sunset  “All the freaky people make the beauty of the world”

 -Michael Franti


 I was handed a bunch of  bumper stickers with this  quote before the Michael Franti Concert at the  Horsepark in Santa Fe earlier  today.  This was the highlight of my day, maybe one of  the top moments I’ve experienced in Santa Fe.  Before I get to that, I had a choice whether to be at the Easel Place in ABQ, NM to sell my work or see this concert.  Fortunately, I have 4 days at the Easel Place to make an impact due to the Balloon Festival going on.  I want to take some pics and paint something before the festival is over.  But I heard about this Michael Franti concert and I didn’t want to pass this up.  I saw some of his videos on Youtube and like some of his songs.  I really wanted to see this guy, because there’s something magical about this musician.  So I got to the horsepark grounds where I indulged in free samples of food, soap and supplements.  I relaxed on the real green grass nearby while basking under the bright blue sky.  

There were other bands prior, like the Gordon Free Band, the Sean Healey Band, and Overshine.  I probably liked Overshine the best of the three, pretty funky band.  There were about a few thousand people there and I managed to get close to the front.  Now being the people person that I am, I tried to play it cool, being that there’s so much pushing and shoving.  But at least there were a lot of pretty women.  Lots of hippies, real and faux.  Lots of children too.  When Michael Franti came on, it was magic from the start.  I even got into it and jumped up and down a lot.  Michael’s a real entertainer who music is reggae meets hip-hop meets cat stevens (sometimes).  Michael went into the crowds literally several times, I managed to shake his hand, pat his back.  He was right there in the crowd singing without a care in the world, engaging his audience into a frenzy.  You just don’t go to a Michael Franti concert, you’re part of the Michael Franti concert.  

 Another highlight was local musician Robert Mirabal, who is a Native-American Flutist, and was incredible playing flute alongside with Michael on a few songs.  Eat your heart out Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull), Robert’s got some game too.  I never knew how annoying camera phones can be, as people were holding them as close as possible to the performers.  But the performers didn’t seem to mind.  Even Robert stuck out his tongue.  Image, what image?  I thought that was cool.  Michael performed songs like “Little Bit of Riddum”, “Everyone’s on a Move”, and his new single he saved for the end of his two-hour concert, which he said is his first top 40 hit, “Say Hey (I love you)”.  I really love this song, it just makes you feel good about life, and it will give Michael more fame and fortune to which he deserves.  He invited a large group of young children on stage to sing “Say Hey” and let a kid or two sing a line and they knew the lyrics!  It’s great to see such cool music cross lines, from children to older adults.  

Now I didn’t forget that I’m suppose to write about art and this is an art blog, so where’s the art?  Patience my friends, it’s coming.  Really!  But I’m starting to see a larger purpose for my blog, to talk and help other artists I admire.  I enjoy helping the artists at the Easel Place out and I’m starting to put their links on my site, so go check them out.  Check out the videos that I’m making of these artists, you’ll enjoy them too.  

And I admire the art of Michael Franti.  He’s a great example of what an artist should provide;  joy, showmanship and profoundness of his lyrics and music to his audience.  I want all ages to love my art too, and to reach large audiences too.  I want my art to be joyful and profound.  Now I won’t grow dreadlocks soon, but I understand his spirit and vision.  As the concert was ending, I noticed a beautiful sunset in back of me and a full moon in front.  A typical New Mexican moment to add to the magical evening I experienced, this concert was really incredible.  And yes, more art is coming, stay tuned…