Friday, May 4, 2018

Rafiq Bhatia Coming to Cafe du Nord this Month

Rafiq Bhatia (from the Eventbrite event page)

There is no disputing any claim about New York composer and guitarist Rafiq Bhatia inhabiting the bleeding edge. Early influences from both Jimi Hendrix and John Coltrane (hopefully including the recordings he made with Eric Dolphy) clearly pointed him in the right direction from an early age. Since then he has been forging his own paths in a variety of different directions. As a result, word of his coming to San Francisco needs a bit more of an advance notice than is afforded by the weekly Bleeding Edge columns on this site.

The occasion will be the celebration of the release of his latest album, Breaking English, on the Anti- Records label about a month ago. The album itself seems to have been conceived to take a multi-dimensional approach to the composer’s identify. Thus, two of the opening tracks reflect on Olduvai Gorge in the Great Rift Valley and its role in our knowledge of the origins of our own species. Yet Bhatia disrupts that long view of history by separating the two Olduvai tracks with a longer piece entitled “Hoods Up,” thus disturbing the sense of a historical legacy by turning attention to the Black Live Matter movement. By the time the recording has passed to “The Overview Effect,” the listener has been struck by just how fragile present-day conditions are, to the point that a final track entitled “A Love That’s True” is more likely to provoke skepticism, rather than leave the listener with a sense of comfort.

Bhatia will come to San Francisco on Wednesday, May 30. He will be performing at the Cafe du Nord in the Swedish American Hall in a concert that will begin at 7:30 p.m. The opening set will be taken by Ian Chang. The Swedish American Hall is located at 2174 Market Street, south of the Duboce Triangle and a short walk from the Church Street Muni station. General admission on the day of the show will be $14, but tickets are being sold in advance for $12. Tickets may be purchased online through an Eventbrite event page. The program is being presented by Noise Pop, and only those aged 21 or older will be admitted.

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