A Night at the Great American Music Hall!!


We are absolutely thrilled for our upcoming show at the GREAT AMERICAN MUSIC HALL!!! It so happens to be the most beautiful and classic, while prestigious music venues in San Francisco, not to mention a dream come true! We are gathering with Whiskerman and Papa Bear and the Easy Love to celebrate not only Papa Bear’s birthday, but his new album release! Like all our shows with our dear friend Papa Bear, there is going to be a lot of love. The show is also opening with a very special jam Eastern-style to ease your ears for the mood as Whiskerman’s sitar player, Charles Lloyd, plays his sitar.

Sufis go way back with Papa Bear and his easy Love. Formerly known as Aaron Glass and Friends, Aaron asked us to open for him at the Elbo Room. This was our first show, and the waves have been flowing since. Our music-making surpasses the stage and is most glorious in the sunshine, friendly jams at Delores Park, on San Francisco’s Victorian rooftops, in studios down the coast of California, etc…Though we have just become acquainted with Whiskerman, we’ve already been mixing melodies and humming harmonies to heighten the spirits for the show!

Come one, come All!!!!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/59690926″>Papa Bear and the Easy Love, Whiskerman, and Sufis – Feb. 21st @ Great American Music Hall!</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user16472934″>Chris Tolan</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>


Sufis featured in THE BAY BRIDGED!


Sufis releases second video from October performance for BAMM.tv, playing five Bay Area shows

January 8, 2013
Written by Jason Shane

Photo: Pamela Garcia-Aguirre

SF quartet Sufis self-describes as “gypsy blues” and “garage jazz,” and either characterization is incredibly apt. Comprised of Jon Shaheri (aka Jonny Cat) on guitar, Lauren Bjelde on vocals, Tyden Binsted on bass, and Felix Macnee on drums, the band delves into sounds not often found around these parts, laying down throwback, jazz-infused, swinging tracks that call to mind the roaring ’20s and big band music, while maintaining a hint of garage rock edge. Crediting influences ranging from ancient Persian poets Rumi and Hafez, to jazz legends Louis Armstrong, Django Reinhardt, Billie Holiday, and Cab Calloway, and even the great Tom Waits, Sufis brought a bit of them all to the stage for an October performance at BAMM.tv‘s studios, and the band recently released a video of their live take on the song “Don’t Lead Me On” from that show.

I first caught wind of Sufis back in November when half of the band (Shaheri and Bjelde) opened for another of Shaheri’s projects, Coo Coo Birds, and Oakland’s Brand New Trash at Bottom of the Hill. Stripped down to the basics of Cat’s mixture of jazz, blues, and rock guitar and Bjelde’s distinctly smoky and sultry voice, the last minute addition to the bill (after The Blank Tapes canceled) stopped the disappointingly sparse crowd in their tracks.

From watching the BAMM.tv performances, it’s clear that Sufis’ sound takes on a decidely grander and more energetic tone when bassist Binsted and drummer Macnee join the fray. Below, check out the new video for “Don’t Lead Me On”, as well as the previously released video performance of “Ancient Lover”, and then stream and purchase their self-titled EP on Bandcamp.

Sufis has five Bay Area gigs coming up during January and February, with multiple shows at Local Edition, as well as one-off performances at the Boom Boom Room, Elbo Room, and Cafe Du Nord. Get full details on all five shows below.

Local Edition
January 19, 2013
9pm, Free

Boom Boom Room
January 22, 2013
9:30pm, $7

Local Edition
February 2, 2013
8pm, Free

Hungry Skinny, The Greening, Posole, Sufis
Elbo Room
February 6, 2013
9pm, $6

Midtown Social, Sufis
Cafe Du Nord
February 22, 2013
9:30pm, $10

Sufi Sings on the Lycian Way

Καρμυλησσός, Karmylissos

Καρμυλησσός, Karmylissos

The acoustics in this abandoned Greek Orthodox church were almost as breathtaking as the view from it, built high on the mountain over a ruined stone village. Nearly 2,000 Anatolian Greek-speaking Christians were living in this village until the final days of the Ottoman Empire came with new nations desiring themselves to be ethnically-homogeneous. Thus, a population exchange was agreed on between Turkey and Greece  in 1923. Abandoned, the village stood on the mountain range until a devastating earthquake shook the ghost town to rubble in 1959.

The village is eerie, a memory lurking just off the turquoise coast that brought its inhabitants to it in the first place. The village longed to be lived in. I couldn’t help but try the acoustics with my little instrument. That deserted place of worship was so thirsty for a little Love, the sound of one tiny guitar could fill the space with such glory that the frescoes almost re-emerged from the dusty plaster. After the impromptu performance, I lingered, imagining the village alive and buzzing, as my leftover waves tickled the old walls. Soon enough, the sun gloriously sat its royal self into the throne left behind by the Greek villagers.


