Music

Introducing the Tales of Two Cities Podcast, radio stories from Richmond and Oakland

Dear Readers/Listeners, The combined staff of Oakland North and Richmond Confidential is excited to announce a new bi-weekly podcast featuring radio stories from Richmond and Oakland, as well as interviews with our reporters, community leaders and other news-worthy characters. Every two weeks until June, we will bring you radio stories focused on a theme or issue affecting these two cities. You will also hear from our reporters to get a behind the scenes look at our news room. Every other Thursday, check our sites for new…

Through adversity, music programs in OUSD fight to grow

Cal’Vion Evans, an eighth grader at Roots International Academy, begins slowly, tapping the cymbals and toms with two wooden drumsticks. The drum set rests on a mini-stage, a short platform covered by a rug and flanked on either side by guitar stands, each with about 10 guitars leaning in. Cal’Vion speeds up gradually, his head movements changing from a gentle nodding with the music to a swivel as his drumming becomes faster and more furious. Then he slows back down,…

Tree-lighting ceremony in Oakland’s Jack London Square draws crowds

On Friday, December 4, Oakland’s Jack London Square drew crowds for a festive tree-lighting ceremony to celebrate the holiday season. Live music filled the square as the Oakland School for the Arts’ Vocal Rush, Chamber Choir and Jazz Guitar Ensemble performed holiday favorites. Other entertainment included performances by the Tap Dancing Christmas Trees and West Oakland Middle Schools’ Oakland Spirit Orchestra. Attendees petted live reindeer, decorated ornaments, and met with Santa Claus — among other activities sponsored by local organizations.

Vocal Rush blurs the line between a cappella and activism

Founded in 2011 at the Oakland School of the Arts, the group is made up of high school students at the charter school. They have won the International Championship of High School A Cappella (ICHSA) three times, including this year in April. In 2013, they placed third on NBC’s The Sing-Off, a televised a cappella competition between some of the best musical ensembles in the country. With the level of success they’ve garnered, the group has decided to use their art as a form of activism: “aca-activism,” that is.

Oakland’s Enkutatash festival is cancelled, but Ethiopians celebrate in other ways

Ethiopians in the Bay Area will be ushering in the new year a little differently this year. Oakland’s longtime iconic Enkutatash festival has been cancelled due to lack of funds, according to a letter distributed by Ethiopian Community Services (ECS). “For many years, this event has been graciously supported with a $25,000 grant from The Christensen Fund,” the ECS board of directors wrote in the letter. “Unfortunately the fund expired last year and is not available to ECS.” Tekeste Teclu,…

For Tiny Desk Concert winners Fantastic Negrito, the journey began in Oakland

The New Parish in Downtown Oakland is packed. About 300 attendees wave their hands and clap as five purple stage lights illuminate the silhouette of a guy wearing a plaid suit, a red vest, a tie and shiny black shoes. The band—drums, piano, bass and guitar—starts playing a blues tune with a catchy guitar riff. Finally, the front man grabs the microphone with conviction and sings in a gritty voice: I’m packing up and leaving tomorrow I need a new…

Blue Bottle Coffee’s W.C. Morse Cafe becomes a concert hall for a night

Blue Bottle Coffee’s historic W.C. Morse Cafe on Broadway became a casual and intimate concert hall Thursday night as three members of the Oakland East Bay Symphony performed selections from Vivaldi, Debussy and more. Called “Cup of Classical,” the event was the latest in the Oakland East Bay Symphony’s efforts to bring classical music into the community by performing it in non-traditional venues. The symphony hosted a similar event, called “Bach & Brew,” last May that brought together beer aficionados…