Doors at 7:30 pm; Show at 8:30 pm ~ $35 advance/$40 day of show (VIP $50/$150)
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Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart has made a career of introducing his audiences to some of the world’s great musicians, from Tibet’s Gyuto Monks to Planet Drum (percussionists from India’s Zakir Hussain to Brazil’s Airto Moreira). His current all-star ensemble the Mickey Hart Band brings special guests African Showboyz to kick off the official 11-day Ashkenaz anniversary celebration (March 7-17), “40 Years Dancing for Peace.” The African Showboyz are five brothers from the northern part of Ghana who fuse a unique blend of West African rhythm, dance, and raw energy.

Originally discovered by Grammy-winning virtuoso Babatunde Olatunji, the African Showboyz have performed at Ashkenaz in recent years and shared other stages with Stevie Wonder, Fela Kuti, Fema Kuti, Arrested Development, and many more. In November, in addition to their Ashkenaz appearance, the African Showboyz joined the Mickey Hart Band on their final three shows of 2012. They received such an overwhelming response that Hart decided to bring them out on tour. The African Showboyz open this concert and join the Mickey Hart Band throughout the night, transforming the Mickey Hart Band into a 12-piece ensemble with a total of seven percussionists and seven vocalists.

Mickey Hart is best known for his nearly three decades as an integral part of an extraordinary expedition into the soul and spirit of music, disguised as the rock and roll band the Grateful Dead. As half of the percussion tandem known as the Rhythm Devils, Mickey and Bill Kreutzmann transcended the conventions of rock drumming. Their extended polyrhythmic excursions were highlights of Grateful Dead shows, introducing the band’s audience to an ever-growing arsenal of percussion instruments from around the world. The two-time Grammy Award-winner continues to explore world music roots and incorporate them into his own musical vision, with ever-changing band lineups (as well as various regroupings with fellow former Grateful Dead members).

The Mickey Hart Band consists of Widespread Panic bassist Dave Schools, Grammy-winning percussionist and longtime bandmate Sikiru Adepoju, Tony Award-winning vocalist Crystal Monee Hall, singer and multi-instrumentalist Joe Bagale, drummer Greg Schutte, guitarist Gawain Matthews, and keyboardist Jonah Sharp. gave the band’s recent tour stop in NYC rave reviews, stating that “Mickey Hart is nothing short of a musical genius and it shines through in everything he does. Whether he’s working with George Lucas, NASA, or throwing together a unique group of musicians for a band, it’s apparent that Mickey isn’t satisfied doing the same old thing...”

Doors at 7:30 pm; Black Mountain Boys at 8:30 pm ~ $20 advance & students/$25 day of show
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The Dead live on – or at least the Grateful Dead’s spirited experiment in dance music as a source of elevated consciousness continues in many forms (see March 7 with Mickey Hart and African Showboyz). This second night of the Ashkenaz anniversary celebration, “40 Years Dancing for Peace,” features two more Dead-related bands: the Black Mountain Boys (who will play first) is a reunion of musicians who played old-time and bluegrass music with Jerry Garcia in pre-Dead years, and Wake the Dead is the beloved ensemble that mixes Dead tunes and Celtic dance pieces.

It could take a book, or at least a chapter in a music history book, to cover all the connections among the members of the Black Mountain Boys, whose only planned reunion show is here at Ashkenaz. The original group, formed down the Peninsula around the time the pre-Dead Warlocks were taking shape, consisted of very young roots music addicts who wanted to play bluegrass and found fellow travelers in each other: David Nelson, Jerry Garcia, Robert Hunter, Eric Thompson, and Sandy Rothman. The lineup for tonight’s special event is guitarist Nelson, mandolin player Thompson, banjo player Rick Shubb, Paul Shelasky on fiddle, and bassist Paul Knight, plus guest fiddler Suzy Thompson for some hot twin-fiddling numbers.

