Arts Listings

‘Prepare for the Future,’ a Pre-Election Concert

By Ken Bullock Special to the Planet
Thursday October 16, 2008 - 10:10:00 AM

Jazz and soul singer Valerie Troutt and Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir will headline “Prepare for a Future,” an intergenerational pre-election concert in downtown Berkeley, featuring more than a dozen other local performing artists, Friday Oct. 17, at Shattuck DownLow, 2284 Shattuck Ave. The concert comes three weeks before the election and three days before the deadline for voter registration in California, Mon., Oct. 20.  

The Berkeley League of Women Voters will collect voter registration cards at the event and present bipartisan ballot information for local voters. Doors open at 8 p.m., concert at 9:30 p.m. Tickets on a sliding scale of $12–$20 are available at 

Other acts at “Prepare for a Future” include singer-songwriters Dana Salzman and Jo Boyer, the Oakland Passion, Fear of the Fat Planet Crew, dancer Rashad Pridgen, Hip Hop Theater spoken word artist Nicole Klaymoon and performing artist Thandiwe (most recently seen in Oakland Public Theater’s Richard Wright Project play, Before the Dream). The evening will close with dance music from DJ Afrikan Sciences. 

“Prepare for a Future” is named after Valerie Troutt’s debut album, which will be released this coming spring. EPs (extended plays) will be given out at the concert. Troutt, a Berkeley High and New School of New York alumna and member of Cultural Heritage Choir, sang alto in the Oakland Youth Chorus after starting to sing publicly with Love Center Ministries. Backed by noted Oakland jazz saxophonist Howard Wiley with Maya Kronfeld on piano, drummer Darian Grey, bassist Lorenzo Farrell and vocalist Kimiko Joy, Troutt has been praised by John Murph on National Public Radio: “her voice is a thing of rare beauty—stunning in its deceptive simplicity and expressive without resorting to melismatic melodrama.” 

About the songs collected on her forthcoming album and their tie-in to the spirit of this election, Troutt said she hoped her original music would “be the change you want to see” in the community. “Most of our learning takes place at home ... we have to work at rebuilding the trust in our families and within intergenerational communities ... if you think about it, we are the living dreams and visions of our ancestors. Look how far we’ve come.”