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DIMI Brings Live Music Back to Sophia’s 

The Davis Independent Music Initiative (DIMI) has Brought Live Music Back to Sophia’s Thai Kitchen. 

Lightly edited from a press release from the Davis Independent Music Initiative.

DIMI was founded in 2019 as a means of bettering music in Davis, CA. Joel Daniel, a long time local musician, saw music programs continue to be cut back and musicians fleeing Davis due to the high cost of living.

He proposed a program to the City aimed at keeping musicians around via grants where they could be financially supported in making new work that everyone could enjoy. To date there have been two grant recipients after Daniel’s initial grant—band Do Rio and Nat Lefkoff, a local solo artist. All of whom are putting out new music soon.

In addition to these larger grants, DIMI has worked to distribute micro-grants to musicians in Davis through both the “Make Music Davis” in collaboration with Davis Media Access and the “Earth Day Sing Out” in collaboration with the Davis Climate Strike Community. 

An unexpected and still lingering consequence of Covid-19 has been a decrease in live music venues. While musicians in Davis are appreciative of the opportunities that DIMI has provided,  what DIMI hears more than anything is something to the effect: “There is nowhere to play!” or “Where can we play?”.

The logical place to bring music back was Sophia’s Thai Kitchen, owned by Kevin Wan, one of the longest and most vocal supporters of music in the Davis business community. DIMI approached Wan, and he graciously agreed to work together to bring a monthly local music night to Sophia’s for the remainder of the summer.

The first of the series of concerts took place in August and was a roaring success. Regarding the event, Wan said it “exceeded expectations,” which were high to begin with.

DIMI will sponsor two more events in this series ensuring the performers are all compensated for their time via a grant from the Yolo Community Foundation; Sophia’s will provide the space. 

“This is exactly how we hoped (these ARP funds) would be used—to help our local creative sector do what they do best, with some additional financial support. Thanks so much for making this happen, and making sure the artists benefit in the process,” said City of Davis Arts & Cultural Affairs Manager Rachel Hartsough.

Sophia’s was once one of the most sought after places in the state of California to play; those members of the community in town during the mid 00s up to the Covid Pandemic were lucky to have the opportunity to see shows there. With this night of music, DIMI is hoping to remind the community how awesome it is to have regularly scheduled live music.

Sophia’s and DIMI welcome and encourage everyone to attend. The shows will be free of charge, and if you are under age, you can listen from the benches of E street.

September 9, 2023
Clare McKeon
Keeping Kind 
Puppy Dude featuring a set by Heron Rana

October 14, 2023
Threadbare Brother
Small Dinosaurs 
The Big Poppies

Finally, expect more information regarding the next iteration of the “large” DIMI artist grant in the coming months.  If you would like to donate to DIMI and/or be involved in its efforts to support the community, please reach out via 

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