Michael Franti is playing at Red Rocks!
The best group ever, Michael Franti and Spearhead! We going to get our smoke on, mon! We are also staying at the Arrowhead Manor inn. Close to Red Rocks and great mountain views! No better state or venue to see this group. He is an American rapper, musician, poet, and singer-songwriter. He is the creator and lead vocalist of Michael Franti & Spearhead, a band that blends hip hop with a variety of other styles including funk, reggae, jazz, folk, and rock. He is also an outspoken supporter for a wide spectrum of peace and social justice issues. Michael Franti was born in Oakland, California. His mother had Irish, German, and French ancestry, and his father, Thomas Hopkins, was of African-American and Native American descent. However, his mother made an adoption plan for him because she was afraid her family would not accept him. He was adopted by Carole Wisti and Charles Franti, a Finnish-American couple in Oakland, who at the time had three biological children and one adopted African American son. Charles Franti was a professor in the department of epidemiology and preventive medicine of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and died in 2003. Michael’s four siblings are named Rebecca, Sara, Dan, and Matthew. Michael spent his grade 9 school year at Highland Junior High School in Edmonton, Alberta. He then attended Davis Senior High School and graduated from the University of San Francisco. During his time at school there he met a priest who taught him how to tell a story on paper, and soon he was writing poetry. He purchased a bass at a pawn shop and started creating music inspired by hip hop, punk, and reggae that was being played on the campus radio station. Franti is also an advocate for peace in the Middle East. His film I Know I’m Not Alone features footage of Iraq, the Palestinian territories, and Israel. Franti decided to embark on this three week journey with friends to view the cost of war in the Middle East first-hand. Franti states, “This film came out of my frustration with watching the nightly news and hearing generals, politicians, and pundits explaining the political and economic cost of the war in the Middle East, without ever mentioning the human cost. I wanted to hear about the war by the people affected by it most: doctors, nurses, poets, artists, soldiers, and my personal favorite, musicians.” The film aims to speak multiple generations and to give people a better understanding of the people who still live in war-torn countries. He did not embark on the trip for the film with any special government groups or organizations, but instead bought plane tickets and headed off to Iraq, the Palestinian territories, and Israel armed with nothing more than his guitar and an extreme passion for music and a love of people. He says, “When I first had the idea for this journey, I had no idea how to get to Iraq and almost no idea how to make a film. After discovering that all you need to get into Iraq is a plane ticket, I prayed that movie making would be that simple…” In 2001 Franti was awarded the Domestic Human Rights Award by Global Exchange, an international NGO based in San Francisco, for his work to end war. In 2006, he was invited by Australian Labour MP Jenny Macklin to show the film at Australia’s Parliament House, Canberra. Franti has two sons: Ade and Cappy. Michael is engaged to be married to emergency room nurse and jewelry designer Sara Agah whose company, SaraLua Designs, makes jewelry and accessories from bamboo and other sustainable materials. Inspired by his son, Franti became a vegan. In 2000, Franti decided not to wear any shoes, initially for three days. Since then, he has chosen to go barefoot except for occasionally wearing flip-flops as required to board an airplane or to be served in a restaurant. Franti prefers to go barefoot. In 1994, Franti formed a new band called Spearhead with a few studio musicians, including mainstay Carl Young, and announced the dissolution of Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Their first release, Home, in September 1994, was a departure from the politically charged rap of the Disposable Heroes and drew more from funk and soul music. The album was produced by Franti and Joe Nicolo. The song “Positive”, also from the album Home, appeared on the Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool compilation album by the Red Hot Organization. In 1998, Spearhead recorded “I Got Plenty ‘o Nuthin” with Ernest Ranglin for the Red Hot Organization‘s compilation album Red Hot + Rhapsody. Their follow up album Chocolate Supa Highway was released in March 1997, with several changes in band members between releases. This album featured a return to hip hop elements and a pronounced reggae influence and included guest appearances by notables like Stephen Marley and Joan Osborne. After releasing the two albums, the band split with Capitol Records (reportedly prompted by the label’s repeated urging to perform with other artists like Will Smith). His song “Sometimes” was included on the soundtrack to the 1999 film, Mystery Men, as well as the soundtrack to the 2006 film, Last Holiday. Also, under the “Spearhead” name, their cover version of The Police’s 1979 No. 32 hit, “Roxanne”, was featured on the soundtrack to the 1997 film Good Burger, the full-length feature film starring Kenan Thompson & Kel Mitchell based on their characters from the popular ‘Good Burger’ sketch featured on the Nickelodeon series All That. Come and check out this awesome group and get high in the state of Colorado! Red Rocks is up in the mountains and the best place to see a show in the state! Check out accommodations at the Arrowhead Manor inn. It’s a great place to stay for Red Rocks.