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Fantastic Negrito’s modern blues come from an astonishing life story

Fantastic Negrito Mac Claus

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If one gives one's self the moniker Fantastic Negrito, one should be fantastic.

The Oakland, Calif., musician Xavier Dphrepaulezz earns the superlative, both for his novel ideas in black roots music and for his astonishing life story. He's been a hustler, a hood and a failed funk star, and later a horrific car accident resulted in near death and a long hiatus from music.

The comeback man reinvented himself as an adventurer in modern blues, with an openly emotional new album titled The Last Days of Oakland. As for his new name, the artist told NPR it referred to "a celebration of blackness," and that "Negrito" was a way to open blackness up to everyone, "making it playful and international."

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As for the "Fantastic," that is self-explanatory.

Fantastic Negrito plays Velvet Underground, Oct. 12, 8 p.m. $16. 508 Queen St. W., 416-504-6688 or online at Ticketweb.

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About the Author

Brad Wheeler is an arts reporter with The Globe and Mail. More

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