City’s dynamic ‘First Family of Song’ brings tunes to COVID-19 testing site

The Curtis Family Cnotes sound a clarion call for a community governed by love and supported by justice at the Bay View fundraiser on Nov. 21 in Mendell Plaza, Celebrating the Bayview Hunters Point Community. – Photo: Johnnie Burrell

This Tuesday, San Francisco’s Curtis Family Cnotes teams up with Mother Brown’s Dining Room to deliver free music and food Tuesday, Dec. 22, 1:30 p.m., to city testing site at 49 Kiska Road, San Francisco

San Francisco – This Tuesday in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunter Point, the acclaimed Curtis Family Cnotes will team up with Mother Brown’s Dining Room in a unique partnership providing free food and song to support the city’s COVID-19 testing and prevention efforts.

Starting at 1:30 pm at 49 Kiska Road in Bayview Hunters Point, this unique team of community volunteers and musicians will provide free food and music to residents in need, to bolster turnout for COVID-19 testing.

As the pandemic surges and deepens economic hardship and social isolation, this joint event of food and song will provide Bayview Hunters Point residents with nourishment, entertainment and connection.

“We are singing to brighten and lighten their load,” says Maestro Curtis, “Papa C” in the all-family band that has been dubbed The City’s “First Family of Song” by Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis. “This is music for the people, food for the people.”

The Curtis Family Cnotes is a unique all-family R&B group featuring “Papa C-note” Maestro Curtis, “Mama C-note” Nola Curtis, and their children Zahara, Nile, Kiki, Isis and Phoenix. The band, which was just honored with a “Best of the Bay Editors’ Pick,” has been delivering free food and song daily during the pandemic to residents in need throughout San Francisco, partnering with both Mother Brown’s and the IT Bookman Community Center.

Mother Brown’s Dining Room has been delivering 400 boxes of food each week to Bayview residents in need, including hot meals to seniors stuck in their homes during the pandemic, says CEO Gwendolyn Westbrook. “The needs here are very high in this community, we have youth homeless, adult homeless, people living in the streets,” she notes.

For years, Mother Brown’s has been providing shelter and home-cooked meals for homeless people in the community. Even before Covid-19 set in, hunger was growing worse. As Westbrook explained in 2018, “With the tents, the food, the drug addiction … it takes a whole village to change the situation we’re in now.”

The Cnotes performed at Mother Brown’s in 2019 and contribute their music regularly at San Francisco community efforts to feed homeless people and low-income residents.

Curtis family snapshot

· Maestro Curtis, Papa C, plays every instrument except trumpet & vocals. Spanning five decades and many genres, Maestro’s career has included performing with Maurice White, Al Green, Dizzy Gillespie, Sara Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald.

· Nola Curtis, Mama C, performs keys, guitar, and vocals. A former professional ice skater and coach, Nola has performed in famed venues such as the Fillmore Jazz Festival and the Great American Music Hall; she has appeared as a session vocalist on more than 15 CD recordings.

· Zahara, age 15, plays guitar, violin and vocals and loves physics, fashion, and volleyball.

· Nile, age 16, performs bass and vocals and loves music history and martial arts.

· Isis, age 14, performs drums, keys and vocals and loves to dance and perform.

· Kiki, age 12, plays electric guitar and vocals and loves marine biology and decorating.

· Phoenix, age 9, plays piano, violin, guitar and vocals and loves painting and interior design.

The Cnotes are available for interviews upon request. For more information and to hear selected recordings, visit https://www.thecurtisfamilycnotes.com. Contact them on

“This movement needs music to bring us together, so we are contributing our song to help build peace and justice for all people,” said Maestro Curtis, aka “Papa Cnote.”

Among their many accomplishments, the Curtis Family Cnotes performed live at the Golden State Warriors half-time show in March 2020. The band’s five children sang at the July 2018 inauguration for San Francisco’s first African American woman mayor, London Breed – wowing the crowd by launching into the Black National Anthem before segueing into the Star-Spangled Banner, prompting praise from former Mayor Willie Brown in his San Francisco Chronicle column.

In January 2019, the Cnotes performed at California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis’ inauguration ceremony, inspiring a standing ovation from an audience including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Gov. Gavin Newsom and other dignitaries. Kounalakis praised the Cnotes as “San Francisco’s First Family of Song.”

The “Power to the People” anthem is an upbeat and passionate R&B song with a ‘70s vibe and richly textured multilayered vocals. The song opens, “Black lives matter because we were all meant to be free – free as you want to be.” Other lines in the four-minute single include: “Let love guide the way, we can see a better day … hold your head up high, stand up tall and speak your mind…black and brown and yellow, Red and white and the blue.”

Sung with fierce love and passion, “Power to the People” offers the Black Lives Matter movement a message of hope and unity. “I always want our music and message to be universal,” says Nola Curtis, aka “Mama Cnote.”

The Curtis Family Cnotes are preparing to launch their first full album, making a unique and powerful contribution to contemporary music by centering the family. As Papa Cnote puts it, “Strong families make strong communities, making stronger nations, which creates a BETTER WORLD.”

For more information about the Cnotes, contact Christopher Cook, Curtis Family Promotions, at  curtisfamilypromotions@gmail.com. For more information on Mother Brown’s, contact Gwendolyn Westbrook, CEO, Mother Brown’s Dining Room, at gwestbrook02@yahoo.com.