The San Francisco singer-songwriter leads Rupa & the April Fishes in a 1 p.m. concert today that kicks off the 2008 Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. The downtown arts festival offers hundreds of free performances, including classical, jazz and world music, theater, traditional and contemporary dance, children’s and family programs. Weekly events continue through October.
How would you describe your music? It’s the sound of a person trying to find her place in a world across different cultures. It’s global agitpop — popular music to agitate people to wake up on a global level.
Your music has an international sound — where have you lived? I was born and raised in Mountain View, but also lived in France and India as a child. I went to medical school in Washington, D.C., and came back to San Francisco six years ago to do my residency.
Being a doctor as well as musician, do you see a connection between the two pursuits? Both come out of a profound curiosity about humanity and our existence.
What kind of doctor are you? I work in internal medicine at University of California San Francisco Medical Center. I take care of people when they’re admitted to the hospital. I'm also a professor of medicine there.
How do you manage to have two careers? There’s a lot of institutional support at UCSF; there’s the belief that being an artist makes people better doctors and vice versa. Many doctors are artists; they have these other passions outside of medicine that they develop deeply. I’m by no means unique.
Outside of the upcoming Yerba Buena Gardens Festival show, what kind of gigs do you play? Everything from the Great American Music Hall and the Independent to the streetcars on the N-Judah. I'm a big advocate of public art.