Ali McGhee is a journalist, creative writer, and academic. Her work has appeared in The Edgar Allan Poe Review, Romantic Circles, Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary...
Charismatic, optimistic, and committed to peace and social justice, Michael Franti and Spearhead are bringing their powerful voices and message to New Mountain this Friday. Franti’s effortlessly beautiful and inspiring music is filled with love and uncompromising in its commentary on every level of life, from world-impacting issues like poverty and the environment to the simple gestures shared between two people in love. New Mountain has partnered with LEAF Community Arts and sponsor Roots Hummus for this unmissable event.
If you’re not already familiar with Franti’s music, one listen will hook you. His infectious sound, based in roots-rock rhythms and swelling, immersive chords, is an expression of the absolute joy of being alive. It embraces you and lifts you up, heart and soul. Even when Franti takes on darker subjects, like violence and injustice, the effect is to make you feel empowered to make a change in the world. Franti’s gift is his ability to share his hope for the world through music.
Not only are Franti’s lyrics inspirational, the instrumentation that accompanies them is stellar. Franti, on guitar, is joined by his band members: Carl Young, Manas Itiene, Raleigh J. Neal, II, and J Bowman, all virtuosic, highly trained musicians who can play everything from saxophone to ukulele and organ. The music pulls from a dizzying range of diverse influences, from reggae and dancehall to hip hop, funk, and a myriad of other sounds from all around the world. Franti and his band soak up experience and translate it into the universal languages of music and love. Part of Franti’s message is that we are all one at the deep levels of heart and soul, and listening to these songs is, truly, a unifying experience. It’s music to dance to, but it’s also music to live to.
Franti and Spearhead released their last album, All People, in 2013 (on the Capitol label), and it’s a continuation of the group’s articulation of a world vision, in which people connect to each other globally through acts of individual love.
Franti doesn’t just make the music—he lives it. He’s a committed political, environmental, and cultural activist. An advocate for peace in the Middle East, Franti’s trip to Iraq, Palestine, and Israel resulted in a documentary, I Know I’m Not Alone, as well as a Domestic Human Rights Award from the NGO Global Exchange. The environmentally-conscious Franti also runs his tour bus on biodiesel. Franti is also a yogi, and has performed at yoga and music festivals, including Soulshine, his own gift to the festival circuit.
Franti and Asheville are a perfect match, and Friday night is the best opportunity for you to see how powerful this connection truly is. Things get started on the earlier end of the evening. Reggae-rock group The Movement and alternative rockers Elliot Root open for Franti. Sponsor Roots Hummus will also be celebrating the launch of Roots Foundation, a new non-profit that will focus on outdoor, permaculture-based education in area schools.
Michael Franti + Spearhead @ New Mountain
Doors at $6 / Tickets are $35