Nelson is a longtime favorite as leader of New Riders of the Purple Sage and his Ashkenaz visits in the David Nelson Band. Thompson is known for a multitude of bands including California Cajun Orchestra, Todalo Shakers, and Aux Cajunals. Shelasky was the first male in the original all-woman Good Ol’ Persons. Paul Knight plays bass with Peter Rowan and Laurie Lewis. The Boys will be playing such standards as “Barefoot Nellie,” “Dark Hollow,” “New Campton Races,” “Hot Corn Cold Corn,” “Diamond Joe” and many more.

The short, but fun history of everyone’s connections is given by Eric Thompson, who explains how tonight’s members, even those who were not official Black Mountain Boys, were always within a degree or two of each other: “David, Rick and I all shared a house in Palo Alto in 1965, along with Phil Lesh (he had just joined the Warlocks, I gave him his first bass lesson), and Pig Pen as well. If you are familiar with Dr. Humbead’s Map of the World (created by Rick Shubb, and easily Googled), you’ll note that King Neptune bears a strong resemblance to Pig Pen. Obsessive Deadheads will already know that me, Garcia, Rick, David and Butch Waller all had their first LSD trip together at that house. Rick and I had a band a couple of years later in Berkeley called the Diesel Ducks (with Hank Bradley on fiddle). Paul Knight lives in Pt. Reyes, and plays with many people, including Peter Rowan.” Fun history for sure, but tonight’s music takes those roots to a new level!

Wake the Dead is a good example of how nearly everyone seems to be a Dead Head, even in the Celtic community. Tonight the world’s first Celtic all-star Grateful Dead jam band makes its first Ashkenaz appearance since 2009. It’s a novel idea brilliantly executed, weaving Grateful Dead songs in and out of Celtic jigs, reels, and ballads. The Bay Area acoustic aggregation gets together too infrequently, but when it does the septet brings out the best in British Isles traditions mated to Dead favorites and obscurities (“Scarlet Begonias,” “The Other One,” “Liberty” among them). Led by singer Danny Carnahan, who also plays guitar, fiddle, and octave mandolin, Wake the Dead includes singer-guitarist Sylvia Herold (late of Cats & Jammers and Hot Club of San Francisco), bassist Cindy Browne, fiddler and uilleann piper Kevin Carr (Hillbillies from Mars), singer and multiple-string-instrumentalist Paul Kotapish (Hillbillies from Mars, Kevin Burke’s Open House), and Brian Rice on percussion. Founding harper Maureen Brennan will miss this show, but she’s still in the band!

Doors at 8:30 pm; Show at 9:00 pm ~ $12 advance & students/$15 day of show
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Continuing the 11-day Ashkenaz anniversary celebration, “40 Years Dancing for Peace,” tonight we present two world music bands from about as far apart in the world as one can get: the African-rooted Babá Ken & West African Highlife Band, plus Hawaii’s Leche de Tigre, who play what they term “Latin Gypsy funk.”

Babá Ken Okulolo has been an integral part of the Ashkenaz community for… well, let’s let him explain: “Ashkenaz has been our home base for 27 years. David Nadel (the late founder-owner) always supported live African music, and the Center has kept up his commitment. It’s where our longtime fans have a chance to come and dance up close – some even jump on stage with us! Ashkenaz is the people’s house, and it brings us together across all dividing lines between nations and ages.”

Okulolo launched the West African Highlife Band in response to a request by Nadel for a band to concentrate on Ghanaian and West African highlife dance music and rhythmic styles. With master musicians from several West African countries and the United States, the band draws on folk traditions combined with modern stylistic elements, played with acoustic and electric instruments, and revives the infectious classic highlife dance hits of Ghana and Nigeria.

Okulolo first came to the U.S. as part of King Sunny Ade’s band, and he was also the bassist in Nigeria’s seminal Afro-rock group Monomono. Since moving to Oakland in 1985, he has created a stable of African bands including Kotoja and the Nigerian Brothers. Along with Okulolo, the West African Highlife Band features Soji Odukogbe, lead guitarist in Fela Kuti’s Egypt 80 band; Liberian trap drummer Lemi Barrow; Pope Flyne, lead singer of Ghana’s Sweet Talks; Rasaki Aladokun from Sunny Ade’s band; and, health permitting, member emeritus Nii Armah Hammond, founder of Ghana’s Hedzoleh Soundz.

