Back to All Events

Aireene Espiritu & Maurice Tani

Aireene Espiritu & Maurice Tani.jpg

Aireene Espiritu is a singer/songwriter with over 20 years of 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.

“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...” Jonny Whiteside, Los Angeles Times

“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.” — Terry Roland, No Depression

She was born in the Philippines and moved to the United States at 10 years old, growing up in the third culture: 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.

Her fifth album, Back Where I Belong (2016), pays tribute to the great rhythm and blues artist Sugar Pie DeSanto, along with favorite American and Filipino folk songs produced by Little Village Foundation, a non-profit label founded by venerable blues keyboardist JimPugh (Robert Cray, Etta James, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker). The album has received positive recognition and reviews from KQED's The California Report, San Francisco Chronicle, Living Blues and No Depression magazines, and a 4.5 out of 5 stars review in All About Jazz.

Maurice Tani is a "supercalifornigraphic" singer-songwriter known for his wry/rye-to-romantic songwriting, agile guitar style and expressive singing. His band, Maurice Tani & 77 El Deora, has been the source of untold, but exquisite, suffering for over 15 years. Tani now has 8 albums to his credit. The latest is This Is It! (Little Village), a live album recorded at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage.

“This music is neither retro nor country; it's twang noir. A fully realized universe, on a dark night, with an AM radio station sending out a strong signal from somewhere down Highway 99. Are you listening?” — Scott Bloom, Bay Area Twang

“This is thoughtful, heart-wrenching stuff about human asteroids that wonder where and how they lost their way and if there is a GPS that works. …darkly funny comments on power, desire, adrenalin, ambivalence, and narco squad surveillance.” — Jeep Rosenberg, Freight Train Boogie

“Tani's songs sound like buried treasures...He has a quality to his singing that is closer to a Raul Malo or a Roy Orbison, almost a classic cabaret voice, that brings a haunting feeling to many of his songs. His vocals on ‘Radio City’ build on a form that Tani describes ‘as cinema for the blind.’ You can imagine driving along a desolate road when this song comes on the radio: a lost-love song where the protagonist is an all-night disc jockey who laments that he has squandered his chance at love and finds himself alone and lonely in a one way conversation with thousands of people who only know his voice." — Robert Sproul, No Depression


Short for “Supercalifornographicexpealidocious,” the term Tani uses to describe his particular flavor of Americana. While rooted in country music, Tani's writing is centered on a West Coast perspective.

“Though much of my material is based on fictional characters and situations, I still write what I know. I'm not particularly comfortable or interested in the rural imagery of tractors, 4x4s or general agriculture common in much country music. What attracts me most about country is the storytelling side of it. My stories are more likely to be centered around an urban experience. I'm a Californian from a large metropolitan area and I write about the things that hold my attention. I think of these songs as a sort of cinema for the blind. Short musical narratives of life on the left coast.”

Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Children under 12 are free. Advance tickets are available at the link below, or you may purchase your tickets at the door the night of the show. Doors open one half hour before show time. We accept cash only at the door (ATMs are nearby). 

The Back Room is an all-ages, BYOB (for those 21+) space, dedicated to (mostly) acoustic music of all kinds. You are welcome to bring your own adult beverage with no additional corkage fee. If you need more information or have any questions, please call us: #510-654-3808. Thank you for your support!

Later Event: September 29
Ed Reed & Sam Rudin