Souls of San Francisco

© Garry Bowden

© Garry Bowden

Check out the photography of Gary Bowden, a local bay-area artist and friend of ours. He uses his lens to capture the brilliant diversity of human expression  in San Francisco, ultimately creating something I can only conclude to title a “chance-oriented visual ethnography.” His method of street-photography, serendipitously having rendezvous about each neighborhood as he’s walking around doing goodness-knows what between shutter closures, makes for an even and accurate survey of the spirited local population. This project “Souls of San Francisco” is not only a work of art but one of visual anthropology, and a rather pleasing presentation of one at that. Please don’t hesitate to support him by sharing his work or contributing a donation to his kickstarter project below:


In one of our Sufis originals, “Barcelona,” we mention this vibrant community of souls in San Francisco.

“I dreampt I went to San Francisco. My! The variety of people! I fell in love with a Chinaman’s daughter whose mother was an African Jew…”

© Garry Bowden

© Garry Bowden

I believe I was in Turkey when Gary gave this print of yours truly away after advertising the give-away with this photo and a post on Facebook. I am flattered to have been caught up in the project, and will pay dues in return with a few details. After being acquainted through the Convent’s artist community, we bumped into each other in the Upper Haight. I had been busking for hours with Sufis at the Jugtown House. That day, our hard work earned us a guitar-case filled with a handful of dollar bills, long, turquoise and silver earrings, and a grateful dead pin. After Gary photographed me on the street, an Armenian family-run coffee shop convinced me to travel the South-East of Anatolia when I moved abroad. Considering my own moment-of-mayhem, I think its really exciting to imagine the life and its details that lie within each soul that slips beneath this photographer’s lens.

I can’t wait to see this collection bound in print. Good luck, Gary!

-Little Sufi

Check out Sufis live at BAMM.tv!

“Ancient Lover”

BAMM.tv’s recollection of the evening, 10.11.12:

“Musicians, artists, fans, techies, and press filled the BAMM.tv studio this October to experience Sufis, an intoxicating local band. Their sound, described by a BAMM.tv member as 1930’s swing meets Chuck Berry, drove a tantalizing performance. It was like something out of a mad, delectable, roaring, gypsy carnival.

With the kegs in place and cameras rolling, Sufis took the stage under a wild cornucopia of string, plumen bulbs, and multicolored ribbons that dipped across the studio ceiling. Lauren, the band’s lead singer, transformed into the queen of the carnival. Her raw, jazzy vocals lit up the crowded room while band mates Jonny, Felix and Ty swept the audience up into their vaulting tide of gypsy rock.

Navigating the studio was like trying to cross a listing wooden ship in a storm; hands and feet thrown every which way as the audience moved in tandem with the infectious sway of the band. Loud whistles, clapping, and stomping roared out of the crowd as Sufis’ set drew to a close.

You can see Sufis live in San Francisco at The Grant and Green show this Friday (11/9, free admittance) and at their November residency with Amnesia on Tuesdays after 9pm ($5-7).

Oh – and if you like the above song, you can download it for free!

Here is a link directly to BAMM.tv’s blog post:

Check out Sufis live at BAMM.tv!.


Just a fortnight ago, Bamm.tv invited the *SUFIS* to collaborate in the festivities, celebrating their new iPhone App release and founder’s birthday. As soon as we began sharing ideas with the crew, a good spirit took hold of everyone and magic seemed to fill the air. Finally my old horn bells and bones came in handy for the installation I knew would one day be. The performance was magical! A good buzz ran through the crowd and our waves just seeped right into the spaces between dancing, flailing limbs. We will be releasing a video from the Live performance, a further product of our collaboration with the incredibly and exceptionally-crafted creative crew at Bamm.tv. Sit tight with us until we can share this brilliant night with the world who couldn’t make it out to whirl and twirl their hearts through the night! Coming soon…

Obama’s Election Night @ Amnesia

The 2012 Presidential Election was exceptionally exciting this year, as the *SUFIS* began their Tuesday night residency at one of San Francisco’s most charming local jazz spots, Amnesia. The results of the presidential election were projected onto the stage, followed by speeches from both the defeated candidate, Mitt Romney, and the victorious Barak Obama. LEMME ADAMS, a local surf-groove band opened the night before we *SUFIS* got to make our waves jive. It was incredibly exciting to be out in the public sphere while San Francisco hummed with excitement and satisfaction with the results of the election. The opinion appeared universal within the bar, that Obama was rightfully re-elected. One thing is for sure, that the next four years will be filled with unexpected twists and turns from all corners of the world. To the future, and  next Tuesday at Amnesia!