"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
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
very short bio
Stompin', swayin', timeless Americana
Aireene is a singer/songwriter playing mostly original songs accompanied by latin/african rhythms, folk, bluegrass pickings and inspirations from gospel music - a mix of stompin', swayin', and timeless Americana.
Aireene Espiritu is a singer/songwriter playing mostly original songs accompanied by latin/african rhythms, folk, bluegrass pickings and inspirations from gospel music - a mix of stompin', swayin', and timeless Americana.
She was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States at 10 years old, growing up in the third culture: the old country, the new country and a blend of both worlds. Mainly influenced by listening to Alan Lomax's field recordings from the South and growing up listening to her uncles' Filipino folk guitar fingerpicking, her music is reminiscent of front porch storytelling, of ghosts and the living, times of laughter and tears. She tours solo as well as with her band as Aireene & The Itch.
Her fifth album, Back Where I Belong (2016), pays tribute to the great rhythm and blues artist Sugar Pie DeSanto along with favorite American and Filipino folk songs produced produced by Little Village Foundation, a non-profit label founded by venerable blues keyboardist Jim Pugh. 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.