To say that Michael Franti is a busy man would be a gross understatement. How the man has time to brush his teeth in the morning is beyond me.
The journey began back in 2004 when Michael Franti took an unsponsored camera crew to the Middle East to learn for himself the "human cost" of war. From this trip comes the documentary I Know I'm Not Alone
, a film born from Franti's desire to "...hear about the war by people affected by it most: doctors, nurses, poets, artists, soldiers, and, my personal favorite, musicians." Franti and his entourage visited Iraq, Israel, and the occupied territories of Palestine. While many may perceive this as political, Franti stops short of calling this a political movie.
"I wanted to make a film about people, and the things they do to overcome the stresses of war and occupation: chief among these being friendship, humour, art and music," says Franti on the Spearhead website.
From this journey also comes the music for his forthcoming release, Yell Fire!.
The album captures the stories of images of war through songs such as "Yell Fire!," "Time To Go Home," "I Know I'm Not Alone," "One Step Closer To You," which features backing vocal by Pink, and "Is Love Enough," featuring reggae star Gentleman. At the urging of Island Records founder, Chris Blackwell, Franti, along with spearhead members Carl Young (bass) and Dave Shul (guitar) made his way to Kingston, Jamaica, and recorded with the legendary duo of Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare.
Of the trip to the Middle East, Franti comments on his website that "The thing that I found when I was in war zones was that nobody wants to hear songs about war. They want to hear songs about connection to people, and songs about love and life, songs that make them dance." Of the new material, Franti says, "I feel this is our best record yet."
Franti also had a chance to make a statement in front of members of the World Health Organization at the United Nations Complex in Geneva, Switzerland. Franti spent two days meeting with WHO staffers as well as members of the United Nations and was part of a panel on "The Human Face of Conflict and Health: Impact on Health Care Systems."
Finally, as if this weren't enough, Michael Franti and Spearhead are off to tour and spread his truth to audiences around the globe. The tour begins in the U.S. with a stop in my backyard on Saturday, June 24th, as part of the Taos Solar Music Festival
in pristine Taos, New Mexico. In August, the tour makes its way to Europe for a round of festival dates before returning to the states for a date in San Francisco at the Power To The Peaceful Festival
on September 9th in Franti's hometown of San Francisco, CA.For more information, log on to www.spearheadvibrations.com