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Five things I'm grateful for:

1. My family: My two amazing sons who never cease to teach and amaze me, my mom, brothers and sisters, Jolene, my band-mates and crew, our management and creative team who inspire me everyday!!!

2. The gift of music: You've taken me all over the world and introduced me to people and places I never dreamed possible. Everyday you refill my heart when it needs replenishing and satiate my desire to create something meaningful that I can offer to others.

3. My health: After my near death ruptured appendix experience and subsequent surgery to remove it, I feel more grateful than ever for every precious second I am alive. I also want to give a special thanks to Dr.'s Gindi, Fallus and Spirt who put me back together again.

4. Yoga: It's got me through some of my most emotionally difficult moments this year and kept my body in shape for the long haul of the road. I have been practicing almost everyday while I am recording and it's been a great way to recharge and refresh my creative flow.

5. The People: All the people I've met around the globe this year. New friends, acquaintances, and all the people I hug after every show and only have a moment to share with. It's inspiring and humbling to rawk with the greatest fans in the world every night!

I will be spending the weekend with family and friends and then continuing to record the best record I can make until I take a break in mid-december.

I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday season of family, friends, yummy food and sincere gratitude for all you have to smile about!!!

Thanks for an inspiring year.

Big love,
michael franti

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Dear, the best fans ever...

I am super excited to be touring with John Mayer in the spring of 2010. John is an amazing singer and songwriter and guitarist who shares my vision of bringing people together through music to have an incredible time.

Now I've read a few emails and tweets from some of you die-hards expressing concern that perhaps because we are performing in these larger venues the good old intimate days are over. Well, rest assured good people, that no matter where I'm playing - be it a festival in front of 70,000 people or in a bar in front of a dozen, my goal is to always create intimacy through music and connect with y'all through the most rawkin' show possible! We are working on a new album right now and you will be hearing many new jams on this tour so don't sleep.

I look forward to seein' ya on tour next Feb-April and I can guarantee that we will be headlining again in smaller venues, I'll be greeting sweaty fans after every show and you will still be getting the same ol' barefooted me (like it or not!) :). And If you really can't stand coming into the arenas, then just come out to the parking lot before the show because you'll probably find us out there jamming!

Thank you for all your love and support now and over the years,

Michael Franti

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Well after being in the hospital for six days following a ruptured appendix surgery and being at home for a week following that, I got back on stage at the House of Blues in New Orleans and played music once again. I felt a bit shaky going into it, not having jumped or used my abdominal muscles to sing at all for two weeks, so I wasn't sure if my body remembered how to do it. I did a short Yoga practice before the show and my first headstand since the surgery which gave me a little confidence. My bandmates were really on point and having their support over the past two weeks of layoff and then onstage last night was HUGE! Thanks guys (and you too Cherine)! They played better than before the layoff (maybe we need more time off? LOL).

Anyway, once the adrenaline kicked in I was fine onstage. Only problem was my guitar sits right up against my incision from the surgery and kept bumping it (ouch!) so I adapted by playing my guitar on the side of my body. A bit awkward, but perhaps it's a style that will catch on. I felt like I had about 75% of my normal energy and look forward to getting back in tour shape in the next few weeks.

I want to thank everyone who packed the House of Blues last night and were so warm welcoming me back before and after the gig. Also thanks once again to everyone who sent letters, E-mails, flowers, teddy bears, ointments and prayers for my healing. I've said it before, we have the best fans an artist could ever dream of having!!! I'm grateful to be alive and grateful to be sharing music again!

Thanks, from Nashville, Michael Franti

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It was a huge honor and fantastic fun to play at the 2009 Special Olympic Winter Games in Sun Valley, Idaho. I want to give a big shout out to all the athletes; organizers and volunteers who have continued this journey dedicated to making all people feel special and included. It was a huge community effort and I was particularly moved by receiving a hand knitted blue and white scarf (the Special Olympic colors) from a fan at the show in Boise. Organizers of the event had called to the people of Idaho to make 5000 scarves for the athletes and their families by the time the opening ceremonies began they had received 55,000!!!

When I put it on the next morning I felt the stitching with my fingertips and thought wow someone stayed up late in the night, like my mother did when I was a kid, stitching this scarf for a complete stranger and now those hours are wrapped around my neck (and voice) keeping me warm.

Meeting the athletes, in the athlete village was definitely the highlight for me. Hearing the stories of the competitors from languages from all over the world, seeing their smiles and the light of their medals shining off their faces as they posed for the cameras. I met an Israeli woman named Tali who is the mother of four children. She was told from birth her youngest daughter would never walk, but 21 years later, not only is she walking, but also she skis, and plays basketball and volleyball at Special Olympics! Tali taught us all an impromptu version of a song and dance she wrote called "I know I can" and soon we had a circle of people doing it in the athlete’s village.

The show itself was outrageously cold and my thumb is still numb from the bit of frostbite it received, but the spirits were so high and the crowd rocked so hard, (seems the cold and music are good unifiers). We were joined on stage by young kids, athletes and a high school senior named Sam who performed a rap about how Special Olympics had affected his life. The show was opened by Jimmy and Donnie Demers who are an amazing piano and vocal duo (check em out online.)

One of the organizers, Jim Grossman, whose sister has been a Special Olympics athlete for 30 years, said something that will always stick with me, “as able bodied people we live in such a narrow bandwidth, there is no one "right way" to ski, ride a snowboard, skate or play hockey, there are as many ways as there are people who try. The more we learn to experience those ways and help others to do it for themselves, the more powerful we become!"

