"I love what I heard, It's perfect for my kinda folk show-- bright, melodic,rootsy and with excellent vocals and hot pickin' too. What else can a lifelong Folk DJ ask for. " - Gene Shay, aka The Grandfather of Philadelphia Folk Music, WXPN Radio, The Folk Show
“Espiritu’s penchant for songs that sound like they came off a 78 rpm record, listeners will be swept away.” - Good Times Weekly, Santa Cruz CA
"Espiritu’s vocal range tells the story, eliciting the invincibility of a young Dolly Parton and blue-collar work ethic of Loretta Lynn." - Adam Joseph, Monterey County Weekly
very short bio
Stompin', swayin', timeless Americana
Aireene Espiritu plays a mix of stompin', swayin' and timeless Americana reminiscent of front porch storytelling, of ghosts and the living, times of laughter and tears.
Los Angeles Times, Jonny Whiteside
“Folk singer-songwriter Aireene Espiritu works in the elemental substance of vernacular American music with an uncanny ease. Whether blues, hillbilly, soul, folk or R&B...demonstrates masterly command of each. Her original compositions mix deft lyrical construction and classic form just as impressively...An authentic, authoritative vocalist and with distinctly sensitive manner of phrasing...”
No Depression, Terry Roland
“A rare breed of artist, a soul singer, a folk troubadour, a blues artist, a busk show princess, a skiffle tear-stained street singer with a heart as big as the history of the music that drives her. And in the final analysis, she is a storyteller without borders or cultural limitations.”
Aireene Espiritu plays a mix of stompin', swayin' and timeless Americana reminiscent of front porch storytelling, of ghosts and the living, times of laughter and tears. She is a singer/songwriter based in Oakland, CA with over 25 years experience covering various genres from folk, blues, gospel, rhythm and blues to world music. Aireene was a soloist with the Glide Ensemble in San Francisco, has toured internationally and across the country, playing intimate venues such as Freight & Salvage to festivals such as Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival and more.
In 2016, Espiritu was added to the roster of artists under Little Village Foundation, a non-profit label founded by venerable blues keyboardist Jim Pugh (Robert Cray, Etta James, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker) and released a part tribute to Rhythm & Blues artist, Sugar Pie DeSanto and part Filipino and American folk songs. The album has received positive recognition and reviews from KQED's The California Report, San Francisco Chronicle, Living Blues and No Depression magazines. 4.5 out of 5 stars review All About Jazz.
A Color-Coded Symphony is her latest project which premiered at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum in 2017. This performance piece is a musical experience connecting the audience’s ethnic origins to rhythms of the world and whose aim is to nurture curiosity and openness towards other cultures through music.
10/6/22 Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
Photo by Bob Hakins
Aireene & Little Village Foundation
Jim Pugh, founder of non-profit label, Little Village Foundation (LVF), first met Aireene Espiritu while she performed solo with just an ukulele at Folk Alliance Region West (Oakland, CA: 2014). Out of 200 acts, Pugh left the conference with a bug in his ear about Aireene. Over the next year he developed an idea way out of left field: Aireene paying tribute to fellow Filipino-American Sugar Pie DeSanto. At 80 and still performing, DeSanto signed to Chess Records in Chicago in their heyday of the ‘60s and built a reputation as a powerhouse performer touring with The Johnny Otis Revue and The James Brown Revue (DeSanto’s biggest hits included “I Want To Know,” “Soulful Dress”).
Back Where I Belong was released under the LVF label in 2016. What began as a tribute to Sugar Pie's old rhythm and blues music organically became much more, a journey to where Aireene came from, including American and Filipino folk songs that have influenced her music today. The album has been receiving positive reviews and recognition from notable press such as KQED's The California Report, All About Jazz, San Francisco Chronicle, Huffington Post, and print issues of Living Blues and No Depression magazines.
2016 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Witch for a Night (Sugar Pie DeSanto)
Little Village Foundation All Stars: Eric Spaulding (sax), Christopher Lund Andersen (guitar),
D'Mar (drums), Vance Ehlers (bass), Lisa Leuschner Andersen (backup vocals), Jim Pugh (keys).
Video courtesy of Chime Interactive
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