Schedule

Sunday, July 28

4:20 pm – 5:30 pm

National stage 4

Session

Sunday, July 28

7:35 pm – 8:40 pm

ATB Main Stage

Concert

Fantastic Negrito

Oakland, CA

The music of Fantastic Negrito is foundational, vast and flowing. While he earned three Best Contemporary Blues Grammy Awards since his second musical coming in 2015, getting there was less of a straight line and more a series of curlicues, concentric circles and wavy patterns of the random universe.

Negrito was born Xavier Amin Dphrepaulezz in Massachusetts, the eighth of 15 children to a strict Somali Muslim father whose rules didn’t stick so good when Dphrepaulezz was 12 and the family moved to Oakland, for soon he was dealing drugs and carrying guns, like most kids in the area. Hearing Prince’s Dirty Mind had him sneaking into classes at Berkeley, and he signed a record deal in his early 20s, then felt trapped as soon as the ink dried. A near-fatal car crash and time in a coma freed him from the contract, and he ran an illegal club in Los Angeles and left music.

Seven years later, he was back on a glorious, unstoppable musical arc leading him to those Grammys, however lame it is to rope the thundering, joyful vastness of his music into the blues corral. Yes, Prince sparked him and the awards are nice, but the music of Fantastic Negrito is a force unto itself, fueled on love and redemption, spinning through funky riffs, blowing kisses to Hendrix, then unplugging and relaxing into melody and history.

— Mary-Lynn Wardle

Upcoming shows

Sunday, July 28

4:20 pm – 5:30 pm

National stage 4

Session

Sunday, July 28

7:35 pm – 8:40 pm

ATB Main Stage

Concert