Menlo Park musicians

Musician Freddy Clarke got our attention at a summer concert in Fremont Park when he greeted the audience by proclaiming: “Hi, I’m Freddy Clarke from Menlo Park.”

Indeed, the lifelong singer, songwriter, guitarist and band leader has been a resident of Menlo for the past four decades. A converted garage serves as his studio; his home is populated by the 50 guitars his father made by hand. (Freddy is photographed with the very first one built.)

“My mom forced me to take piano lessons when I was 8, but I got interested in guitar when I was 11,” he said. “The Beatles inspired me; Jimi Hendrix influenced me.”

Twenty years ago he formed the Wobbly World band, described as an “ethno-layering of melodic, rhythmic and poetic ideas from several very different musical traditions that fit powerfully into a brilliant new sound and a joy-filled celebration of international musical synergy.”

“When I founded the band, it just felt like the right thing to do,” he said. “Of course, it’s perfect for now.

“It costs me money to keep it going, but it’s worth it for my soul.”

Freddy and Wobbly World play mainly Bay Area gigs, although they did go to Greece last year to perform at Syrian refugee camps. Their next local performance is at the Three Seasons (518 Bryant, Palo Alto) on September 2 from 7:00 to 10:30 pm. (Note: the group plays at Three Seasons frequently.)

Freddy is exploring a collaboration with Los Angeles-based Li Lu, an investor who sings. “We are doing some recordings together. He’s an interesting guy.”

He also told us he’d just finished reading “the most amazing book I’ve ever read, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow,” which could portend the wobbly world of the future. The book, by Israeli author Yuval Noah Harari, Freddy explained “shows how super humans are going to be leading the pack and living to 150. Everything will be implanted in our brains.”

Photo by Scott R. Kline (c) 2017

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