Aireene Espiritu (2021 program)

Faith Petric Stage / 3:30 pm - 4:00 pm

At the scheduled time on festival day, watch the performance by clicking on this link:

“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…”  — Los Angeles Times, Jonny Whiteside

“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.” — No Depression, Terry Roland

Aireene Espiritu is a singer-songwriter with over 25 years experience performing as a solo artist as well as with her band, Aireene & the Itch, covering various genres from folk, blues, gospel, rhythm and blues to world 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 cultures from 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.

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 released a tribute album for rhythm & blues artist Sugar Pie DeSanto that also included 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.