From island hula music to the wave of slack key guitarists and on to reggae, Hawaii has been a wellspring of musical surprises. Now comes Leche de Tigre, a band from Kona, Hawaii, whose instrumentation is as eclectic as its stylistic approach Playing nylon-string guitars, drums, cello, and trumpet, its sound laced with rock influences, Leche de Tigre makes music that is both buoyantly new and dance-inducing.

Leche de Tigre (Spanish for “Tiger’s Milk”) sprouted from a weekly acoustic jam session in the back of Ceviche Dave’s restaurant in Kona. The musically adventurous and jovial gatherings explored exotic flavors of Latin, Gypsy jazz, rock, Afro-Cuban, and classical styles. Within months, the jam became an event in itself, with a growing audience coming to enjoy the unusual and infectious music. From there the group moved to larger audiences in theaters and festivals. The touring band is guitarist-singer Dan Brauer, guitarists Lukas Lessa and Dave Weaver, drummer Craig Miller, bassist Robby Malovic, percussionists Ruben Ruiz and Joe Marcelin, singer Lee Motter, trumpeter Michaeloha Elam, and Jing Jing Tsong on cello and melodica.

Doors at 2:30 pm; Show 3:00 – 4:30 pm ~ $6 adults/$4 kids

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Ashkenaz is proud to welcome all ages to all events we present, and shows for children and families are an important part of our programming. Our anniversary celebration, “40 Years Dancing for Peace,” incorporates two installments of our current kids’ series. “Soggy Sundays” offers seven consecutive weeks of afternoon shows to chase the winter fog and rain away (or lift spirits higher even if it’s not raining). The wide array of top family-oriented artists provides engaging entertainment for young children and parents, playing music from around the world for dancing, jumping, and spinning on the best dance floor in the East Bay!

Octopretzel is five Bay Area musicians pooling their talents, favorite songs, and puppets in an interactive, engaging, danceable, singable, and super-fun experience for kids and their parents. The bandmembers create imagination-stretching music, and today’s show features a slew of new stuff from Octopretzel’s latest CD, “If I were a Song…” Lead singer and guitarist Melita Doostan is Octopretzel’s creator, a former preschool teacher who is now a music specialist for youngsters. Singer David Doostan is an East Bay emergency room doctor. Lead singer and guitarist Sarita Pockell (former lead singer in world fusion band Hamsa Lila) teaches music and drama in Mill Valley. Jen Miriam Kantor, a former member of the Sippy Cups and the Puppet Players, sings and plays percussion (by day she’s a doula, artist, and puppeteer). Mandolinist and fiddler David Rosenfeld has worked with the Oakland Symphony and plays in klezmer band Kugelplex.

Doors at 7:00 pm; Show at 7:30 pm ~ $10

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In addition to being a beloved live music venue, Ashkenaz has long provided space for a wide variety of dance and movement classes for all ages. Tonight our ongoing 40th Anniversary celebration offers dance performances that showcase some of the talented artists and troupes who call Ashkenaz their rehearsal home.

Reflecting the diversity of the Bay Area, DanceVersity provides education in dance, music, and cultural appreciation, including Afro-Peruvian, Haitian, Turkish Roma (Gypsy), Bollywood, hip-hop, Guinean, Native American, Parisian, Hawaiian, Samba, Contemporary, Flamenco, Moroccan, Polish, Korean, Balinese, Azeri, Modern Dance and much more! Founded in 2005, DanceVersity World Dance is a multifaceted organization offering weekly classes, school programs, workshops, performances, and a comprehensive summer day camp for ages 7-17. The DanceVersity program offers youth access to alternative dance forms from around the world, creating an atmosphere where artistic expression is fostered, competitiveness discouraged, and diversity celebrated. By using dance as a platform for understanding culture and community, DanceVersity teaches youth to respect different cultures and their unique ways of relating to the world.

