World News    Michael Franti and Spearhead to Release New Album and Film July 25    World Music at Global Rhythm - The Destination for World Music


World News    Michael Franti and Spearhead to Release New Album and Film July 25    World Music at Global Rhythm - The Destination for World Music
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Michael Franti and Spearhead to Release New Album and Film July 25
Published May 3, 2006

Two years ago, musician/activist Michael Franti traveled to Baghdad,
the West Bank and Gaza Strip to witness the human cost of war.  On his
journey he met individuals - taxi drivers, young men in an Iraqi punk
band, soldiers patrolling the Israeli/Palestinian border -  whose lives
have been affected by war in profound ways.  Their stories inspired two
new Franti projects:   'Yell Fire!' an exhilarating new album of reggae,
hip-hop, and soul, with a rousing message of acceptance; and  an
arresting documentary 'I Know I'm Not Alone,' which marks Franti's debut as a
filmmaker.  Both projects will be released by Anti- Records on July 25.

Franti's journey to the Middle East was born out of a frustration with
conflict as told through the filters of government and media.  Armed
only with a guitar and a video camera, Franti traveled to the region and
performed in homes, hospitals, and in the streets, seeking stories of
individuals who are living, creating and surviving in war zones. 
Ironically, Franti's travels through the war-ravaged area inspired his most
uplifting set of songs to date.  He explains, "The thing that I found
when I was in war zones was that people don't just want to hear songs
against the war.  They want to hear songs about connection to people, and
songs about love and life, songs that make them dance."  That's what
Franti delivers on 'Yell Fire's fourteen new tracks.  By turns,
declarative and reflective, the album burns with with an infectious energy
throughout.

'Yell Fire!' was recorded in Kingston, Jamaica and Franti's hometown of
San Francisco. While in Jamaica, Franti and his long-time band
Spearhead were abetted by the godfathers of reggae riddim Sly & Robbie on
several tracks, and one of the genre's contemporary superstars, Gentleman,
on the plaintive acoustic ballad "Is Love Enough?"  Back home in SF,
Franti enlisted Pink to contribute backing vocals to "One Step Closer To
You," one of the album's most powerful, meditative songs.

While finishing the album in SF, Franti also began editing the hundreds
of hours of source footage for 'I  Know I'm Not Alone.'  Several
indelible scenes emerged.  From the treacherous yet exhilarating act of
flying a civillian airplane into Baghdad, to the sobering realities of a
children's hospital on the ground.  From a group of Israeli and
Palestinian musicians performing together in a living room, to the tension that
erupts at a military checkpoint on the West Bank.  Franti recalls "my
editing studio for the movie was upstairs and my recording studio was
downstairs, so I would constantly alternate from one project to another. 
The process was like a catharsis for me, moving through this journey I
had made." 

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