T-Sisters Variety Show

I was invited to play this variety show put on by the T-Sisters of Oakland. 10502410_10204399182281968_6462802467568632311_nThey have been doing it for over 4 years now and I heard so many good things about it, I was eager to show up and play, even for the 5 minutes of allotted time. I found it to be a warm and welcoming vibe, where they have put in tons of energy into painting signs leading to the bathroom, a stage with back lights and art, and a packed house of eager listening people waiting to hear the next act, whatever it may be, as it was all a surprise, including myself.

The first act came on about 30 minutes late, but perfect timing to get the entire house cozy with standing room filled all in around the packed seated house. I was back stage waiting and I heard a voice that sounded like it was straight from a midwest porch, looking out over a prairie on a rocking chair singing to the world as if the moment resided there, and no where else. Her name is ‘Karlyn Desteno‘. Her music shook everyone to the moment in the most suttle way, right from her saying ‘hello’ and the entire crowd echoing back ‘Hello!’, was the example of an her captive audience, ready to be released as a bird across the white plains sunset. Her music can be heard here: https://soundcloud.com/karlyn-desteno

There were 12 acts of music, including myself, joined by Maren Metke and Marlon Aldana. We did a rendition of ‘Boon Carri E’ as well as an old monkey tune called ‘wanna be like you’. There were so many great acts of music, so I will just give you some highlights:

Karlyn Desteno – whom I’ve mentioned previously. Amazing subtlety and unique flavor of beauty.

Adrienne Mehri Shamszab – Shy back stage, I was shocked at the power that came out when Adrienne started with a 3 song medley in Farci. Her voice had the ability to move energy through the room, an ancient way of being that brought me to a moment of gratitude and reverence. Her music can be heard in connecting with her:  https://www.facebook.com/adrienne.shamszad

American Nomad10362625_10204400172106713_5055773980530465611_nI’ve played a show over 3 years ago with this group and love hearing the progress and hearing their name everywhere. They are doing great, and the new tunes offered this night were astounding as ever. Connect with them here: https://www.facebook.com/AmericanNomadMusic

Marty Oreilly – Brought the house down as the closing act and 10613051_10204403973321741_3793222073324998304_nI honestly did not believe he could do what he did. After all of these amazing musicians played with such unique gifts, he brought his entire 5 piece band and tore it up with soft love tunes that go bad in the best of ways. Violin, Guitar, Cello, Stand Up, and Drums, with a voice that has a flavor of Sean Hayes meets Tom Waits. Marty has great lyrics, stage presents, and songs with instrumentations that fit the mood perfect. You can listen hear:   https://www.facebook.com/martyoreillymusic 

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Soul Graffiti Presents: MojoGreen, Justin Ancheta Band, Kuckaw!

Soul Graffiti Presents: MojoGreen, Justin Ancheta Band, Kuckaw!

At the Great American Music Hall April 10th 2014

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March 1st at the Awaken Cafe – Oakland CA


Saturday, March 1st:

Cello Joe CD Release Party, featuring music by: Justin Ancheta & Jason McGuire.

Awaken Cafe.

1429 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

(510) 863-1440

The Awaken Cafe and Soul Graffiti Presents today announced the CD Release party for Cello Joe, Featuring music by: Justin Ancheta & Jason McGuire. A rare look into the local talent of the bay, Cello Joe is the frontier Beatboxing Cellist of the time, shaping rhythms and loops and fusing electronic styles with a natural element with conscious lyrics. Justin Ancheta is coined as ‘folklyrico-americana’, influenced by Jason Mcguire for the past ten years, he dives into a multi cultural rhythmic soup of deep melodies and flamboyant rasqueado’s. Jason McGuire is the music director of Caminos Flamencos, the premier Flamenco dance and music company of the west coast. This show is going to be amazing. There are free press tickets for whoever comes to take pictures and/or does an article on the night of music. Contact booking@soulgraffiti.info to claim your free ticket.

*if you are part of the press for photo’s or writing article reviews, you can come for free to the show, just email your credentials and contact information to booking@soulgraffiti.info

More information at: http://www.cellojoe.com, http://www.justinancheta.com, http://www.caminosflamencos.com, http://www.soulgraffiti.info

Contact: booking@soulgraffiti.info

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Hawaii 2013 Adventure’s

For the 3rd year in a row, I travelled in winter to the tropical island of Oahu, the place where many of my family members live and where my father was born, in hopes to reconnect with family and invigorate my desire for adventure and environmental stewardship. The first year that inspired me, was performing at the 2010 Hawaii Spirit Festival on the North Shore.

