Aki Kumar, John Blues Boyd, Members of Mariachi Mestizo, Ron Thompson, Maurice Tani, The Little Village All Stars

Saturday, January 7th

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$20 Advance/$22 Door

Ticket price includes a $4 facility fee.

Aireene Espiritu
Aireene Espiritu
“A rare breed of artist, a soul singer, a folk troubadour, a blues artist, a busk show princess, a skiffle tear-stained street singer with a heart as big as the history of the music that drives her. And in the final analysis, she is a storyteller without borders or cultural limitations.” - No Depression, Terry Roland

Aireene Espiritu is a singer/songwriter with over 20 years experience performing as a solo artist as well as with her band, Aireene & The Itch, covering various genres from folk, blues, gospel, rhythm and blues to world music - a mix of stompin', swayin', and timeless Americana.

She was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States at 10 years old, growing up in the third culture: the old country, the new country and a blend of both worlds. Mainly influenced by listening to Alan Lomax's field recordings from the South and growing up listening to her uncles' Filipino folk guitar fingerpicking, her music is reminiscent of front porch storytelling, of ghosts and the living, times of laughter and tears.

Her fifth album, Back Where I Belong (2016), pays tribute to the great rhythm and blues artist Sugar Pie DeSanto along with favorite American and Filipino folk songs produced produced by Little VillageFoundation, a non-profit label founded by venerable blues keyboardist JimPugh (Robert Cray, Etta James, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker). The album has received positive recognition and reviews from KQED's The California Report, San Francisco Chronicle, Living Blues and No Depression magazines. 4.5 out of 5 stars review All About Jazz.

A Color-Coded Symphony is her latest project which premiered at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum in 2017. This performance piece is a musical experience connecting the audience’s ethnic origins to rhythms of the world and whose aim is to nurture curiosity and openness towards other cultures through music.
Aki Kumar
Aki Kumar
Indian-born, San Jose-based Aki Kumar left his home in Mumbai for the United States with the intention of working as a software engineer. Then he discovered the blues, and his life dramatically changed.

With his Little Village Foundation debut, "Aki Goes to Bollywood", Kumar began integrating elements of Indian music into his musical and visual presentation, making for a multi-cultural mash-up that sounds like no one else, yet never loses touch with its blues foundation. Kumar’s follow-up album, "Hindi Man Blues", boasts his most ambitious cross-cultural fusion to date, and features liner notes by veteran blues great Charlie Musselwhite. Kumar recently performed at the prestigious Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, has been featured on PRI “The World,” and has toured in Russia, South America and Scandinavia.

Hailed as a star among the next generation of West Coast blues artists and versatile in many different styles of roots music, Kumar is equally at ease rocking a Jimmy Reed number in English as he is belting out a signature, swingin' re-interpretation of a Bollywood classic in Hindi. Cleverly crafted originals featuring his masterful blues harmonica riffs are a highlight of this charismatic entertainer's live performances.
Members of Mariachi Mestizo
Members of Mariachi Mestizo
Mariachi Mestizo is a modern ensemble that preserves and expands Mexico's centuries-old mariachi tradition. The youthful players, mentored by the veteran mariachi master Juan Morales (Los Camperos), dig deep into the music's history and timeless emotional appeal to make the music vital and current. Based in the town of Delano in California’s Central Valley, Mariachi Mestizo regularly perform at local community events, and the group has also played some prestigious venues including New York’s Carnegie Hall. Mariachi Mestizo's album, XX Aniversario, celebrates Mariachi Mestizo's 20th anniversary. In addition to traditional mariachi material, the album features a rendition of the pop standard "New York, New York," and a total of four songs recorded at the group’s Carnegie Hall debut in 2017.
Ron Thompson
Ron Thompson

"Ron Thompson, he's my main man!" -- John Lee Hooker, Inductee--Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

