all the contribution made in the next few days dollar for dollar up to the total of $1000. Continue reading

What’s a Worm – Video by Ramon and Jessica

After more than two months break Porto Franco Files are back. I’m experimenting with talking at the end of the videos – so far I’ve got to do about 20 takes to get one where I’m not too awkward. Yet another thing to learn. Ramon and Jessica recorded this song at Porto Franco’s headquarters on Valencia Street back in March 2012. Stay tuned for another video in the next couple of weeks and check out the links at the end of the video to Dina and Jesse’s other projects. Thanks to Adam Willumsen for helping shoot.

Weekly shareables of May 23


9 days and 1,100 to go for Erik Jekabson’s album Kickstarter

Anti-Mass is an awesome album by trumpeter and composer Erik Jekabson. It’s already recorded, and now Erik needs help in getting it out to the world. The fundraiser goal is $6,000, and it’s almost there, but unless Erik raises the entire amount by the deadline, he won’t receive anything. Help him out. The album features playing by Dayna Stephens (tenor sax), Smith Dobson V (drums), John Wiitala (bass), Charith Premawardhana (viola) and Mads Tolling (violin).

Here’s a track from the album.

Tango Workshops with Tomas Howlin and Shorey Myers

This weekend one of my favorite tango teachers and my fiancé’s dance partner Tomas Howlin is teaching a series of workshops. Check out the Facebook event for more information. Most workshops are for dancers with at least some experience. He will also be teaching a class on tango and meditation that is completely beginner-friendly. Send me a message or leave a comment if you’d like more info.


Offside Festival

The MOSt DEFinitive event this week is the San Francisco OFFSIDE festival organized by friends of Porto Franco music blogger and booker Laura Maguire and guitarist Alex Pinto. The festival runs from Thursday to Saturday night. Here’s the complete lineup.


El Valenciano, 1153 Valencia Street, San Francisco

We kick off with three ensembles that share mastery of traditional techniques coupled with fearless commitment to exploring innovative territories.

Lisa Mezzacappa, acoustic bass
Aaron Bennett, saxophones
John Finkbeiner, electric guitar
Vijay Anderson, drums

Dave Rempis, saxophone
Larry Ochs, saxophone
Darren Johnston, trumpet

Aram Shelton, alto saxophone
Theo Padouvas, trumpet
Mark Clifford, vibraphone
Kim Cass, bass
Sam Ospovat, drums


50 Mason Social House, 50 Mason Street, San Francisco

The second night takes a decidedly contemporary look at straight-ahead jazz and presents three Bay Area composers and their respective trios.

Alex Pinto, guitar
Scott Brown, bass
Shaun Lowecki, drums

Erik Jekabson, trumpet
Peter Barshay, bass
Greg Wyser-Pratt, drums

Marcus Shelby, bass
Joe Warner, piano
Tiffany Austin (Martin), vocals


Viracocha, 998 Valencia Street, San Francisco

The festival closes with an evening of genre-expanding music that intersects jazz in distinctive ways.

Mike Boo, turntable, sampler
Pu22le Abalo, mpc, modular synth
Asonic Ragaton Garcia, sampler, synth
Mike Reed, drums
Marcus Stephens, saxophone/electronics

Henry Hung, trumpet
Kasey Knudsen, saxophone
Eric Garland, drums
George Ban-Weiss, bass
Colin Hogan, keyboard

David Boyce, saxophone
David Ewell, bass
Hamir Atwal (special guest), drums

Visit the festival’s website for more information and like them on Facebook. We want them back next year.

Other shows

Wed. May 23 Gaucho at Amnesia (info)
Sun. May 27 HowellDevine at Revolution Cafe (info)
Mon. May 28 Classical Revolution at Revolution Cafe (info)
Mon. May 28 Mike Olmos hosts a jam session at the Union Room (info)

Weekly shareables of May 15


In the past month I’ve had a data storage issue that kept me from putting out any videos in our series. This is now solved. I’m looking to release a bunch of episodes I’ve been excited about including Ramon and Jessica, CopperWire, Meklit + The Nice Guy Trio, Beth Custer, Michael Coleman + Jacob Zimmerman and more…

Promoting non-pop music – help me learn

Is promoting jazz, chamber or avant-garde music anything like promoting pop singers? Do publicity, radio, social media work? Is it possible to create a fan base just by playing good music? In the next couple of months I’m looking to put together a series of blog posts or podcasts about different aspects of getting one’s music to an audience and monetizing it. I have some ideas and opinions, but I’m hoping to build most of the narrative by interviewing musicians, promoters, publicists and marketers. If you want to talk to me or know someone I should talk to, please send me a note.

