The online radio station Pandora has teamed up with the Great Wall of Oakland, a monthly video art screening, to host an evening of local music and video shorts this Friday. The “Homegrown” event on September 7 will debut Pandora’s “Sounds of Oakland,” a sampling of local music, which will accompany video shorts projected on the wall in Oakland’s Uptown district. It also marks the first collaboration between the two Oakland-based organizations.
“We approached Pandora because their specialty is music and ours is visual,” said Issabella Shields, executive director of the Great Wall. “Pandora is literally around the corner from the Great Wall site and we both wanted to put an event together to highlight the work of local artists here in Oakland.”
“Sounds of Oakland” will mark the Internet station’s first venture into music sets tailored to individual cities. Listeners will be able to add the “Sounds of Oakland” set to their Pandora tuner during and after the event. The station plans to broadcast the mix live on Friday night and a link will be available online long after the “Homegrown” event is over.
“Pandora has a list of regional genre stations, but we’re exploring music sets distinct to a particular city,” said Michael Addicott, manager of music curation at Pandora. The mix features Oakland artists such as rapper Too $hort, R&B group En Vogue, hip hop collective Hieroglyphics and soul singer Goapele. “The common thread that ties it all together is Oakland,” Addicott said. “This city has produced a sound unique in music culture. Funk, R&B, soul, jazz, hip-hop/rap have all evolved from the contributions of Oakland artists.”
Accompanying the mix, the Great Wall plans to project the work of ten local video artists on its 100 square foot outdoor wall. On the first Friday of every month, the Great Wall of Oakland transforms the side of an office building into an outdoor theater where audiences can gather to watch videos and film from around the globe. The Great Wall screenings, located on West Grand Avenue between Broadway and Valley Street, coincide with the monthly Oakland Art Murmur.
Patrici Flores, a featured artist, will debut her video “Wake Up.” “I had just come from a long amazing trip reconnecting with my family in Asia,” Flores wrote in an email. “The video became a piece about a girl whose subconscious is telling her to get back to the things and places she loves.”
Flores welcomes the “Homegrown” partnership. “Pandora is all about discovery, so it seems appropriate for them to support the exposure of local musicians and filmmakers in this show,” she wrote. “I think it’s always important for thriving local companies like Pandora to engage their neighborhoods and give back, especially if it is in a city with a growing arts community.”
Melinda James will be premiering her short film “Bandalore,” based on her experiences watching a man play with a yo-yo at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “I found it really beautiful and engaging and wanted to share his talent with other people,” James wrote.
She thinks the event offers a unique opportunity to connect with other artists in the community. “It’s a thoughtful idea to feature local musicians alongside local artists,“ James wrote. “I think that speaks to how connected and community-centered Oakland is. It will put folks on to talent that’s taking place right in their backyards.”
Pandora’s lead curator, Mike Fink, will DJ “Sounds of Oakland” live from the Great Wall location starting at 7:30 pm. The event is free to the public. For more information, visit the Great Wall of Oakland.