Jubilee American Dance Theatre is a truly unique performance ensemble, bringing to life the dances, music, songs, and stories of the folks who made America. From Appalachia to Swing Era dance halls to Cajun Country, the North American Whalers, Baja California, America’s immigrants, and more, Jubilee transports you to another time and place through its rich weaving of stories, songs, dance, and music. Jubilee’s work is all set in context with period costumes and props; the costume staff goes to great lengths to research and reproduce authentic costumes of each era. Likewise, the choral and music directors recreate regional and historical musical styles. Jubilee has traveled to represent the U.S. at numerous international dance and music festivals, most recently in Russia and Cuba, as well as performing throughout the Bay Area.

Kalanjali was founded by Katherine and K.P. Kunhiraman in 1975 when they arrived in Berkeley from India. Often honored by grants from the California Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts, Kalanjali has been part of the Ashkenaz world since the Kunhiramans’ arrival, when their love for folk dance made them frequent visitors. Classes in Bharatanatyam have been offered at Ashkenaz for 25 years, and many dancers have emerged from these classes to become professionals. Students perform this ancient intricate style of classical dance at many community events and grow into able ambassadors of Indian culture.

Doors at 7:30 pm; Show at 8:30 pm ~ $20 advance & students/$25 day of show
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BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet is “the best Cajun band in the world,” according to Garrison Keillor (A Prairie Home Companion), and dance audiences definitely second that opinion. BeauSoleil loves to play for dancers at Ashkenaz, and turns tonight into a Cajun celebration of Ashkenaz’s anniversary: “40 Years Dancing for Peace,” joined by Marley’s Ghost, another American music group that excels in molding well-known songs from other sources (gospel, Bob Marley, Dylan) to its unique sound.

In addition to its truckload of favorites, BeauSoleil presents songs from its just-issued album, “From Bamako to Carencro,” an engaging set of inventive originals and creatively reimagined classics, including a Creole cover of James Brown’s “I’ll Go Crazy” and John Coltrane’s swing tune “Bessie’s Blues.”

Launched in 1975 by Louisiana fiddle great Michael Doucet, BeauSoleil is the world’s most popular Cajun band, having played in every state of the Union and 33 countries, and racked up a trophy room full of awards including two Grammys. The ensemble takes Doucet’s Louisiana Cajun roots (which he plays in more traditional form in the Savoy-Doucet Band) and artfully blends elements of zydeco, New Orleans jazz, Tex-Mex, country, blues, and more into a satisfying and irresistibly danceable musical recipe. BeauSoleil championed the popularization of Louisiana’s indigenous French-language dance music in the 1970s and ’80s, helping turn a near-derogatory term, “Cajun,” into a label of pride for members of its Southwest Louisiana culture.

Doucet and band have performed in such films as “Belizaire the Cajun” and “The Big Easy” and the acclaimed documentary “American Roots Music.” They have also collaborated on record with, among others, Mary-Chapin Carpenter (her No. 1 hit “Down at the Twist and Shout”), Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, English rock guitarist Richard Thompson, and the Grateful Dead. BeauSoleil has long been a Bay Area favorite, recording a series of popular and award-winning albums for El Cerrito’s Arhoolie Records. Along with Doucet on fiddle, guitar, accordion, mandolin, and vocals, BeauSoleil features his guitarist-singer brother David Doucet, accordionist Jimmy Breaux, drummer Tommy Alesi, percussionist Billy Ware, and Mitch Reed on bass, fiddle, banjo, and electric guitar.

In its first Ashkenaz appearance in more than a decade, Marley’s Ghost helps us celebrate our 40 years just after the indescribable combo marked its first quarter of a century. Even the members of the band have trouble describing their music, but they all know whatever they do, it always comes out sounding uniquely like Marley’s Ghost. Guitarist Mike Phelan says it’s the vocals. Steel guitarist Ed Littlefield says it’s the broad repertoire. Guitarist Dan Wheetman just calls it American roots music, if you count reggae – and why wouldn't you? The group is rounded out by Jerry Fletcher on keyboard and accordion and mandolin player Jon Wilcox.

