Current Personae
Gig Seeker Pro

Current Personae

Stockton, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Stockton, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band R&B Soul



The best kept secret in music


"Musician returns to former Plea for Peace Center location with album in hand"

Joshua Washington is returning to a natural environment as he introduces a recording of his organic — slightly more topical — musical fusion.

“When I’m sharing music with people, it depends on the setting,” said Washington, a Stockton musician and teacher. “Everything I write means something in life I’ve learned.
"Maybe I’m sharing a Biblical principle. It’s something people can relate to. Something they need to hear.”

So, for his newest project — Current Personae's recorded debut — he is revisiting a familiar venue. A copy of the group’s Stevie Wonder-inspired “#DecemberJaneEP” is included with tickets to Sunday’s show at 630 E. Weber Ave. in Stockton.

“Once we knew they were reopening the (still-unnamed) building, we were happy,” Washington said. “I just say, ‘It’s where the Plea for Peace Center used to be.’ ”

When Washington, 24, was a University of the Pacific student, his college musical consortium — Sugar Water Purple — became the “house band” for slam-poetry events at Plea for Peace.
The nonprofit, no-alcohol, all-ages downtown venue closed in 2013 after five years of staging rock, hip-hop, punk, ska, reggae and metal shows along with slam-poetry and arts- and cultural-oriented events.
Now principal of Stockton’s Zion Academy of Music, which Washington attended prior to Pacific, he retains a communal approach to music as a singer, songwriter/composer and keyboard player.

“My vision is to be a collective,” he said of Current Personae. “I’ve kept expanding and re-grouping. It’s like a community of musicians. It’s really cool.”

Among 16 communal partners involved Sunday:
Alex Urbano, a bassist in Tipping Point who owns Papa Urb’s Grill, a restaurant located three blocks from the venue; go-to keyboardist Randy Sandoli, who teaches at Zion Academy; guitarist Mark Shaver; and three string, three horn and two flute players.
Sugar Water Purple drummer Matthew Gentry and vocalist Nicole Gentry also helped create “#DecemberJaneEP,” its six all-original tunes completed in three months at Stockton's The Press Recording Studio.
“It’s kind of a bigger show,” Washington said, expecting other musicians to join in, too.

Austin Antoine, a “very, very prolific” poet-rapper and member of Los Angeles’ Joomanji, offered to get involved. He'll sing some of Washington's songs.

That’s because he was impressed by “Farkhunda,” which Washington wrote in reaction to the horror experienced by Farkhunda Malikzada, 27, who was lynched by a Kabul, Afghanistan, mob on March 19 after disputing a mullah’s false accusation that she had burned a copy of the Quran. Four of 12 convicted men were sentenced to death.
“What really got to me was, because of the oppression of women, those things usually go unchecked and unnoticed,” said Washington, a Stockton native who has five sisters. “Women held a huge demonstration to give Farkhunda a proper burial. They weren’t supposed to do that.
“Men spoke up. Women spoke up: ‘We have to fight for our rights and our freedoms. No one will speak up until we do.’ That’s so inspiring. Totally awesome.”

Washington also has derived musical motivation from Wonder, whose “Too High” (from 1973’s “Innervisions” LP) prompted the recording's title; India.Arie, for whom Sugar Water Purple opened at the Bob Hope Theatre; England’s Laura Mvula; Jim Croce (1943-73); Tommy Sims; and a vast array of others.

“I hope I’m on a platform that actually can bring something meaningful to the table," Washington said. "I wouldn’t respect myself if I didn’t. We have lots of party songs. I definitely wanna convey a message, too.”
Dumisani Washington, a keyboard player, organist and composer, founded Zion Academy in 2004. Mom Valerie is school administrator. Washington’s sisters attended as pianists, guitarists and songwriters.
“It’s definitely rooted in growing up in a musical household," Washington said. “I was always in the studio, writing and recording.”
Bored by piano-playing, Zion “sparked” him again. He “learned by ear” from his dad, performing “twice a week.” He started writing, arranging and composing.

Forming Sugar Water Purple and making music with Pacific classmates “actually wasn’t as hard,” Washington said. “It was more kind of fun. More challenging than anything in church.”

His community includes eight Pacific graduates and undergrads who tutor Zion’s 110 students in voice, guitar, bass, drums, musical theater and jazz.

“Everybody understands that the most important thing is passing along knowledge to kids," Washington said. “No one’s in the band for money. It’s mainly a love of music and giving it to other people. The whole creative process is awesome.” - Stockton Record


Still working on that hot first release.



Current Personae was started in the fall of 2012 by songwriter/composer Joshua Washington. Originally, the band was formed for the purpose of opening for Anthony Hamilton. Joshua had gotten the call asking if he could open for Hamilton with his former band, Sugar Water Purple (a band who also opened for India Arie in the previous year); unfortunately, SWP had ended shortly after Washington graduated from the University of the Pacific along with most of his bandmates. Nevertheless, Washington agreed to opening, and proceeded to putting together Current Personae.

While forming the band, Washington implemented a vision he had been holding onto for the past two years; a vision of an ever-expanding collective of artists and musicians from California and beyond built on a centrally located core band and with many facets that extend into many genres including Soul, RnB, and Orchestral. Their objective, beside making awesome music and spreading love, is to give back to Washington's hometown of Stockton CA with quality, and sometimes free live music.

Since the Anthony Hamilton show, Current Personae continues to expand. They have had the great privilege of working and performing with some amazing artists, both from the CA area and beyond; artists such as Joanna Borromeo, Aubrey Logan, the Monticelli Trio, and Brubeck Institute students from the University of the Pacific.

They will be releasing their debut album "December Jane EP" on June the 28th. It will be the first of their EP series. Be on the lookout for not only this band, but the Current Personae Chamber.

Band Members