Saturday: Free folk, indie-pop concert in Menlo Park


The public can get a preview of two new acoustic-pop albums at a free concert on Saturday, Sept. 2, starting at 11 a.m. in the Menlo Park City Council chambers at 701 Laurel St. in the Civic Center.

Refreshments will be provided, courtesy of Friends of the Menlo Park Library.

Karla Kane, a Redwood City-based singer/songwriter and ukelele musician, accompanied by her husband and guitarist Khoi Huynh, will offer a preview of her debut solo album, "King's Daughters Home for Incurables."

At Saturday's concert, they'll collaborate with their British friends, musicians Mark and Helen Luker of Fun of the Pier, who are also releasing their debut album. The Lukers, also a married couple, are from Nottingham, England, and are planning to tour the area with their music.

Ms. Kane will perform original folk and indie-pop songs with "catchy melodies, intelligent lyrics and sweet harmonies," according to the Menlo Park city website.

Karla Kane is the arts & entertainment editor at the Palo Alto Weekly. Her album is slated for release on Oct. 6.

The album represents a turn in her musical career, she says. She still performs with the Corner Laughers, a band that has released four albums since 2006. But as the parents of a 3-year-old, Ms. Kane says, she and Mr. Huynh find coordinating band practice harder. Plus, their drummer recently moved to the Sacramento area. Mostly, though, she says she's excited to explore a more acoustic sound.

The album is the result of both a "do it yourself" and international effort, she says. Parts of the album were recorded with just a microphone and a laptop in the dining room on nights after her daughter fell asleep.

Other parts, she says, come from tracks contributed by musician friends in England and Berlin. Her songs draw their inspiration from a wide range of topics – her love for England, literature, folklore, motherhood, and yes, she says, politics.

"You can't be alive right now and not have that show up in your work," she says.

The local scene

Sometimes, people say that there isn't an arts scene on the Peninsula. But Ms. Kane argues that isn't the case. Because of the high cost of living here, she says, many of the artists and musicians she meets have day jobs.

One challenge for local musicians is that there aren't many music venues on the Peninsula. The Palo Alto area, as home to a university, is rare for not having more, she says. The growing trend of libraries opening their doors has helped local performers, she says.

Typically, "Friends of the Library" groups raise funds and pay artists to give shows that are free to the public. That way, musicians are compensated and can expect a good turnout. Also, the venues are family-friendly, which she appreciates. Plus, she adds, "I'd rather spend the day in a library than a bar."

To hear Ms. Kane's music, go to karlakane.com or cornerlaughers.com or look her up on Bandcamp, iTunes or Spotify.

Go to the Facebook page for Fun of the Pier to access their touring schedule or music.

Concert info:

Where: Menlo Park City Council Chambers at 701 Laurel St. in the Menlo Park Civic Center

When: 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 2


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