Sundays, 11:30 am
Jerry Ferraz, guitar

Sunday mornings while you’re browsing, you’ll hear Jerry Ferraz playing his guitar, singing the occasional song. Not a concert setting, but you’re welcome to find a seat — whether to listen more closely or to peruse a book. 

Jerry has been sighted around San Francisco since he was a kid growing up in Eureka Valley in the 1950s. Early on, he began toting a half-pint guitar, serenading children and bus riders, workers at construction sites, passersby. Throughout the ’70s and ’80s, he was known in poetry circles all over the city, and since the early days of the bookshop,  he’s run our twice-monthly poetry series.

Of Burmese descent, Jerry’s spirit and sensibilities derive in equal parts from poetic and philosophical traditions of the far east, from the lyric traditions of the 12th century troubadours of Provence and the Languedoc in the south of France, from the terrain and culture of his native San Francisco and from people he’s known.

The musical tradition in Jerry’s family goes back at least to 1940s Rangoon, where his father, Paul Ferraz, played bass with Reuben Solomon & the Jive Boys. In San Francisco in the 1960s, Jerry’s older brother, also named Paul, was a blues harmonica player, guitarist and vocalist associated Big Brother & the Holding Company and other key bands, credited with helping shape the latin rock sound that put Santana, Malo and other bands on the map.

Jerry’s own approach to the guitar is idiosyncratic and self-taught, though certain mentors along the way have had significant influence on his flamenco-inflected technique. Jerry’s musical mentors were not the only ones who have had a profound influence on his understanding of the state of things. And just wait ’til you hear his Trump poem on Sept. 16!

Ultimately, Jerry is one of a kind, and a cultural treasure who we’re proud to know. Stop in Sunday morning. We can introduce you.

Below is a video of Jerry playing his tune, “Kingfisher’s Daughter” at the North Beach Cafe Prague back in May 1999 — the same month and year we opened the store here in Glen Park. Very soon after we opened, the poet and scholar Justin Desmangles told us about Jerry, leading to the store’s first poetry reading, on a date we can’t quite recall, with Jerry, Justin and fellow poet Dan Richman.