"Ron's one of my all time favorite guitar players. I've known Ron over 30 years, maybe 40 years. Long enough to know that in all that time, every time I heard him play, it was always a treat to hear. I'm glad to call him a friend." -- Charle Musselwhite, "Most Outstanding Musician (harmonica)," Living Blues 2007 Readers and Critics Polls

"Ron Thompson is my favorite guitarist." -- Mick Fleetwood, founder and member of Fleetwood Mac

"Ron Thompson is a 'blues wizard.' There is no instrument and no style he can't put across, because the soul he brings to it is undeniable, and it is unmistakably his own." -- Angela Strehli, "The Queen of Texas Blues"

"I've always felt Ron is the most talented blues guitarist I've ever seen. He can do it all. He's extraordinarily gifted. What many folks aren't aware of is that Ron was a huge asset in the re-emergence of John Lee Hooker. He was the foundation for that boogie sound." -- Tom Mazzolini , founder and producer of the San Francisco Blues Festival , the longest running blues festival in the United States

"Ron Thompson is the baddest man alive!!!" -- Tommy Castro, "B.B. King Entertainer of the Year" 2008 Blues Music Award Winner

"We've been fortunate to have many great blues players here over the years, but no one--and I mean no one--blew me away like Ron Thompson. This guy is unreal!" -- Dan King, "Ambassador of Cool," Boulder's Home of the Blues

"What this guy knows, you can't get out of a book." -- Steve Cropper , one of the founding members of both Booker T. and the MG's and The Mar-Keys

"One of the best moves Mayor Gavin Newsom made last year was proclaiming Sept. 5, 2007 as 'Ron Thompson Day in San Francisco.' The Newark-born musician, best known for the years he spent in John Lee Hooker's band, is one of the Bay Area's truly great guitarists. He's on equal footing with Carlos Santana or, really, anybody else you want to mention. If you doubt that, just go see him in concert." -- Jim Harrington, Music Editor, Contra Costa Times

"As a slide guitarist, I would say Ron is the best in the world and yet the man sings his ass off too. Ron Thompson is one of the five top blues greats in the world today. " -- Andy Grigg, music critic for Real Blues magazine

"Ron could take a soggy cardboard box with strings and whip up a frenzy. Forget the young kids in tight pants and big amps, this funky fella beats everyone way past home. He's like a 45 in a 78 world." -- Kansas City Blues Society

Not many living blues musicians can say they have performed with and recorded for legends like Big Mama Thornton, Tina Turner, Bruce Willis, Luther Tucker, Jimmy McCracklin, Pee Wee Crayton, Carla Thomas, Booker T. Jones, Percy Mayfield, Etta James, B.B. King, and Jimmy Reed. Ron Thompson can, and that's just the beginning!

Ron Thompson is a legendary rhythm and blues guitarist and master keyboardist whose career began in the rough and tumble world of East San Francisco Bay nightclubs and bars in the early '70s. During many years of touring coast to coast with John Lee Hooker, Hooker was quoted as saying, "Ron Thompson, he's my main man!"

After serving as John Lee Hooker's bandleader for seven years, Thompson went on to form his own group, Ron Thompson and His Resisters, which continues to tour extensively in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Central America.

In the early 80's, Ron met Mick Fleetwood (Fleetwood Mac) and the two became musical partners and close friends. Ron and Mick formed the band, Mick Fleetwood's Blue Whale. Blue Whale still occasionally performs, when Ron and Mick's busy schedules permit.

Ron Thompson was honored by the City of San Francisco for his decades of musical contributions. A few days after Barry Bonds got "his day" in The City for breaking the all-time American baseball home run record, San Francisco celebrated its own musical home run king, Ron Thompson. By official proclamation of Mayor Gavin Newsom, September 5, 2007, was declared "Ron Thompson Day in San Francisco."

The City of Fremont followed suit in 2009, and officially declared April 25, 2009, as "Ron Thompson Day in Fremont." Ron's hometown of Newark, California, will be providing its own recognition to Ron on September 19, 2009, when Ron will preside as Grand Marshal at the 54th Annual Newark Days Parade.

