Austin Concert to Benefit Las Manitas

Concert of Voices raises money for Las Manitas
2/23/2007 2:59 PM
By: News 8 Austin Staff

It was two years ago January that folks gathered at the Austin Music Hall for a benefit concert for Tsunami Relief with Willie Nelson, Patty Griffin, Spoon and more.

The man behind that, Michael Hall, is back with a Concert of Voices this one benefiting the folks at Las Manitas and another all-star affair. Grupo Fantasmo, Alejandro Escobedo, Patty Griffin, James McMurtry, Ruben Ramos and more.

News 8 Austin’s Andy Langer spoke with Michael Hall about the Concert for Voices at 6:30 p.m. Friday at La Zona Rosa. READ THE REST OF THE STORY AT

Q: So why Las Manitas? I mean, obviously, this is a source of great debate around town, but you’ve got musicians behind it now.

A: Well actually, it’s not just Las Manitas, it’s also Escuelita Del Alma, which is the little daycare center next door to Las Manitas and the two of them are going to be displaced by this Marriott Hotel and my son goes to and I eat at Las Manitas probably once a week, because I work downtown and so, to me, the two businesses have gone together hand in hand for years now and, of course, they are being uprooted hand in hand.

Q: And any time there is any kind of drama in town, whether it is somebody dying or somebody being displaced, music is often the answer to raise money and to raise awareness.

A: I think that that is the case with this. Once I started to put it together, musicians were just calling up wanting to be a part of it. Not just because it is any benefit, this is a benefit for two beloved institutions. I mean, I think Las Manitas is one of peoples’ favorite restaurants and I think Escuelita Del Alma has a lot of favorites. I mean, it is the only daycare center downtown. I mean, it is an integral part of the downtown life as we know it now and, of course, that is about to change.

Q: And this concert is pretty much an all night affair, people coming on and off, surprise guests, like you said, you didn’t have a hard time getting people.

A: No, this is going to be great. We’re actually going to start off with Las Manitas dinner if you want to come early. It’s like an extra $5 for a fajita plate dinner and then we’re going to start at 8 p.m., with Jimmy Dale Gilmore and then we’re go to Ruben Ramos, who was a busboy at the previous location of Las Manitas when it was the Avenue Café and James McMurtrsy and his band, Patty Griffin and her percussion player, Alejandra Escobedo with his full band and we’re going to top it off with Grupo Vantasma, Prince’s new favorite band. I know O’Bama’s in town that day, so who knows, maybe O’Bama will be one of our special guests.

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