Bikes & Beats: A Call to Localize

Glen Park musicians Morgan Nilsen and Justin Ancheta. Photo by Ashley Hathaway.

By Ashley Hathaway

UPDATE: Glen Park band Cradle Duende will play at The Red Poppy Arthouse at 2698 Folsom this Saturday at 8:00.

Musicians Morgan Nilsen and Justin Ancheta live in Glen Park and created a sustainable movement they coined “A Call To Localize.” The motivation for its creation grew from a desire they both have to bring community together while creating sustainable ways to maintain culture, opportunity, health, transportation, and many of the other elements that fuel a thriving neighborhood. As music brought them together, community keeps them together. Both Nilsen and Ancheta live with an organized collective of artists in one house, sharing common chores and meal preparation.


They met at the Zambaleta World Music School in San Francisco’s Mission district and soon after started collaborating on music – and eventually formed their musical duo group “Cradle Duende”. Nilsen plays clarinet, Ancheta guitar and vocals. They soon realized however, they were touring nationally but not locally. They wanted to bring their music and local inspiration back home. “Touring other places means not connecting locally”, says Nilsen.


One of their favorite places to present A Call To Localize and perform their music is the Glen Park Station bar. Nilsen and Ancheta call their style of music ‘Klezmenco” which is a combination of Kezmer and Flamenco and includes influences of Latin, Reggae, and Ska, with Afro-Cuban beats to back it. They also play with the internationally known artist MC RAI (also living in Glen Park) who’s from Tunisia and sings in Arabic. Ancheta describes Cradle Duende as “their own project of music – a cultural sharing of different styles from around the world”. He explains that A Call To Localize is “a way of bringing in other local artists to implement that music – trying to create a message behind the music with the idea that it’s a gathering of ideas on sustainability and true culture.”


They have presented A Call To Localize at the Glen Park Station a handful of times this year, the most recent one on September 10th. The next Glen Park Station show is scheduled for October 16th at 8pm.


Cradle Duende performs around the US in addition to local bay area venues such as Yoshi’s, Crate & Salvage, Oakland’s new Sustainable Living Center and the Red Poppy Art House. They also hope to preform at a future Glen Park Festival.


A Call To Localize not only gives the neighborhood a chance to enjoy the music of Cradle Duende, it also provides an opportunity to present ideas to the community through various special guests and speakers.


One idea that’s brewing: Food runs by bike – delivering produce from the Sunday farmers’ market with their large cargo bicycles to Glen Park residents. The idea is to provide access to the fresh local produce for those who may be home-bound, or who may live too far up a hill to make the walk to and from – and even to help reduce the number of cars making the short trip. Between the two of them they have four bikes and can solicit other housemates and neighbors to help with runs if needed.


They’re confident each of them could service about 10 houses on one run of food. Nilsen and Ancheta have started a sign-up sheet at the Glen Park Station for this service. They hope to begin the service soon.


The cargo bikes are their primary mode of transportation, and also a way for them to participate in many other community-driven activities and events such as San Francisco Sunday Streets, bike music tours, and generating “pedal power” for live music. They pedal powered a live band for the recent SF marathon.


These are no ordinary bikes. They are the creation of Paul Freedman and his company Rock The Bike. The models they each ride have a rear hub battery-powered motor that is engaged mostly for up-hill hauling. The bikes also provide an easy, efficient way for to them to deliver flyers informing neighbors of up coming A Call To Localize shows.


Gabe Dominguez and Freedman collaborated to start a series of “Bicycle Music Festivals”, now worldwide, which are the largest 100% bicycle-powered music festivals in the world.  Dominguez lives in the Glen Park collective with Nilsen and Ancheta.


They are definitely not motivated by money. “Wealth is not how much money we have but how well we know the people around us and how much the people around us know us and work together” says Ancheta.


For upcoming performance schedules, or information on Cradle Duende, visit










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