Just Announced! Sonicbids Presents:
M. Lockwood Porter
500 4th Street
San Francisco, CA, 94107
This event is 21 and over
"I've always felt at home with movement," murmurs Meklit Hadero in the same gentle voice with which she traces her songs' supple melodies. "All of us are made of many places." And she should know: Born in Ethiopia, raised in the U.S. and nurtured by San Francisco's richly diverse arts scene, this acclaimed singer embodies worlds. Joining her soul-filled phrasing to a songwriter's craft, her music's influences range wide – from the jazz and soul favorites she grew up on; to the hip-hop and art-rock she loves; to folk traditions from the Americas and her forebears' East African home. But this singular artist's sound, drawn of multitudes, is hers alone.
Emerging from her adopted hometown of San Francisco, Meklit erupted to national notice with the 2010 release of "On a Day Like this…" on Porto Franco Records. Hailed by Filter magazine for "[combining] New York jazz with West Coast folk and African flourishes, all bound together by Hadero's beguiling voice," her full-length debut — which also garnered feature-stories on its maker from NPR, PBS and National Geographic — brought Meklit's music to a whole new audience. It also announced the arrival, as the San Francisco Chronicle has put it, of "an artistic giant in the early stages."
The journey that brought Meklit to this stage included many stops. Born in Ethiopia in the early 1980s, she grew up in Iowa, New York, and Florida. After studying political science at Yale, she moved to San Francisco and became immersed in the city's thriving arts scene. "She sings of fragility, hope and self-empowerment, and exudes all three," wrote a Chronicle reporter after witnessing an early performance in the city's Mission District. "What's irresistible, above all, is her cradling, sensuous, gentle sound. She is stunning." She hasn't looked back.
Named a TED Global Fellow in 2009, Meklit has served as an artist-in-residence at New York University, the De Young Museum, and the Red Poppy Art House. Meklit has also completed musical commissions for the San Francisco Foundation and for theatrical productions staged by Brava! For Women in the Arts. She is the founder of the Arba Minch Collective, a group of Ethiopian artists in diaspora devoted to nurturing ties to their homeland through collaborating with both traditional and contemporary artists there.
Now touring in support of her debut album while nurturing plans for her next, along with numerous side-projects, Meklit is gracing renowned festivals and concert-halls worldwide. Most at home not in one place but many, she's an artist leaping from stage to stage before our eyes.
-Joshua Jelly Schapiro
M. Lockwood Porter
Although M. Lockwood Porter grew up on a 30-acre farm in northeastern Oklahoma, he didn't feel the pull of country and folk music until he left home to attend college at Yale University. Homesick and band-less, the self-taught multi-instrumentalist and veteran of the Tulsa punk and hardcore scenes found comfort and inspiration in artists like Woody Guthrie, Hank Williams, Kris Kristofferson, Gram Parsons, and Townes Van Zandt – whose records not only served as reminders of home, but also as makeshift instruction manuals on songwriting. While his college classmates spent their spare time at the library, bar, or frat house, Porter could usually be found in his dorm room, studying records and writing songs.
After relocating to Oakland, California, Porter spent much of his early twenties playing a backing role in other bands while continuing to write. In the spring of 2011, he first began recording his own songs with the help of bandmate and audio engineer Peter Labberton. What began as an off-the-cuff recording session evolved into a two-year process resulting in the creation of a 12-song album, Judah's Gone.
Recorded on a shoestring budget in basements, garages, and living rooms, with Porter producing and playing nearly every instrument, Judah's Gone is a testament to the mature, authentic voice of a promising young artist. The 12 songs on Judah's Gone synthesize a variety of country, folk, and rock influences while maintaining a coherent vision – one that balances a sometimes-playful optimism with an overarching melancholy. As Porter sings about topics as diverse as the Trojan War ("Menelaus") or the death of an ex-bandmate ("Stephen") his voice remains consistent – matter-of-fact, clear-eyed, and poetic, with traces of humor and wistfulness.
M. Lockwood Porter plans to self-release Judah's Gone in late spring 2013, and tour for the remainder of the year. Check mlockwoodporter.com in the coming months for updates.
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