Clarion Music Center is one of the first venues in presenting world music in San Francisco. The series was started by Michael Santoro (now executive director of the San Francisco World Music Festival) and Clara Hsu. The venue provided a space for world class musicians to play in front of an attentive audience.
Music of many cultures were presented. Some of the musicians include Stephen Kent (Australian didjeridu), Paul Pena (Tuvan blues), Alan Kushan (Persian santur), Riley Lee (Japanese Shakuhachi), Jie Bing Chen (Chinese erhu), Alessandra Belloni (Southern Italian tambourine), Habib Khan (Indian sitar), the Nigerian Brothers (Nigerian village music), Peter Whitehead (composer and experimental instruments), Forward Kwenda (Zimbabwean M'bira), Glen Velez (frame drums) and Necati Celik (Turkish oud)... the list goes on.
This tiny basement venue went through three floods and a fire during this seven years, but the music series would continue despite all the adversities. Clarion helped launch the first San Francisco World Music Festival. It also presented many benefit events for world musicians and poets in the Bay Area and beyond.
But as all good things must come to pass, Clarion's world music series came to a close on October 21, 2005.
However, during this seven years, many more venues like the Clarion are appearing on the scene, providing opportunities for performers. It is also time for Clara to follow her own artistic path.
For those who have been to our concerts, remember the grey folding chairs, the tiny stage, the stuffy air, the sweat on the performers' foreheads, the beautiful tone of the piano, the incredible vocals, the strangest instruments, the fabulous costumes, and the sense of community and friendship we experience in an evening.