Yasmin Williams with Forest Sun
American composer and solo performing finger-style guitarist Yasmin Williams
Yasmin Williams with Forest Sun at Sweetwater Music Hall
* Friday, June 30, 9:00 pm show
Yasmin Williams sits on her leather couch, her guitar stretched across her lap horizontally with its strings turned to the sky.
She taps on the fretboard with her left hand as her right hand plucks a kalimba placed on the guitar’s body. Her feet, clad in tap shoes, keep rhythm on amic’d wooden board placed under her. Even with all limbs in play, it’s mind boggling that themelodic and percussive sounds that emerge are made by just one musician, playing in real time.
With her ambidextrous and pedidextrous, multi-instrumental techniques of her own making and influences ranging from video games to West African griots subverting the predominantly white male canon of finger style guitar, Yasmin Williams is truly a guitarist for the new century.
So too is her stunning sophomore release, Urban Driftwood, an album for and of these times. Though the record is instrumental, its songs follow a narrative arc of 2020, illustrating both a personal journey and a national reckoning, through Williams’ evocative, lyrical compositions.
A native of northern Virginia, Williams, now 24, began playing electric guitar in 8th grade, after she beat the video game Guitar Hero 2 on expert level. Initially inspired by Jimi Hendrix and other shredders she was familiar with through the game, she quickly moved on to acoustic guitar, finding that it allowed her to combine finger style techniques with the lap-tapping she had developed through Guitar Hero, as well as perform as a solo artist.
By 10th grade, she had released an EP of songs of her own composition. Deriving no lineage from “American primitive” and rejecting the problematic connotations of the term, Williams’ influences include the smooth jazz and R&B she listened to growing up, Hendrix and Nirvana, go-go and hip-hop.
Her love for the band Earth, Wind and Fire prompted her to incorporate the kalimba into her songwriting, and more recently, she’s drawn inspiration from other Black women guitarists such as Elizabeth Cotten, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Algia Mae Hinton. OnUrban Driftwood, Williams references the music of West African griots through the inclusion of kora (which she recently learned) and by featuring the hand drumming of 150th generation djeli of the Kouyate family, Amadou Kouyate, on the title track.
Since its release in January 2021,Urban Driftwood has been praised by numerous publications such as Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, NPR Music, No Depression, PasteMagazine, and many others.
Tickets $23 * Does not include convenience or handling fees.
Contact: (415) 388-3850
Additional time info:
Doors: 8:00 pm | Show: 9:00 pm
19 Corte Madera Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941
There is ample street and city parking available around the venue. Please be sure to observe all posted signs regarding parking and parking meters, and do not park in prohibited spaces or areas. As a courtesy to our neighbors, please park in metered spots and city lots rather than residential areas. We offer validation for the Sunnyside lot–ask for it at the Cafe register.
The café, concert hall, and restrooms are all wheelchair accessible. If you would like to request a wheelchair seating location or have other ADA needs, please e-mail boxoffice at swmh.com as soonView more
The café, concert hall, and restrooms are all wheelchair accessible. If you would like to request a wheelchair seating location or have other ADA needs, please e-mail boxoffice at swmh.com as soon as you purchase your ticket. We will do everything possible to accommodate your request.View less
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