Taken from The Chronicle Online (September 16, 2005)
Reggae artist set to rock Duke
by Peter Blais
Though he may not have quite the name-recognition of other reggae and hip-hop artists, protest icon Michael Franti has proven himself over the course of two decades to be a prevailing musical heavyweight
As the leader of the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, he toured with such headliners as U2 and Nirvana and broke into the mainstream when he formed the band Spearhead in 1994.
Franti?who could not be reached for comment?and his band are bringing their music and message to the Duke campus, holding a concert in support of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort Friday night on the Main West Campus Quadrangle.
Attendance is free, and barbecue and popsicles from new local store Loco Pops will be provided. Donations will also be accepted, with all proceeds going to the Red Cross.
In the past five years Franti has returned to his underground roots to further direct his music to more altruistic ends, such as the Duke concert. Perhaps hearkening to his upbringing as a biracial child with white adopted parents, he has transformed his fledgling spirit of agitation into one of integration.
Franti has dropped a lot of the sound that once characterized him as hip-hop, increased the use of the acoustic guitar in his music and cited his more significant recent influences as Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye.
Of course, Bob Marley needs no mention?it will be clear why come Saturday.
Of more recent repute have been the lyrics to his song ?Bomb the World? off his latest release.
Protesters from across the nation have rallied around his slogan, ?You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can?t bomb the world to peace.?
Headlining the 911 Power to the Peaceful Festival in San Francisco last week, Michael Franti and the Spearheads helped draw crowds in excess of 50,000 in support of this year?s theme concerning the war in Iraq, ?Bring ?Em Home.?
After its show at Duke, the band will journey back to the West coast to headline Lonely Planet?s Passport to the World Festival, continuing a fast pace of touring in places like Chicago and New York City.