This lefty Bay Area rapper had a surprise 2009 hit with the light-hearted, reggae-tinged ''Say Hey (I Love You).'' The follow-up album sets evocations of hard-won happiness to similarly strummy, globally grooved hip-hop.
With a chorus that's bubbly, a hook that's infectious, and a title that's "Hey Hey Hey," the key track on Michael Franti's 2010 effort is wide open for ridicule, but on the cut, the man who once seemed like Gil Scott-Heron for the techno generation makes an excellent argument for happiness.
On August 20th I took a trip out to Saint Jude's Ranch For Children, in Boulder City Nevada, just outside of Las Vegas. Jay Bowman, Jolene Rust, my son Ade' and myself brought our guitars and voices along to play for the kids there.