The island is rich with culture and history of a people that lived within the means of the islands natural habitat. Within the past 100 years, it has changed into a tourist meca of the world, drawing 5 million people yearly to the island. Many can argue that it is helping the island by creating economy, and many can argue that is is crowding the island and making a parking lot atmosphere of a paradise. I tend to lean to the latter of the two.

In the past 2 times going, Both were by Bicycle. We have mastered the disassembling of a yuba mundo bicycle into a bike box at the airport, then flying over with it, and assembly of the bike at the Honolulu Airport. We then rode the 8 miles home to Grandma Ancheta’s house in Waipahu. The first year we thought a Cargo Joe Extra Cycle that folded would allow us to bypass the $75 bike fee per trip, and make it easier, but we found that it still cost the same amount, as well as being more to assemble once we arrived. Our time of boxing and unboxing was about 20 to 30 minutes, very quick, faster then going to take a bus and rent a vehicle down the road.

If you are wondering about ebike’s an planes, and if it is legal to fly with a battery the size for your bike, here is some info for you. We have found that most regulations say you are not allowed anything bigger then a computer battery. This meant we decided, both times, to wrap our battery in a blanket, make sure that it was safely packed in the frame of the bike so that nothing could smash it, and boxed it with the bicycle. The overall weight of the box must stay below 100 lbs. The bike, battery, motor was only about 65 lbs, so we were able to throw our sleeping gear, tools (that can’t be carry-on anyway), and other miscellaneous items until we it was about 100 lbs. They didn’t even check it either time and took our word for it, but I imagine it would be smart to know the weight so that you are within 5 lbs of there limit and no complications or timely changes arise.

The entire trip was heavenly. Part of the beauty and realizations of possible ways to better the bike paths and islands alternative transportation throughways was inspiring. Most of the bike paths between Honolulu and around Pearl Harbor are used by the homeless encampments. Not too many people bike their commutes, as seen by the hours of traffic daily on the H1 Highway.

We ended up taking a bike trip around the entire island, scouting where safe routes and unsafe areas are for pedestrians and bicycle riders. Here is the account of the ‘around the island of Oahu’ trip by bike. The bikes used were: a Yuba Mundo ebike (Justin), and a mountain bike (morgan). I’m not sure what brand, but it  did the trick.

Waipahu High School

photo: morgan nilsen

We started our trip in Waipahu, HI and ended our trip in the same location, going clockwise around the island in 3 nights and 4 days. The first stop was Waipahu High school where we spoke of bikes and what they can do with pedal power, lighting and sound and the hopes of a BMF Hawaii in years to come.

biking around oahuThe first destination was the get to the north shore about 38 miles. We headed through Waipahu back roads to find the Highway 750 North Kunia Road. This road has single lane traffic in both directions with a small shoulder, sometimes none at all. Probably some of the most terrifying and dangerous parts of the entire trip was this portion, as well as dropping back into Haleiwa on Kaukonahua Road. A great downhill decent after the 7 mile climb earlier in the day on the H750. We arrived in town to see the ocean sunset, charge our battery, and met up with my cousin Kevin and his girlfriend Kristin, who happened to be up there on the same day. We then continued on the road for another 12 miles to Turtle Bay resort with our headlamps on. It was dark already and the shoulder of the road was small at times, but bigger then earlier in the day. Still much room for safety improvements.

north shore

Photo: morgan nilsen

Once we got to Turtle Bay resort, I was able to charge up the battery and myself, thinking we’d continue to the campground in Laie. We ended up being called by a man and woman that saw us on the road 3 times while traveling and they were intrigued to what we were doing. Once we told them, they enthusiastically wanted to show us a secret camping spot very close to Turtle Bay resort. They proceeded to guide us down a path that led to our own beach front camping. Our first camping night on the island was amazing, waking up to a rainbow out over the water.

by Sacred Falls Oahu

Photo: morgan nilsen

We continued down the coast to Sacred Falls. We had a hard time finding the entry to this fall, as it is a closed hiking trail due to unsafe-falling-rock-conditions. There is a lot of skepticism and local folklore tails of ghosts and scary stories of the area. I feel it has a sacred place that might has been disrespected by too many tourist coming through, allowing for rocks to come lose and fall on their heads. 8 People died 12 years ago, closing the park permanently. We took the risk and made the hike. It was one of the most spectacular areas I have ever seen. thousand foot live rock walls, sometimes jetting out over your head while closer to the waterfall. We purposely went on a weekday, as to avoid the guard that is said to be there on weekends, citing people and telling them to turn around.

