Friday, February 7, 2014

Tonight's Setlist: Beyond Bungle with Secret Chiefs 3, plus Oliver Mtukudzi at the Mateel

Posted By on Fri, Feb 7, 2014 at 8:29 AM

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We get emails. Sometimes they look like this:

"Hi, I'm Trey from Secret Chiefs 3. ... It's not the most famous band in the world, but we do sell out the Great American Music Hall in SF and similar venues across the USA, Europe, Australia and Latin America. We've never played Humboldt, but I grew up there. There's actually a long, deep history of the roots there (I was in a band called Mr. Bungle that began life in Eureka). Anyway, SC3 tours internationally a LOT, in a lot of off-the-beaten-track places — it's a very unusual niche, but works across many borders. I visit Eureka often and it occurred to me that that's a border we've never crossed! Well, it's happening. ... Maybe it could be something. Thanks!"

Mr. Bungle ... Mr. Bungle ... Oh, right! I think I've heard of them.


For those who haven't followed Trey Spruance's post-Bungle career, Secret Chiefs 3 is an instrumental concept project that has earned rave reviews in Pitchfork, among others, and prompted descriptions such as "goes into uncharted musical territory." In their photo, the all-male, seven-member band is dressed all in black and boasting a variety of facial hair styles. The presumed leader sports a black beanie. Only his eyes are visible, all furrowed-brow and looking into the distance — into those uncharted territories, we imagine. The image screams experimental.

Gig starts at Hum Brews around 9:30 p.m., tickets are $15.

Taste the magic:

Meanwhile, the Mateel Community Center presents an evening of African folk by Zimbabwe's Oliver Mtukudzi & The Black Spirits. A member of the Kore Kore tribe, Mtukudzi sings in the nation's dominant Shona language in addition to Ndebele and English. He also incorporates elements of different musical traditions resulting in a personal style known as "Tuku Music."

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In the press photo, he's seated, a look on his face like he's listening, but his posture clearly indicates he's willing to tell you a story. Friendly. You can tell he's a man who smiles a lot and whom you should take seriously. To illustrate that point, Mtudkudzi not only sings about social issues, but his own social activism has earned him many awards at home and internationally.

One highlight occurred when, in 2010, the University of Zimbabwe and The International Council of Africana Womanism recognized him for his luminary role in uplifting African women through his artistic work.

Bonnie Raitt fans may have heard her cover "Hear me Lord." Raitt also credits Mtukudzi as the inspiration for the song "One Belief Away" on her album Fundamental.

Tickets are available at the usual outlets and online, and are $22 in advance and $25 at the door. Show at 7 p.m.

Experience substantial bliss with this video of Mtukudzi & The Black Spirits from their live session at Seattle's fabulous KEXP:

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Jennifer Savage

Jennifer Savage

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