I’m also going to use what I learn at workshops and discussions at De Anza college and the Red Poppy Art House in the coming weeks.

Chloe Veltman’s interview with Avi Ehrlich and me on KALW’s VoiceBox

Last week Chloe Veltman invited Avi (the founder of our Valencia street neighboring record label Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club) and me to talk about the challenges of running independent music companies. It was interesting conversation. Avi’s label has focused on punk bands, and he’s released over 100 records in the last 10-15 years. I’d been meaning to sit down and talk to him for a while just to pick his brain, but it hasn’t happened until Chloe’s invitation. Here’s the link to the podcast on iTunes.

Shoutout to Gaucho and Quinn Deveaux and their Kickstarter campaigns

I’ll be posting more about these bands. They’re raising money to record and release albums. Help them out. Click here for Gaucho or here for Quinn DeVeaux.


Weekly pick: UnderCover – May 19

This will be a crazy night with 8 bands and 50+ musicians paying tribute to Black Sabbath’s Paranoid. Everyone who buys a ticket also gets a studio recording of the CD. Check out the preview and info here.

Wed. May 16 Bit Tree, Kapowski, Bells at Cafe du Nord (info)
Wed. May 16 Gaucho at Amnesia (info)
Sat. May 19 UnderCover at the Independent (info)
Sun. May 20 HowellDevine at Revolution Cafe (info)
Mon. May 21 Classical Revolution at Revolution Cafe (info)
Mon. May 21 Mike Olmos hosts a jam session at the Union Room (info)

Weekly shareables of May 8


The news this week are sparse but exciting. Last week our album Earthbound by CopperWire: Meklit Hadero, Gabriel Teodros and Burntface moved from #5 to #4 on college hip hop radio nationwide. After a fantastic release show Meklit left for East Africa on a scouting trip for The Nile Project and we are beginning to prepare for her next album – a duet with Quinn Deveaux to come out in September 2012.


This is a busy week for shows. I’d like to highlight four: one tonight in Oakland with Oakland Active Orchestra and Marco Eneidi, and three on Friday in the Mission: photography show at our gallery, Patrick Cress’ Telepathy 10th Anniversary at Viracocha, and The Nice Guy Trio’s Freedom Songs at Community Music Center with David Phillips and Rumen Sali Shopov.

San Francisco Offside Festival and UnderCover

There are also two big events coming up later in May organized by a few friends and featuring a ton of local talent:
San Francisco Offside Festival organized by presenter, blogger and local jazz superfan Laura Maguire and guitarist Alex Pinto. Over the three nights of May 24-26 the festival features trios led by Erik Jekabson, Marcus Shelby and Alex Pinto, Lisa Mezzacappa’s Bait and Switch, Rempis/Ochs/Johnston trio, These Are Our Hours group with Aram Shelton, Theo Padouvas, Mark Clifford, Kim Cass and Sam Ospovat, The Supplicants and a few other groups. Check out the full lineup on their website and follow the festival on Facebook.

On May 19th UnderCover does its 4th show and album. This time they pay a tribute to Black Sabbath’s Paranoid with Cornelius Boots as guest music director. More info on their site.

More info about this week’s shows:

Tue. Marco Eneidi and Oakland Active Orchestra at Uptown in Oakland. Free. (more info)
Wed. Gaucho at Amnesia – great old-time jazz, swing dancing, and beer (more info)
Fri. 10th Anniversary of Patrick Cress’ Telepathy at Viracocha (more info)
Fri. Freedom Songs by The Nice Guy Trio with David Phillips and Rumen Sali Shopov (more info)
Fri. Ehxibition of 20 Portraits photographic series and a book by Mikhail Lemkhin at Porto Franco Art Parlor (more info)

Two albums out this week: klezmer and hip hop

Our April releases play like a tongue-in-cheek testament to our vision of complete disregard for genre boundaries: we are proud present our first hip hop and first klezmer albums: CopperWire’s Earthbound and the gonifs’ self-titled debut. They share more than the record label – eclectic jazz trumpeter Darren Johnston plays on both. Continue reading