Ask the four members of Alma Desnuda—Spanish for naked soul—what their name means and you'll not only learn something about the band members, but yourself.
Chris Bryden grew-up in Danville and attended Los Cerros Middle school and Monte Vista High. He has lived all over the world and studied philosophy and psychology.
"The idea of naked soul is living your authentic self," said Bryden, 28. "In our music, in our lives, in our everyday actions we try to live up to that ideal and the places where we fall short are the edges that we have that we need to grow."
Joe Glaser, 29, a 1999 graduate of San Ramon Valley High met Bryden in 2002 and formed the band in 2008 with Bryden and their friend Paul Suhr.
"Throughout our childhood and as we grow into adults we learn how to adapt to society by wearing masks, being somebody that we're not," said Glaser. "Over time you may lose a sense of who you are really deeply. Alma Desnuda refers to who you are once you remove all the masks."
The concept of Alma Desnuda was created in 2002 when the friends met while studying in Córdoba, Spain in Andalusia. Bryden and Suhl started a street publication called Alma Desnuda, writing and translating their poetry and social commentary into Spanish and passing it out to the public.
After the three friends took time to work, travel and go to graduate school, they started playing music in the Bay Area and in 2008 formed Alma Desnuda. Joe's brother Tony, a 2001 graduate of San Ramon Valley High and longtime musician, soon joined the band too.
They've performed at Yoshi's, the Independent, The Great American Music Hall and other Bay Area venues. Their current tour, the Middleway— living in a way where your passion aligns with your work— began in June and will end in the fall.
A biodiesel bus, on loan from their sponsor, San Francisco Eco-tour company, Incredible Adventures, has taken Alma Desnuda across the country. They've played in Grand Central station, subway cars, a senior center and second grade classes in Harlem among other places.
The foundation helps kids worldwide by supporting arts education, health initiatives and other programs to give them better lives.
Final numbers are still being tallied from the event but half of the proceeds will go to the foundation.
With a strong sense of giving back to the community through their music, the members of Alma Desnuda "may be young but we can see beyond our years," as they sing in Middleway.