Anti- Artists bolster Bonnaroo

Music News | May 30th, 2007

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Michael Franti and Spearhead, Tim Fite, Xavier Rudd, Mavis Staples and Galactic Create Uplifting Musical Experience in Manchester, Tenn. Next Month

The 2007 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival will boast some of Anti-‘s most diverse and uplifting acts, helping to create the one-of-a-kind musical celebration that the annual Manchester, Tennessee event has become synonymous with. Counting the outspoken Michael Franti and Spearhead, innovative singer/songwriter Tim Fite, acclaimed Australian performer Xavier Rudd, soul and gospel legend Mavis Staples and futuristic funk icons Galactic who will have played at each of the six Bonnaroo events this year’s Roo is poised to be the best one yet.

On the heels of their rare San Quentin Prison Concert this May, Michael Franti and Spearhead will take the stage on June 15th performing material from their 2006 Anti- disc Yell Fire!, which The San Francisco Examiner dubbed “a call for hope.” Fusing hip-hop, rock ‘n’ roll, reggae and folk sounds with a distinctly candid political voice, Franti who won the Best International Documentary Award in the prestigious Harlem International Film Festival for his heralded 2005 film about the Iraq war, I Know I’m Not Alone. Franti, who risked his life in the war torn country to make the movie, and who recently took time out from his busy spring tour to entertain seriously injured soldiers at the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, DC, has been praised by numerous press outlets for his latest disc, including All Music Guide who heralded, “the album’s thread of righteous positivity, no-brainer pacifism, accept-it-or-die tolerance, and the universal unification of spirit,” adding, “Franti’s brain-stimulating songwriting rises to a new level of proficiency.”

Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Tim Fite who has drawn rave reviews for his free internet only release Over The Counter Culture will also take the Bonnaroo stage on June 15th. With his blistering examination of commercial culture and its adverse effects on life in general and on rap music specifically, the fifteen track disc which precedes his official sophomore disc on Anti has yielded acclaim from Billboard, The Boston Globe and NPR’s Sound Opinions. “One of the best albums of the new year,” wrote The Chicago Tribune’s Greg Kot at the time of its February 20th release via “Over The Counter Culture is both a critique and a celebration of hip-hop. It’s packed with crackling beats, wicked humor and did he just say that?’ audacity.”

The following day, Australian singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Xavier Rudd celebrates the sounds of his second Anti- disc and third overall release White Moth to Bonnaroo. Slated for a June 19th release, Xav who will open on select dates of the Dave Matthews Band’s summer tour after completion of his own U.S. headlining trek calls the hotly awaited follow up to Food In The Belly “my proudest work.” Co-produced with Dave Ogilvie (David Bowie, Marilyn Manson, N.E.R.D.), Rudd’s disc has been preceded by the enthusiastically received digital single, “Better People.”

Just signed to Anti-, Galactic the New Orleans-based frontrunners of futuristic funk will also perform on June 16th with an array of guest performers including The Coup’s Boots Riley, Lyrics Born, Mr. Lif, Gift of Gab, Lateef the Truth Speaker and Jurassic 5’s Chali 2na. Each of these MC’s join the quintet or its upcoming, exhilarating disc From The Corner Of The Block. With its street corner-inspired concept, the album’s uplifting, thought-stirring merger of the band’s own electrified funk, electronica, fusion, jazz and rock amalgam with hip-hop’s insightful lyricism on a project that also counts Juvenile and Digable Planets’ Ladybug won’t be denied.

Bonnaroo’s final day of musical performances on June 17th will be highlighted by noneother than Mavis Staples, who supports the April 24th release of We’ll Never Turn Back. Staples’ Anti- debut was produced by Ry Cooder and has promptly become one of the most talked about records of 2007. Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Staples’ voice outshines all: rich, weathered, and full of fire, sometimes resolving in a cracked tone or a dark, knowing chuckle, her eyes still on the prize,” while The Boston Globe simply professed, “It seems like the album the 66-year old singer was born to make.” We’ll Never Turn Back Combines raw, emotional, contemporized versions of some of the freedom songs from the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s with other traditional numbers and new Ry and Mavis-penned originals.