By John Harper | Correspondent
Wednesday, Aug. 18
Michael Franti and Spearhead, with Of Good Nature
One of the least classifiable musicians working today is Michael Franti.
The Oakland, California-based singer-songwriter’s music is rooted in hip-hop and reggae, but he’s also keen on folk, rock, pop, jazz, funk, worldbeat and bossa nova.
Franti and his band, Spearhead, perform Wednesday, Aug. 18, at Roanoke Island Festival Park’s outdoor venue in Manteo.
And while his sound is a unique hybrid, the 54-year-old singer-songwriter’s message is singular: He fully believes love makes the world go ‘round, and uplifting jams can raise the roof and consciousness at the same time.
Consider the words of Franti’s 2003 song “Everyone Deserves Music.” He sings, “We got shame/we got pain/we got blame/we all a little bit insane/so that’s why I sing this song/you know because everyone deserves music/sweet music.”
Franti and Spearhead have released a string of impossibly catchy tunes with positive lyrics since forming in 1994. Among them are “Once a Day,” “Say Hey (I Love You),” “I’m Alive,” “I’ll Be Waiting,” “The Sound of Sunshine” and “Life is Better with You.” His concerts are often described as “lovefests.”
He’s joined by Of Good Nature, a Charlotte, N.C.-based quartet that merges pop, rock and reggae.
Time: 6:30 p.m., with gates opening at 5 p.m.
Cost: $30 in advance, $35 at the door
Where: Roanoke Island Festival Park, 1 Festival Park, Manteo
Info: Vusic Fest on Facebook
It’s lawn seating, so bring a blanket or low-back chair. Outside food and beverages are not allowed. You may also want to bring bug spray.
Sunday, Aug. 15
‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’
When the movie was released in 1971, it was a blip on the radar screen, grossing about $3 million. The plot centers on five children from around the world who win a contest to visit Wonka’s chocolate factory.
Radio listeners were aware of the musical, however, because the infectious tune “The Candy Man” from the soundtrack was turned into a No. 1 record by singer Sammy Davis Jr. (he wasn’t in the movie).
The critics generally loved it. The esteemed, Chicago-based movie reviewer Roger Ebert said of Wonka: “It is everything that family films usually claim to be, but aren’t: delightful, funny, scary, exciting and, most of all, a genuine work of imagination.”
Over the years, the musical found fans who appreciated its sweet (pun intended) nature and sense of wonder and adventure. In 2014, “Wonka” was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the film’s release, it will screen Sunday, Aug. 15, in hundreds of theaters in the U.S., including RC Theatre Movies 10 in Kill Devil Hills.
The late Gene Wilder is perfection as the title character. When he sings the magical tune “Pure Imagination,” don’t be surprised if smiles light up the room.
Time: 3 p.m.
Where: RC Theatres Movies 10, 1803 N. Croatan Highway, Kill Devil Hills