We continued on to Kailua for our second night of rest. Before arriving there, my cousin Dwayne fed us and we got a great visit in with him and his 3 kids and wife, getting to hear Amanda, Dwayne’s oldest, play some amazing piano at the age of 7!

above Laie

Photo: morgan nilsen

below Sacred Falls - East side

photo: morgan nilsen

the East side of the island was a mix of large bike lanes separate from the road, to nothing at all at other moments.  We ended up camping in the same exact spot of last year, on Kailua beach, always leaving no trace. One vision I had there over a year ago was camping trips set up so that in the morning the group spends 20 minutes going down the cost cleaning the area, leaving it not only with no trace, but better then they left it. Hoping this happens in years to come. I here San Francisco is already doing this, great news.

On our third biking day, we rounding the bottom of the south side of the island and made it to Haunama Bay for some snorkeling. I did stop at Sandy Beach for a swim as well, but I won’t suggest that for all. The snorkeling was a great experience, as in past years I saw the devastation of tourist on the natural habitat. It seemed that they have more educational aspects down there, and the diversity of fish life seems to be doing great. The choral reef seems to be doing better then in past years, but you can still see the affects of mass-tourism in the water and reef.

China Wall

photo: morgan nilsen

My cousin Kevin, who was staying in Waikiki at that time, met up with us and took us to China Wall, a surfing spot where you must jump off a 15 foot cliff into the water to get in, and getting back out is tough, climbing up onto a higher shelf rock right when the swell lifts you high enough to grab the right ledge.

That night was the tourist-Waikiki night, spending time eating, drinking, and enjoying the white sandy beaches. Many who go to Waikiki don’t even realize that all the beaches there are man-made. The area used to be more swamp-like, mostly areas of farmland and jungle that the natives would gather food from. 95% of all food is brought in by boat to the island, making it highly unsustainable without fossil fuel consumption.

After a night of drinking and almost-drunken debauchery, we decided to ‘sky-dive’ on the north shore. For the most part I felt great during the entire experience, but once I got in the car for the ride home, I was laid out feeling hung over of some sort. Finally on the last stretch of the bike trip passing through honolulu by the airport, I puked out whatever was making me feel nauseous and was able to continue the rest of the trip home to Waipahu. The trip was about 130 miles in all in 4 days, averaging about 30 miles a day. I’d say that out of all the bike trail areas around the island, that about half are ‘unsafe’ and 25% safe, leaving 25% for you to decide. This is a lot of room for potential bicycle growth and improvement of paths, designated bike lanes, and other safety improvements that would lead more people to the idea that they can get on their bike in the best climate in the world, and ride to work, school, or nature.

This trip around the island was 3 days after running the Honolulu Marathon, making it extra tiring on our bodies. It seemed to work as a good recovery in some ways as well though.

I hope this story inspires more bicycle riding on the Islands of Hawaii, as well as ways to make it safe to have alternative transportation methods instead of gas guzzlers in paradise. There is so much room to grow! It is a good time to be alive and realize the potential of downsizing and waste reduction.

To a brighter and better future for us all.

Justin Ancheta

More pictures can be seen on my facebook page HERE

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Le Pêche – Revolution Cafe Review

A new band on the scene with some veteran players, Le Pêche has started their pursuit of music in the Bay Area with a strong desire to pursue making everyone happy and ecstatic through their rivetting melodies and rhythms that make you daydream and dance, sometimes simultaneously. This band is hot and not to be missed! Here is the night in review, from one artist to another.

I arrived just briefly after their set started to be greeted by Joe, the bassist/bartender- extraordinaire, by him raving about not only the band that was playing and the Sunday Night Balkan music nights that are happening at the Revolution Cafe every Sunday, but about the amazing and kind-hearted soul and spirit of Paul Bertin, the lead of Le Pêche band. Joe went on to say the amazingness of how ones soul can be expressed so deeply through his instrument and as well his heart, a genuine spirit of the times in music. 

