Hey Lake Tahoe, Michael Franti is giving you a shout out.
“Be your best, serve the greater good and rock-out wherever you are!”
He hopes to see you at his One Heart One Soul acoustic show Nov. 12 in the Crystal Bay Casino.
Franti has never before had just an acoustic tour and it comes at a memorable time. He and his band,
Spearhead, are celebrating their 20 year anniversary of being together as a band.
“It is going to be all acoustic. J Bowman, Carl Young and myself will be on guitar and it is an opportunity to play songs from our history of what we have done over the last 20 years,” Franti told Tahoe Onstage. “We are going to be playing songs of all periods of that time as well as songs that are not on any records. We are in the process of making a new record right now. “
Those who follow Franti know that during his 25-year music history, the sounds and lyrics have changed with the times and his own beliefs and life journey.
“My goal is always to make inspiring music that gets people through difficult times and right now it is a time in the world where there is so much pain, we see it every day. I believe it takes the effort of all of us to address these great challenges we see in the world today and I want to make music that inspires people to take that challenge.”
We caught up with Franti in between flights from Denver to Los Angeles. While in Denver he attended a 300 person preview of his new documentary, “11.59.”
“This ‘11.59’ documentary film is for the people in my life who have inspired me, ordinary people doing extraordinary things that make a difference,” he said.
He referenced a few people that inspired the making of the film. A midwife in the Philippines, a friend who is dying of ALS and witnessing his strength and love, and a man in Indonesia who is working with indigenous people to create new products with bamboo and sustaining the environment in the process.
Franti’s music and lyrics have been known to provoke and announce the injustices of the world. In 2004 he set out for the war zones of Iraq with his guitar to write and document the journey. The documentary, “I Know I’m Not Alone” wasn’t sponsored by any governmental agency or organization, just him and friends. To his surprise, there was a shift in his music and mind-set that was encouraged and inspired by the people he met and played for on the streets of Iraq.
“When I went to Iraq, I thought I would be coming back and writing songs about protest of war, and I did write some of those songs, but when I was on the ground, I wrote for people in the streets, civilians and soldiers who were off duty.”
When he talks passionately about that time, Franti honors the comments from the people on the streets of Iraq. He recalls them saying, “We don’t want to hear political songs. We want to hear songs that make us laugh, dance, cry, sing and help us pass through the emotions that are locked in us. “
That was the “aha!”
“I started thinking about this and how to heal the planet differently. When I first started out I would write songs about what was wrong in the world. I wanted to write songs on how to fix or heal those things, if not healing the world, at least make it through challenging nights and challenging moments.”
So from that time forward, Franti honored the people and his own inspiration and knew that music has the ability to heal.
“I am writing songs that tap into all aspects of human emotion,” he said. “For a long time I was just tapping into the anger inside of it. Music is at its best when it helps the whole heart to heal” and with his passion and love Franti declares, “It’s time for all of us to take that next step, not just watching the news and complaining about what is wrong, but taking that passion and using it as fuel to get involved to make things better.”
Franti and his partner Sara Agah have co-founded Do It For The Love Foundation. Their goal is similar to Make A Wish Foundation, but with music.
“We bring people who are suffering with illness to live stages and give them an opportunity to experience music and to create memories with their family members, and help them release emotion like we all do at concerts,” he said.
They were both inspired by their friend Steve who suffers from ALS. After Steve and his wife attended and was on stage at Franti’s show, he announced to Franti that up until that time he was just treated like a guy in a wheelchair, but after being on stage and sharing who he is as a person and not just the illness, was life changing. He said he was treated like a person.
Agah is a nurse and witnesses many families that go through this type of challenge and sees and knows their vulnerability. Franti believes and knows that when families take care of other sick family members, it becomes a full-time job for them. It drains resources, energy and there is a constant up and down of emotions. So together they work toward the good of all and give music as an opportunity for those families to get out and get a break.
Do It For The Love Foundation is getting much support from the music industry and the Foundation has given over 200 wishes at different types of concerts of various artists such as JZ and Beyoncé, Santana, Perry, country artists and more. Franti encourages anyone with a family member in need, to visit and write:
www.doitforthelove.org . They will do their best to get families to their favorite show and meet the artists.
Did you catch a Franti & Spearhead show this summer? They were all over the world on their SoulShine tour that incorporated yoga. It was such a success that they will be at it again next summer, doing the same thing. What is it?
“It is basically a concert, but at the beginning we have an optional one hour yoga class with me performing live music,” he said. “It really has taken off. Thousands of people came out for yoga this summer and we experienced it as a great way to connect and create community and warm up to be able to dance the night away.”
So Tahoe, here is your chance to come barefoot or wear your dancing shoes and be prepared for a one-of-a- kind Michael Franti show. See you there!
“Michael Franti’s “One Heart One Soul,” with Ethan Tucker
Where: Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room
When: 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12
Tickets: sold out
Red Room after-party: Cherry Royale”