This Month In Music

Featured Artist: Ken Maffeo
Born: Van Nuys, CA
Resides in: Benicia, CA, for past 12 years
Favorite Food: Sushi! Love it. Have been eating it since I was 10.
Favorite Book: The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman
Relationship Status/Children: Married, wife Liz, son Dante age 5

How do you share your music with your family?

I’m always playing music around the house.  My home is pretty much like a guitar center.  I play guitar, drums, piano and woodwinds.

Does your son play guitar yet? 

He is just picking it up in his little hands.  My wife has one from when she was a little girl and we just left it out in the living room.   I just sit back right now because I want it to be his choice and I don’t want him to feel any pressure from me.

What did you listen to as a teenager?

Well I was a teen in the 1980’s so our choices were interesting. I’ve always been drawn to Power Pop….Police, Duran Duran, Oingo Boingo, so you can see I was of “that” generation.

What's the first music you remember hearing?

AM 70s radio. You remember that CD set AM Gold? I have it and love it. All those 1970’s pop one-hit wonders? I can’t name them all but I know the songs when I hear 'em.

Why do you sing?

Singing is the closest I will ever get to God. When you sing there is this connection to everything around you and it just feels right. I sang in choirs starting at the age of six and I knew that I had some way to communicate with something bigger than myself. The greatest gift is when you can sing harmony with others and it clicks. That is pure bliss. We do have a heaven here on Earth and that is when singers sing together in perfect harmony.  

When did you start writing your own songs?

I started like many brooding teenagers with lyrics about anger and frustration around 15.  I didn’t have full songs with melodies and accompaniment until I was about 22.

What changes have you seen in the business of music?

Well, I know how it’s changed for myself. My main focus 7 years ago was to write a hit song and get my own music published.  Difficult part of that is that computers and home recording made it so that anyone with Pro Tools  and AutoTune could make a song sound good. They may not be able to back it up live but the internet became flooded with artists and independent  albums on iTunes.  You became a grain of sand on a very large beach.

What was your best moment on stage?

I remember the first solo vocal I got to sing in a high school musical.  I think it was Camelot. No one really knew that I could sing with emotion. I just belted out my part and I could see the eyes of the people in the front row grow wider and wider.  I knew at that moment I had a gift and I could do something with it.

Tell us about your teaching?  You work with a special student population.  Do you use music?

I am a teacher for students with severe disabilities at the middle school level.  Many of my boys and girls are children with Autism, Downs and developmental disabilities.  I LOVE my job! We work on not only academic skill but we focus on social and vocational skills as well.  Music and performance are a very big part of my job.  I perform every day.  That’s really what a good teacher has to do.  You need to get up there and hold the attention of children for over six hours.  With TV and video games this has become no easy feat.  I use music in the class to inject fun and humor.  I play songs for my guys and get them to sing and dance and just have fun with music.  They truly show me the true meaning of “play” and that is to just “Have fun and not care what others think about you.”  I think this world would be a really cool place if we could do more of that.  Sing and Dance like no one’s looking.

Where can we see you perform?

Right now I have a regular Wednesday night 6-9pm at The Warehouse Bar and Grill in Oakland.  I'm also available for private events.

To learn more about Ken go to www.KenMaffeo.com

Live Music

Ongoing

The Rellik Tavern
therelliktavern.com 707.746.1137
Live music Friday & Saturday nights

Upstairs at the Café
firststreetcafe.com 707.745.1400
Live music Thursday, Friday & Saturday nights
Jazz Sunday afternoon

Union Hotel
unionhotelbenicia.com 707.746.7847
Live jazz band every Thursday 6-9 pm

Benicia Farmers Market
beniciamainstreet.org 707.745.9791
Live music every Thursday

Gracie Barbeque, Vallejo
graciesq.com 707.552.2254
Blues Friday nights 6:30-9pm

Kinders
kindersbbq.com/Benicia_CA.html 707.745.4453
Live music Thursday
Benicia Farmer’s Market 6-9pm

Favela’s Fusion, Fairfield
favelasfusion.com 707.421.8484
Live Mariachi music, first Friday
of the month

Sticky Rice Chinese Bistro & Bar, Fairfield
stickyricebistro.com 707.863.7500
Live Music every Saturday from 6:30-9:30pm

Winterhawk Winery
Suisun Valley, winterhawkwinery.com 707.428.6977
Live music, dancing and wine tasting every
Saturday from 2-5pm

Special Events

Alexander String Quartet
Mondavi Arts, Davis
Sunday, October 2 at 7pm
mondaviarts.org

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir
Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
Sunday, October 2 at 7:30pm
thefreight.org

Journey and Foreigner
Sleep Train Pavillion, Concord
Wednesday, October 5 at 7pm
ticketsnow.com

House of Floyd
Octoberfest, Concord
Thursday, October 6 at 6:30pm
www.communityconcerts.com

Natasha James
Southern Pacific Smokehouse, Novato
Friday, October 7, 2011 at 8:30pm
thesouthernpacific.com

Vallejo Symphony
The Empress Theatre, Vallejo
Saturday, October 8, 2011 at 8 pm
vallejosymphony.org

Laurence Juber
El Campanil Theatre, Antioch
Saturday, October 8 at 8pm
elcampaniltheatre.com

Keiko Matsui
Napa Valley Opera House, Napa
Thursday, October 13 at 8pm
nvoh.org

Louis Prima, Jr.
Silo’s, Napa
Friday, October 14
at 7 & 10pm
silosnapa.com

Arturo Sandoval
Yoshis, San Francisco
Friday-Saturday, October 14th-16th
yoshis.com

Kenny G.
Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre, Vacaville
Sunday, October 16th at 7 pm
vpat.net

Wayne Wallace
Piedmont Piano Company, Oakland
Saturday, October 22nd at 8 pm
piedmontpiano.com

The Nick Gravenites Blues Band
George’s, San Rafael
Saturday, October 22nd at 9 pm
georgesnightclub.com

The Anna Estrada Quartet
Armando’s, Martinez
Sunday, October 23rd at 3 pm
armandosmartinez.com

Danny Click
142 Throckmorton, Mill Valley
Friday, October 28th at 8 pm
142throckmortontheatre.com

Suzanna Smith: A Tribute to the Great Ladies of Jazz
Firehouse Arts, Pleasanton
Sunday, October 30th 2 pm
firehousearts.org

Categories: Community, Miscellaneous, Wellness

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