The music of Le Pêche expresses this, five times over. Each person in the band is comprised of a deep training, a high spirit for invoking pleasure through music, and the compassion and warmth to add the best touch to the night. One of the best examples of how this affects the scene is that in the beginning of the night, the room filled with many local friends and musicians that knew they were in for a treat, not only to support their friends ‘Le Pêche’ but also to share in a night with good people and good music. The Le Pêchetempos and rhythms changed from song to song, even sometimes within the song itself, leaving moments of fast uptempo dancing beats to get people going, and moments of reflection. The rhythm section was always holding town a tight beat, JonJon on drums, Andrew Cohen on Sousaphone, and Ofir on Accordion. Then you have Morgan Nilsen on clarinet, trained classically, but diving into balkan and middle eastern rhythms and scales that can blast you to another planet, or melt your soul back to earth. She follows Paul’s melody with subtle harmonies and counter rhythms to keep your ear wanting more. Paul Bertin on Sax was leading the band. You could see through his gestures his deep indulgence for the art form, expressed through sweeping gestures that sometimes led the band to follow in large beats, swelling from small French streets and and reaching all the way to San Francisco with a long cacophony, then dipping back into a pot of the middle east, and sharing beautiful sounds from around the world. One of my favorite songs was a soft rhythmic tune where Morgan on Clarinet captivated the crowd with an amazing makam, leading them into a deep rhythm, a trance that could allow your chest to expand and take a deep breathe.

The band is new, with excitement in the air and no limit to how far they can take their passion for rhythm and melody. I wrote some words while listening: soft sophisticated intelligent expression with explosions of excitement to contain nothing but the feeling to express oneself completely.  As an audience member and listener, I clapped along, moving my feet and hands. I noticed many others doing the same, sometimes moved to jump out of their seat and start dancing happily bouncing across the room. This music has the ability to be put in a concert haul, or a dance auditorium; the sky as the limit.

Every Sunday now, you can hear a Balkan Music mash up of some of the finest musicians from the Bay Area. Le Pêche is one of my favorite groups of these special nights. The next time they will be there is December 1st, at the Revolution Cafe. Come through, learn and enjoy.


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A Boat Performance by Bolo.

It was a windy evening. We were on a medium sized house boat with 3 stories. The middle had a 50 person venue to the back with seating for all. The night was sold out in advanced due to the fact that this new band, of highly experienced musicians, were going to grace the stage at 6:30 pm. Bolo is the band name. The are Evan Fraser, Eliyahu Sills, and Surya Prakasha. They play devotional music primarily from the middle east, but highly influenced by the west. Deep pocket rhythms mixed with Ngoni, Thumb Drum, andBolo even beatboxing-mouth harp, the three musicians laid a foundation for the entire audience to commune with their creator. Their 3rd performance ever played together, they already received reviews from past shows stating they we’re aplauded with a standing-ovation at a venue that never does such a thing. The trio obviously is working with some intricacies people are picking up on, whether they know why or what it is, it’s still to be found.

Nothing short of a musical experience with the devine, Bolo rocked the boat in the windy Emeryville boat dock for an astounding performance of creativity and improvisation.

There next show is this Saturday November 2nd at La Pena, in Berkeley. Here is the info. Join as you may. If you are interested in seeing some more acoustic music just before this performance in Oakland, come check out the house warming party at ‘The Loft’ 1708 Filbert street in Oakland. The music should be kicking off by 5:30 in the backyard, a great sunny day warm up for Bolo at 8 pm start time.

San Francisco, CA

Saturday | December 21


Acoustic Global Fusion with a Serious Groove

Red Poppy Art House

698 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94110


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Trips to another world

Trips to another world – Northern California’s Rivers (Yuba/American) to the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.

August, 2013. I have travelled far and wide, to find once again, where I am is all there is. This past recent trip has effected me profoundly. I travelled with my cousin – Steve and

The Yuba River, California.

The Yuba River, California. photo: Morgan Nilsen

Girlfriend – Morgan, to the Yucatan Peninsula, located at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico; a land of porous rock and jungles that seem to float above this fresh water mass; cenotes being the eye to the underside of the jungle. Deep blue pools of water that sit in silence, inviting anyone to swim or drink the peace that exists in the belly of the caverns. A culture as soft as the water is found throughout the jungle, seeming to be in poverty – but with the largest smiles and warm hugs and kisses that show an ancient wisdom that you might think exists while nestled in the womb of the mother. I knew I came here to experience this, and to share my story with you.

American River Morning

American River Morning. Photo: Nio Anderson

I come from a place of beauty, the Northern Sierra Mountains of California, where the rivers speak in silence the inaudible wisdom of the natural world. I seem to appreciate where I am from the more I see other places. I started my journey in early august,
 by celebrating my 33rd birthday with friends at the American River in Northern California, Upper Lake Clementine. We biked down the mountain side from the house I grew up in, the first time I ever did this, as well a first for all the amazing friends and musicians from the bay area that made the trek. I yelled and whuped at the stars that I forgot existed so bright without the city lights surrounding me. A meteor shower took place the same night on August 11th – showering streaks half way across the horizon, leaving a tail that fades away. The blackness of the mountains and water we swam in seem to make the meteor shower a display of a mighty power or existence that seemed larger then life; my life, or anyones. The sum of us all are great, as well as the smallest imagery compared to the thunder that may abound in the moment. This imagery, while floating on my back in the still river water, I knew I would be doing the same in a cenote within the week. On August 19th, a day after playing the Ridgestock Festival, I embarked on the journey to another land; familiar faces greeted me with big smiles of love.

