Preeminent nonprofit record label Little Village Foundation genuinely changes the lives of underground artists, who in turn, positively impact their communities in all corners of the West Coast. The significance of Little Village Foundation's grassroots work of bringing undiscovered artistic gems into the spotlight has been lauded by mainstream news outlets such as CNN, Forbes, TigerBeat, Billboard, and others, while the label announces today its most notable lineup of artists to date for its summer 2019 releases. Little Village emulates the mission of GRAMMY Award-winning keyboardist Jim Pugh who helps champion musicians' careers with an artist-first platform. For its comprehensive roster of over 20 musicians, Little Village pays all recording costs, covers the duplication of 1,000 CDs with 100% of profits going directly to the artists, and the musicians own all the intellectual property.
On August 17, 2019, Little Village Foundation releases five new full-length albums featuring an array of the West Coast's most compelling women voices fighting for change through sharing their life stories to inspire people across the globe. Little Village's summer 2019 lineup of recordings, includes Betty Reid Soskin, recently chosen as one of Glamour Magazine's "Women of the Year 2018"; Oakland rock outfit Skip The Needle featuring Vicki Randle, a percussionist/vocalist for nearly 20 years with The Tonight Show (1992-2010); 18-year-old Muslim Somali refugee Saida Dahir in collaboration with bassist Jerry Jemmott from Gil Scott-Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"; acclaimed Pacific Northwest fingerstyle guitarist Mary Flower; and Harvard University-bound 18-year-old Latina singer Anaí Adina from California's Central Valley.
Supported by numerous prominent donors including the Bill Graham Foundation, The Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, Hellman Foundation, Hirsch & Associates, McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, The San Diego Foundation, blues superstar Bonnie Raitt, and others, Little Village Foundation has developed in four years a prestigious board of directors and a robust staff based out of Santa Barbara County, Calif.. Little Village's renowned roster of artists have emerged from being local acts to signing independent and major label record deals, winning prestigious awards, and performing on the country's most venerable stages (Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival). Most critical though, these artists now have the community support of like-minded musicians that all propel one another's careers. Like one big extended family, Little Village provides the infrastructure for singular artists to pursue their musical dreams.
"2019 is our most diverse set of releases yet," says Jim Pugh. "From all the acts I've seen over the past 12 months as I trekked across the West Coast to various music festivals and venues, these five artists are the best representation of what's truly vital right now on the scene. Ranging in ages from 18 to 97, five stalwart women artists are the voices we want to advocate for and bolster their careers. We believe talented artists should have access to the essential tools (professional studio time, CD duplication, photo shoots, promotion campaigns) for a successful launch of an album. This is where Little Village can have a real impact. Little Village proudly brings musicians together who above all else are remarkable human beings."
Pugh's career as a keyboardist for the likes of B.B. King, Etta James, John Lee Hooker, Robert Cray, and Van Morrison, has garnered him multiple GRAMMY® Awards, and platinum and gold records. No longer a full-time musician, Pugh has dedicated his career as the Executive Director of Little Village Foundation to unearth American roots and rock artists with fascinating stories and undeniable talent. In looking at the label's 2015 - 2019 releases and the critical praise they've garnered, it's proving to be a successful venture.
Little Village Foundation -- 2019 Artists
Betty Reid Soskin is a celebrated storyteller and, at the age of 97, is the oldest active Park Ranger in America at The Rosie The Riveter WWII Home Front National Historic Park in Richmond, CA. Soskin's reflections on living for nearly a century are a riveting commentary on her family's American narrative from the Dred Scott Decision, the Civil War, Reconstruction and through to Black Lives Matter and are at the heart of her new album, A Lifetime Being Betty. Recorded live at The Moth, Bridge Storage and Art Space, Litquake and Porchlight Storytelling, and Luna Voices, A Lifetime Being Betty exhibits the public speaker in her natural milieu sharing her truths while signaling that there is much life to live in one's final decades. In 2015, she introduced Barack Obama for the "Christmas Tree Lighting" on national television, and last year, Glamour Magazine honored Betty Reid Soskin as one of their "Women of the Year 2018." In November 2019, Soskin will perform in New York City as one of The Moth's Five Best Storytellers of the Year.
Skip The Needle features a supergroup of the Bay Area's leading women who are all acclaimed bandleaders in their own right, including guitarist/vocalist Shelley Doty (Shelley Doty X-tet, Jambay), drummer/vocalist Kofy Brown (Kofy Brown Band, Sistas in the Pit), guitarist/vocalist Katie Cash (Katie Cash Band, Year of the Fist), and national TV star percussionist/vocalist Vicki Randle (The Tonight Show). With a nearly two-decade career as a singer on The Tonight Show (1992-2010), and eight years touring with Mavis Staples behind her, Randle returns to her hard rock roots with her politically charged collective Skip The Needle for their debut studio album, We Ain't Never Going Back.
18-year-old Saida Dahir is a Muslim Somali refugee and spoken-word artist living in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dahir came to national acclaimed through her piece "A Tribute To The Fallen" on Little Village Foundation's recording, Raise Your Voice, featuring students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL and youth across the country speaking out against gun violence in America. On her debut poetry album, The Walking Stereotype, Dahir collaborates on her track "Justified" with acclaimed bassist Jerry Jemmott who performed on Gil Scott-Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised."
Multi-award winning Pacific Northwest's fingerstyle guitarist Mary Flower releases a new full-length studio album, Livin' with the Blues Again, showcasing her deft pickin' skills with an impressive collection of blues and ragtime originals. Flower appears on Livin' with the Blues Again alongside powerhouse soul vocalists The Sons Of The Soul Revivers and Bay Area folk legend Suzy Thompson.
A member of the premier youth ensemble Mariachi Mestizo, Latina singer/violinist Anaí Adina from California's Central Valley releases her first recording Espérame En El Cielo -- a collection of traditional Mexican love songs that serves as an ode to her family as she prepares to study pre-med at Harvard University in fall 2019. On three songs on Espérame En El Cielo, Anaí collaborates with the 19-piece Mariachi Mestizo and upwards of 11 classical youth musicians from Enriching Lives Through Music (ELM). ELM is a transformative full scholarship multi-year program providing music education, ensemble, and performance opportunities to youth. Through ELM's work with The Mariachi Studio in Delano, Calif., the program teaches children about Latino culture and traditional compositions. Juan Morales, a former member of the legendary mariachi group Los Camperos and father of Anaí (as well as the Director of The Mariachi Studio), appears on Espérame En El Cielo along with her two sisters (including Little Village artist Xochitl Morales who released her critically-acclaimed album, Descansos, in 2017). Anaí performed with Mariachi Mestizo at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (SF).
For additional detailed information regarding the five artists releasing new albums on Little Village in August 2019, please visit: littlevillagefoundation.com
About Little Village Foundation
Little Village Foundation is a non-profit cultural producer and record label that searches out, discovers, records and produces music that otherwise would not be heard beyond the artist's family and community. Little Village supports the dreams of artists from non-traditional backgrounds. Many of these artists make music just as a part of telling their community stories. Through some detective work and the help of an extensive network from his acclaimed performing career, Executive Director Jim Pugh learns of great music happening in communities throughout the country, music that has deep roots in American popular and roots traditions. He then offers to record their music at no expense to the artist at all. Usually, this is the very first time the artist has been recorded. Not only is there no expense to the artist, Little Village Foundation owns zero intellectual property for the music and sets up all retail accounts for the sales of CDs in the artists' names. This happens with generous public donations and grants.