Tom Mazzolini, founder and producer of the San Francisco Blues Festival, the longest running blues festival in the United States, said, "I've always felt Ron is the most talented blues guitarist I've ever seen. He can do it all. He's extraordinarily gifted. What many folks aren't aware of is that Ron was a huge asset in the re-emergence of John Lee Hooker. He was the foundation for that boogie sound."

Thompson tours and performs year round. Recent shows have included a summer tour with Chris Isaak; shows with Bruce Willis; two stints on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise with such musical VIPs as Taj Mahal and Elvin Bishop; and many more.

In the intervening years since he was Hooker's "Main Man," Thompson's musical career has steadily soared, and he picked up a Grammy nomination and many other awards and accolades. He was recently inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, and participated in this year's San Francisco Jazz Festival, where he performed and taught the Discover Jazz "Blues Guitar" lecture.

Thompson headlined the 40th Anniversary of the Summer of Love Concert in Golden Gate Park in 2007, sharing the bill with legends such as Jefferson Starship, Canned Heat, Jesse Colin Young, and many others. A two hour documentary of the concert, which began with Thompson's sizzling performance, was aired in the San Francisco Bay Area, and will soon be nationally syndicated.

Andy Grigg, music critic for Real Blues magazine, wrote: "If you haven't experienced Ron T. 'live' I can't even begin to convey the absolute go-for-broke Blues rave-ups and sweat-soaked pandemonium Thompson and his Resistors dispense on a nightly basis. When it comes to slide guitar workouts, I would say he's the Best in the World, and yet the man sings his ass off too."

In addition to his Grammy nomination for his album Resistor Twister, Thompson has received countless awards and accolades, including Real Blues magazine's Best Live West Coast Blues Act, Best West Coast Blues Slide Guitarist, and Best West Coast Blues Guitarist/Modern.

Thompson's extensive discography includes five of his own albums, much studio work, and several European anthologies. Not only has he shared the stage with numerous blues luminaries, Thompson has performed or recorded with such musical greats as Fleetwood Mac, Chris Isaak, Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Tina Turner, Elvin Bishop, Bill Medley, Huey Lewis, Dr. John, songwriter Bobby Womak, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Robert Cray Band, Z.Z. Top, and legions of others artists.

Shortly after recording with Chris Isaak on the album San Francisco Days and touring with Isaak to promote the album, Thompson was called on stage. Isaak introduced him, telling the audience, "You might think these crowd barriers are here to keep you away from the stage. They're not. They're here to keep Ron Thompson away from you!"

Steve Cropper, one of the founding members of both Booker T. and the MG's and The Mar-Keys, (and who has also written songs with Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Eddie Floyd, and dozens of others) once said of Ron, "What this guy knows, you can't get out of a book."

Thompson's latest all-solo and first completely acoustic CD, Resonator, was released in 2007. Ron recorded on guitar, mandolin, piano, and vocals—and then mixed it all together for an unbelievable, quadruple threat, all-Ron Thompson recording. Most of the material is comprised of original Ron Thompson compositions.

Thompson is busy in the studio, recording what he thinks may be his finest work to date. Look for it later this year!
Maurice Tani
Maurice Tani
“This music is neither retro nor country; it's twang noir. A fully realized universe, on a dark night, with an AM radio station sending out a strong signal from somewhere down Highway 99. Are you listening?” - Scott Bloom, Bay Area Twang

Supercaliforigraphic singer-songslinger Maurice Tani recently released his eighth album - his second on the Little Village label, “THIS IS IT!” recorded live at Berkeley’s venerable Freight & Salvage this past summer.

Known for his wry/rye-to-romantic songwriting, agile guitar style and expressive singing, Tani’s particular flavor of Americana is a broad spectrum tincture of influences to cure what ails you. While rooted (at times distantly) in country music, his writing is centered on an urban-western perspective. Short musical narratives of life on the left coast. A sort of cinema for the blind.