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Taken from The Bay Area Reporter (May 17, 2007)

Powerfully peaceful

by Jim Provenzano

Michael Franti
Michael Franti plays at Le Colonial on Sunday

Sparks flew –literally– the first time I saw MichaelFranti perform. As part of the duo Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, in 1993, he opened for Nirvana at the Cow Palaceonly weeks before Kurt Cobain died. With Rono Tse scraping a sander against metal as a spark-inducing musical instrument, and a rousingly catchy update on The Dead Kennedys' song "It Can't Happen Here (California Uber Alles)," Franti inserted then-California governor Pete Wilson in his update on Jello Biafra's original Reagan critique, which has been one-upped in ironic absurdity by our current Governator.

Franti has continued to thrive and expand his repertoire,with globally observant intent and some of the most diverse mixes of R&B, reggae, hiphop and soul imaginable with his band Spearhead.

His recent journey to Iraq became the inspiration for new music and a DVD. And while Joan Baez was recently banned from performing at the troubled Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, Franti quietly got in, and in between playing for injured vets, he's joined forces with veterans against the Iraq War.

Sparks flew –internally– the last time I saw Franti perform, at a sold-out April Yoga Flow workshop in the Castro led by Les Leventhal. Between downward dogs and Warrior Three poses, Franti played an acoustic set that revived and inspired.

This quintessentially San Francisco event –politically astute hometown straight musician working with tattooed gay yoga teacher– was just one of Franti's frequent local gigs.

You can hear Michael play in an equally intimate setting –okay, you won't be able to sweat and stretch in a hot yoga studio– at a Power to the Peaceful Festival Fundraiser, Sunday May 20, at Le Colonial, 20 Cosmo Place.

Enjoy a tasty dinner at this fundraiser for the outdoor concert (scheduled for Sept. 8 in Golden Gate Park), which Franti is organizing. Silent auction items include a week-long Costa Rican yoga retreat, an Esalen weekend workshop in Big Sur, a Spearhead autographed guitar and more. Enjoy a French/Vietnamese Dinner, beer and wine included. 5pm-9pm. $75. 865-2170 or 839-0098.



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