In December, Yvonne and I will be traveling to the Bay Area to record an album. This album is a collection of songs I’ve written over the last ten years but never recorded. While we’ve devoted much effort to Songs of Freedom, Working Class Heroes and Songs of Slavery and Emancipation, we haven’t forgotten these original compositions. In fact, we began investigating the possibilities for recording them in December 2017. That’s when we contacted Greg Landau, an old friend of mine who also happens to be a great musician and producer. Greg’s worked with many outstanding artists from Omar Sosa to Susana Baca and, of course, he was responsible for bringing my band, the Looters, to Nicaragua in 1983, in solidarity with the Nicaraguan revolution.
First, we asked Greg’s opinion of the material, whether it was worthy of the effort and expense of recording it. Second, we asked if he was inspired to take charge of the production. Greg’s enthusiastic endorsement of both the music and the prospects of recording it were enough to encourage Yvonne and me to take the necessary steps. These began with fundraising-as do all our projects!-but quickly led to planning where and how to do the recording. By the end of 2018 we’d hit upon the idea of recording in Matanzas, Cuba with an Orchestra connected to the Conservatory of Music. Greg traveled twice to Cuba to secure the necessary invitations and support. We were all set to make the trip whereupon Trump issued his decree banning travel to Cuba.
To make a long story short, our high-profile visit, at the behest of the Cuban Ministry of Culture, could not escape notice by US authorities making it dangerous for Greg, an American citizen, to travel to Cuba. Suddenly we had to decide whether to postpone to the recording until after the 2020 election in hopes that the travel ban would be lifted or to find another location and go ahead with the recording. Greg convinced us that, while it would undoubtedly be a different album, it would nonetheless be worthwhile if we came to the Bay Area and worked with the pool of musicians Greg works with on a regular basis.
After much discussion, we decided to go ahead and so we begin recording in December. We’ll let you know how well we’ve done in January, 2020.
YOU ARE INVITED:
We couldn’t return to the Bay Area without performing at least a few times. After all, Working Class Heroes was only released in October this year so, even as we are making new music ready for future release, we want to encourage everyone to listen to the music we’ve already recorded!!!
The following events are open to the public and we’d like to see all of you at one or more of them.
Sunday, December 8th – The Howard Zinn Bookfair – 4-5:30PM – ROOM 325
City College of San Francisco, Mission Campus, 1125 Valencia Street
Saturday, December 14th – Down Home Music – 2pm
10341 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito, CA
Tuesday, December 17th – The Green Arcade Bookstore – 7:30pm
1680 Market Street (at Gough) San Francisco
415 431 6800