Valladolid, Mexico

Valladolid, Mexico. Photo: Morgan Nilsen

We arrived in Cancun to be picked up by Cedrick (Steve), my wise cousin who has been trying to get me to make it to Mexico with him for over a decade. We drove back to Valladolid with Aunt Judy who has a beautiful Hotel (http://www.casa-quetzal.com/en-us/). Cousin Steve took us the following day to Izamal, where we saw pyramids mid day in the heat. We later found that all of us got extreme heat exhaustion, making us puke and sleep for days that followed. I saw it as my awakening to the different environment, a welcoming to the Yucatan and the teaching of the extreme respect one must give to the nature in this area.

l tAfter we got our bearing again, we were able to bike to a local cenote called ‘Samula’. We went at the perfect non tourist time where we had this huge cavern to ourselves all morning long. Morgan did not have too many days left in Mexico before she had to get back for a wedding, so we made our way to Tulum to experience the most beautiful beach I have ever experienced. Aunt Caty Peterson hosted us in her soon-to-be hostel/hotel in Tulum. From Tulum

Cenote in Tulum

Cenote in Tulum. Photo: Morgan Nilsen

to Isla Mujeres, we were able to see the tourist sites and ocean breeze during the non-busy season, which I felt grateful to not be surrounded by too many people. Isla Mujeres had some beach areas that were so private we were able to go skinny dipping in the ocean waves.

I am sitting here back in San Francisco at a coffee shop overhearing some older men speak. I have to interrupt my story to share this conversation, as it leads to the teachings of the Mayan’s I met as well, the most important part of all of this typing. These two men here are talking about how the older the get, the less they want to take care of, or realize that less is more in their lives. I find this to be the teachings I have felt from the Mayan’s, but they never get to the point to have so much, they might go through this teaching at a younger age, or never feel the need to have a big house, many cars, and everything else that these two men probably have here in SF. People are so wealthy with money here, and happy beautiful people, but I must say the open hearts and connection to the Mayan culture and people speak louder to my soul. I walk with them and I feel their strength, I don’t feel like people are trying to poach energy off of each other, something that maybe capitalism teaches us subconsciously. One teaching I had was when I was staying with Aunt Cynthia and Abuelo Antonio on the farm, in the jungle of the Yucatan. I wanted to help so I went out with the machete to cut back the forest with Don Juan, the father worker who has a heart of gold. I started working and felt very peaceful. He showed me a few tips on how to cut and take the roots out of the plants around the mayan ruin. After awhile, he came back and shared with me a mix of words in Mayan and Spanish. I understood what he was saying with the help of his hand gestures. He spoke to me about keeping my intention and mind pure while I cut the grass and trees back, to create a spiritual moment of gratitude and happiness that connects me with my heart. I was feeling what he mentioned as he said it, and it reminded me of what I strive to create wherever I go. I want to create moments of I am here, no where else, working, sitting, playing, whatever I am doing, but with the feeling of a light heart, a clear head, and a smile on face, grateful for this life I live. I saw him and others work this way, probably making $10 a day working in the heat, rain, and bug-filled weather of the jungle. I wonder if their low wages dates back to the first conquests of the land by the spanish, realizing such a humble people existed in service and offered their work for so little, that it has just stayed this way throughout the centuries. Sometimes the stories of wages makes me sad, as people get taken advantage of by tourist companies like Xcaret. But sometimes it puts a smile on my face when I see Don Juan and Damiana who work the land for Abuelo Antonio, they seem to be existing as they have throughout past centuries, working the land with a smile on their face and a light heart, sharing moments they can with nature and their surroundings. Thank you Don Juan and Damiana for teaching me through your energy as you work. Everyone has troubles to work out, I realize, but I hope we may find a balance between these worlds so that we may find more of a balance with nature, and ourselves.

My trip ended with a ceremony on the land with an amazing group of beautiful people. There were about 15 of us that participated in a Santo Daime ceremony, using Ayahuasca, singing, dancing, and music, to guide us through the night. I do not want to share too much at this moment, as it just took place 36 hours ago and I am still processing it all. I suggest if you are interested, to research it yourself and see if it might be for you.

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