Special Olympics embody the ideas of diversity and inclusion that have always been the messages I strive for in my songs. I could not be more grateful to have had the opportunity to play at the games.

I want to say thanks to Chip Fisher for inspiring me to get involved and who along with the Grossman's undertook the monumental task of bringing the games to Idaho, having me and encouraging everyone to get involved with Special Olympics Idaho and to Sandy Figge who had us all over to her grand barn for a late night of reminiscing the day.

To all the athletes and fans, way to ROCK!!!

Peace, Michael Franti

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How you feelin?

I've been out on the street all day and I've just been going up to people asking where they are from, and what they're doing here. They're like, I don't know man, I just had to be here, and that's how it feels. So, I'm super glad to be here with you all in this historic time, in this historic moment.

In 2004, I was watching CNN on our tour bus. There were these generals and politicians talking about the economic cost and the political costs of war, but they never mentioned anything about the human cost of war. So, I decided to take my guitar and a video camera, and fly from New York City to Ahman, Jordan. I had bought a ticket on a sixteen passenger airplane and flew to Baghdad. I played music on the street for Iraqi civilians, and at night I played for US soldiers. I went to a street corner and played for Iraqi civilians. I knew one word in Arabic, which is Habibi, and it means my good friend, my dear love. Every man says it to every man and every woman says it to every woman when they greet each other. So I wrote this little song, it's like, Habibi Habibi, and this amazing thing happened. These people were like, Who is this weirdo with a guitar? They started dancing and clapping and singing to this silly song.

I really saw, you know, we talk about it a lot, the power of music to bring people together. You saw it yesterday, the power of music to bring a million people out into the park to hear music and to hear these ideas of Barack. But to do it in a simple way, in a very micro way just to see somebody who's had their home destroyed, to see somebody who has had their child's limb blown off, to meet a soldier who's a long way from home and wondering why he's there, and to see how music brings an awakening in people, brings an awakening in all of us.

I have really admired the work of Rock The Vote and have been involved in various things with Rock the Vote for a long time. Because that's what Rock the Vote is dedicated to. It's dedicated to using the power of music to bring an awareness and awakening in people, or to bring a consciousness in people, or to raise money or awareness for a certain cause. I really appreciate the support and all that you have done in whatever ways you have given. Like Sheryl was saying, we have to continue to find ways to contribute to this effort. To make the world a brighter place.

I was thinking today on the way here if there has ever been a time when so many people in the world celebrated one thing. I was thinking...Super Bowl? Well, in some countries, you know, maybe the Berlin Wall. But, I don't know if there's ever been a time where the whole world, in Africa, Asia, South America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, everywhere, was paying attention to this one event that we are here to be involved in. The energy that we are apart of here today, we have the opportunity to take out into the world and share with our people back home through our pictures, through our first hand experience. We're able to use that to not just hold Barack accountable to his promises, but to have this opportunity to help Barack achieve this vision of bringing people together across religions, across races, across the aisle. I just want to say thank you very much for being here in the spirit of music and oneness.


Michael Franti & Sheryl Crow
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Well, here we are. It's nineteen degrees. We're walking down the street in DC. On the way to the Inauguration. there's about two million people. we've had to walk all around for miles it seems like. Even kilometers.. geez! Just to get to a spot where we can be amongst two million of our closest friends to watch a tv screen, for Obama. But it's good to be here.

Now it's almost twelve o'clock. We're out here among two million people. Obama's about to be sworn in and uh, we're watching a jumbotron behind a tree. One of many trees in the capitol. And it's great!

It's crackin'. It's crackin' in there . Well, we're here. We just got a new president. Obama's in office. It's so cold out here that the pond in front of the capitol is frozen solid...Wow.

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Michael Franti and Spearhead: Say Hey Music Video
Say Hey Music Video

Read the Band's Blogs

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It’s impossible to express my feelings about Barack Obama without first the perspective of the past eight years.  Wars (that cost the lives of hundreds of thousands), economic disaster, domestic emergency failure, a toxic environmental policy, exacerbated middle east violence, all while Americans pleaded for a better way.  
During my travels in Iraq, Israel, Gaza, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Europe and all over the States, I have seen and heard the voices of people who want change.  They want an end to the violence, the stabilization of our economy, education and healthcare for all, renewable energy and an environmental vision with an eye on generations to come.  
This is why on the eve of Election Day I curled up in bed with my nine year old son and cried as I read a children’s biography on our President-elect. I explained that over the last eight years there were times (particularly when I was in the Middle East) that I felt so much pain in my heart and so bleak about the future. I told him how in my lifetime, I never imagined I would be voting for a black man, let alone someone with as much charisma and dynamism as Barack Obama. I cried as my pen hit the paper of my ballot.  
Our future President ran not as a "lefty peacenik", but as a bipartisan candidate willing to compromise for the greater good rather than drown in idealism. This will no doubt lead to cries of hypocrisy, cynicism and sellout, as the months and years, pass by those who have pinned their personal hopes to his lapel like a three dollar American flag pin.
He may disappoint you at times, I am certain he will disappoint me, but that is what happens when you work in a collaborative setting like Washington. This does not mean that you should not get mad when you are disappointed. On the contrary, get fired up, speak out, organize and be heard!
The onus is on all of US who really care, to not just hold him to his promises, but to help him to achieve them.
He may not become all the best attributes of every president rolled into one, but at a time when we need it the most he has offered us the light, the glimmer, the hope, the opportunity, that things could get even a little bit better (hell, a lot better!). It’s up to all 6 billion of us on this planet to seize this opportunity and to do everything we can do to make it real.


© 2009 Michael Franti and Spearhead