Nearly a year ago, I filmed Michael Musika at The Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. I planned to combine the footage with a One Night Music session down the road. Michael wore a dark, hooded cloak that engulfed him like a shadow of something much larger than his physical self; indeed, there is an immaterial aura that accompanies the fellow. When you see a parade of 15 brass and woodwind instruments marching onstage to open his show, or listen to him speak about his current picture-book/album project, you get a sense of the majestic mystery that enshrouds the otherwise shy and humble Mr. Musika.
Michael was one of the first musicians part of a very active indie, experimental folk scene that I met upon moving to the city. He performed on Diamond Dave's Pirate Cat radio program Common Threads Radio in April 2009, and it took nearly a year to make the session happen. Not for loss, in the process I gained a magical friend and perhaps most importantly, the session did ultimately happen- precisely and only as it was meant to.
None of the Rickshaw footage I took was actually used, as the concept for Michael's One Night Music session underwent many transformations. But in the end, many familiar faces -- including musicians from other bands featured by One Night Music -- made their way to the magician's home, and for the Saturday afternoon on January 30th, the living room of his second-story Sunset flat turned into a portable One Night Music recording studio
One aim of One Night Music is to capture an intimate moment with the featured musician. It is a special opportunity, then, to capture them in their own home. Michael's is one of green planet life, walls photos, and friend-art. The living room- a space used to sharing the floor with many talented people, was crowded with instruments, cameras, and equipment. Flooded with sunlight, lush with vegetation, and crowded with people soaked in the words that Michael so gently gives to the world, the mystery was clear. Rather, it was clear that part of him, so romantic and poetic, would remain hidden from view, and the swift delivery of stories through song would periodically latch on to elements of the whole.
A handful of talented musicians with diverse and different inclinations joined Michael for the session: Matt Adams of the Blank Tapes, Eric Kuhn of Silian Rail, Sleepy Todd and Indianna Hale of...Sleepy Todd and Indianna Hale, darling Kacey Johansing, and omnipresent Dina Maccabee. Part of Michael's wonder is the way he unites and inspires others, perhaps a quality more permanent and far-reaching than music itself. This is the sentiment he brings to his friends, to his community, and, now, to One Night Music.
Recorded in San Francisco, CA on January 30, 2010.