The 11-year-old Red Poppy Art House at 23rd and Folsom was the perfect venue for a rainy Thursday and an intimate show about love.
“I saw her at South by Southwest, but it was difficult to hear her, because it was sort of in a bar and there were distractions going on,” said Isabel Yrigoya, producer at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, who is always looking for discreet little places that offer some of the best shows in town. “I couldn’t quite hear her, so the Red Poppy is an intimate place and that matches her lyrics and subtle rhythm.”
Irene Diaz’s first solo show on Thursday was sold out, but that didn’t stop the audience or the organizers, as they decided to hold a second show one hour later. You can hear her again tonight in Oakland at Studio Grand.
Carolyn Cardoza, Diaz’s muse who also plays the ukulele, called the Red Poppy “a great audience.”
“Irene needs more of an intimate setting,” she said. “We’ve played in different settings, rock settings, but this is what her music deserves.”
The pair met two years ago at work at a Trader Joe’s in Los Angeles and fell in love. Diaz bought Cardoza a ukulele and since then, they have been making music together.
“It’s a good combination,” Cardoza said. “It’s also a balancing act, with work and music and being in a relationship and spending time with friends and family. But, overall, it’s great because we get to spend so much time together.”
Diaz has a five-track EP already out that got initially funded through a Kickstarter campaign back in December 2012. The EP is now on sale in iTunes as well.
La Bohemia Productions managed to arrange her first solo show in San Francisco. La Bohemia Productions initially heard about Irene Diaz through Fernandito Ferrer, a Puerto Rican musician, who brought them a demo. After that, the production company kept an ear out on Diaz’s progress as she became part of the contemporary Latino music scene in Los Angeles.
Diaz’s first song at the Thursday show was I Love You Madly. She has a strong, low voice with an enchanting rhythm. It’s only later that you realize she is also playing guitar.
Diaz’s songs are all about being in love — luxuriously and madly in love. The lyrics to Wake Up Slowly make you want to leave the real world to wake up slowly to your lover and forget about work. We might all dream about doing that, but Diaz actually is doing exactly that and turning laziness and love into a career.
Her song Crazy Love was featured on brides.com as a 2013 Top Ten first song to dance to.
This is the kind of music that will either make you jealous that you are not in love or that will make you enjoy even more that sense of being in love.
The sweetness is balanced by a somber tone and rhythm. That might also be what balances the complicated and much sought after act of loving someone.
Irene Diaz will be performing today Friday in Oakland at Studio Grand, 3234 Grand Ave., 9 p.m.