By June 1, 2014 Read More →

Acoustic View

Acoustic View By Aaron Rowan

Profiles in Philharmonic Poetry: Francesca Bavaro

Someone told me recently that right before she won her first Grammy, Adele came through Modesto and played one of those Underground Lounge concerts that B92 radio used to produce. Sadly, I wasn’t let in on that secret when it happened. I have a secret I’m going to let you in on, though: we have a powerhouse artist right here among us, as amazing as Adele herself, and who I have had the honor of working both with and for on several occasions.

Francesca Bavaro is best known for her repertoire of renditions of the classics, but she is actually an incredibly gifted songwriter and lyricist. Drawing musical influence from the likes of Tori Amos, and lyrical influence from master storytellers such as Bob Dylan, Francesca composes deep and powerful pop songs on her keyboard. Her rich voice has led her to honors such as the grand prize in the 2011 ‘Valley’s Got Talent’ contest, and a spot in a special concert this year featuring members of the ‘Glee’ cast, both of which were sponsored by the Gallo Center For The Arts. More recently, her skillful lyricism landed her the top prize in the Modesto Unplugged Music Festival’s first songwriting contest this year, where she prevailed over many gifted composers from across the country to win a cash payout and a sponsorship to the Yosemite Songwriting Retreat in October, where she will have the chance to be mentored by greats including Peter Rowan and Keith Greeninger. This is a great event a friend of mine created just last year. Check out www.yosemitesongwriting.com to get the full scoop on this conference.

Just as amazing as Francesca’s winning submission to the MUMfest song contest is the story that inspired it. When not sharing her music, Francesca can be found toiling at the local O’Brien’s Market, where she has no shortage of ideas to draw from. ‘Be Still’ was written after an overheard conversation between two girls waiting in line, who were discussing how each of them was cheating on her boyfriend…with the other’s boyfriend. Francesca spun this lunacy into a ballad which was the loveliest tune I had heard in a while.

Another major source of creativity for her is imagining the what-ifs – she’s much better with crafting sad tunes than upbeat ones, but life is just too damned good to her these days for her to have any real-life melancholy material. And it’s only getting better. Earlier this year Francesca received a personal invitation to audition for a new musical talent search series filming in Los Angeles. She’s even performed onstage in Vegas a time or two in recent months. It’s only a matter of time before she finds herself in the big leagues in one of those hotspots. Until then, you can catch her doing what she does best 2-3 times each month at Dewz Restaurant (1505 J St.)

June calendar: June 7 – Local Celtic groups Cooking With Turf and Golden Bough are among the lineup at the Scottish Highland Games at Tuolumne River Park. 9 AM-5 PM; tickets $13.

June 10 – TJ from The Dustbowl Children performs at ‘Ballads On The Blacktop,’ a series of acoustic players at a new farmers market every 2nd and 4th Tuesday from 3-7 PM at Sciabica’s Oil Of The Olive, 2150 Yosemite Blvd. Music starts around 5 PM.

June 18 – Orchestral folk duo The Thoughts (from Seattle, WA) with Mattea Overstreet and Boscoe’s Brood. 8 PM at Peer Recovery Art Project, 1222 J St. $5 cover.

24 – Patty Castillo Davis at Ballads On The Blacktop, 5 PM.

26 – Medieval & Spanish blues guitarist Claude Bourbon, on tour from England, plays at Café Deva, 1202 J St. Opening up will be Southern CA artist Jen Hajj. 7:30 PM, $5.

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