Local musicians aid in Camp Fire relief effort


Sarah Nutting and Karisha Longaker of MaMuse displayed their artistic talents and songs with instruments like a cello and flute Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

Celebration has been bittersweet since flames took to the town of Paradise in November. But excitement still filled the air as dutiful fans waited eagerly for musicians Jonathan Richman and MaMuse during a Camp Fire benefit concert hosted by KZFR Radio at the Chico Women’s Center, Friday.

Jonathan Richman, a singer-songwriter often referred to as the “Godfather of Punk”, kicked off the show with acoustic versions of his original songs. Being at the forefront of punk rock in the ’70s, he quite possibly wrote the first punk rock music to ever exist. His style has been acoustic and electric throughout his career, but currently, he only plays acoustic to protect his hearing.

Jonathan Richman emotionally sings a set of new, original songs at the KZFR event. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

Richman’s performance was momentarily interrupted as an audience member asked him to use a microphone during his set, as he had been avoiding amplification during the whole performance.

“This is the way I do music,” Richman said in reply. “So my apologies, but this is what I do.”

The Chico Women's Club was packed Friday night for the Camp Fire Relief benefit concert hosted by KZFR. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

Fans expressed how his lack of amplification and electric instruments during performances is common, especially as of recently.

“He refused to be amplified during a show at the Warners Theater, which is the size of Laxson Auditorium,” Rob Davidson, long-time fan and Chico State lecturer, said.

The musical artist, Jonathan Richman, often sings without amplification. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

“People were shouting the whole time and he just was like, I don’t do amplification. That was probably a bad choice or whatever, but he does his own thing. He’s always been that type of person.”

Regardless of the unorthodox style of performing, the crowd still laughed and danced along during Richman’s set.

“This was his most fantastic set I’ve ever seen,” Davidson said.

MaMuse sings some of their popular songs and audience members joined in to sing along. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

The next and final act of the night featured the female duo MaMuse. As Chico locals themselves, the pair also had a strong fan-base present at the benefit concert. Together, they created haunting harmonies, upbeat anthems and everything in between while playing various instruments such as flutes, guitar, upright bass and ukulele.

While onstage, the group discussed their love for nature and life, and how those influences have allowed them to curate what are now years of musical collaboration and four albums.

According to KZFR Radio during the event, the majority of the proceeds are being donated to North Valley Community Foundation to help those affected by the Campfire. The radio station is hosting more events to benefit fire victims in the upcoming weeks, including an upcoming “Butte Strong Session” on Feb. 1 where many artists will be present to aid in fundraising for the cause.

Rayanne Painter can be reached at [email protected] or @rayphenomenon on Twitter.