After more than 25 years of making music together, recording nine albums, and performing thousands of shows nationally and internationally, Marley’s Ghost remains one of the best-kept secrets of the acoustic music world, an untapped natural resource waiting to be discovered. Its 25th Anniversary CD “Jubilee” features Emmylou Harris, John Prine, Marty Stuart, Larry Campbell, Cowboy Jack Clement (who produced it), and Old Crow Medicine Show.

Doors at 7:30 pm; Show at 8:00 pm ~ $12

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Balkan bands abound in a one-night festival as we celebrate Ashkenaz’s anniversary: “40 Years Dancing for Peace.” With our most famous Bay Area Balkan band Édessa on board, master musician Bill Cope oversees the event, which also offers Agapi Mou, Black Sea Surf, and Trio Zulum, along with a dance circle between sets and most likely an all-stars set. Balkan dance music is what late Ashkenaz founder David Nadel had in mind when he first opened the club’s doors in 1973, and it continues to be a cornerstone of programming. In addition to the bands and musicians performing in various combinations, there will be a Balkan circle with Bill Cope and other musicians playing, unamplified, in the middle of the dance floor on folk instruments. Cope explains, “It’s as traditional musicians would play in the center of the village, within the circle of dancers, sharing and building a music and dance energy that is like no other on the planet!”

For years one of the Bay Area’s premier Balkan dance bands, Édessa’s musicians have devoted decades to the study and performance of the rich cultural expressions of the southern Balkans. They play with a deep understanding of the connection between dance and music. Using both traditional and modern instruments, they perform in a variety of styles, featuring long sets that interweave melodies, improvisation, and beats with dancers in mind. The music comes from Albania, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Armenia, Turkey, and the Balkan Roma (Gypsy) people. The group and its members have long participated in and taught at Balkan camps across the country, and Édessa was the first band to take Balkan music to Japan. Édessa is George Chittenden on clarinet, saxophone, gaida (bagpipe), zurna (shawm) and guitar; Lise Liepman on santouri (hammered dulcimer) and accordion; violinist Ari Langer; bassist Paul Brown; and percussionist-singer Rumen Sali Shopov.

Berkeley band Agapi Mou offers traditional Greek and Balkan dance music. It’s the latest project from two young-but-longtime local Balkan players: violinist, singer, and oud player Aya Davidson and clarinetist-singer Gregory Masaki Jenkins. The band includes Alan Davidson on laouto (Greek lute) and Michael Garibaldi on percussion. Agapi Mou (“my love” in Greek, signifying the group’s dedication to the traditional music of Greece) performs songs and dance tunes from numerous islands, including Crete, Rhodes, Amorgos, Ikaria, Mytillini, and mainland areas such as Thrace, Macedonia, Eipirus, and the Peloponnese. The group also presents a number of selections from nearby countries such as Albania, Turkey, and Armenia. Agapi Mou recently released its debut CD, “Across the Sea.”

Black Sea Surf plays traditional Balkan dance music – blending village instruments and styles with the drive of instruments of today. Black Sea Surf’s repertoire embraces Bulgarian, Macedonian, Turkish, and Greek roots as well as Rom music from throughout the Middle East and Europe. The band is a collection of good friends, all Balkan masters: Radka Varimezova sings exquisitely in half-a-dozen languages; Corinne Sykes plays a driving Middle Eastern keyboard and sweetens the air with her voice; Tom Farris and Dan Auvil create an irresistible rhythmic foundation; and Bill Cope plays Bulgarian and Macedonian bagpipes and tambura, Greek bouzouki, and accordion... oh, and Stratocaster!

Trio Zulum plays Bulgarian dance music, and while its name translates as “heartbreaker,” the group is anything but morose, and only occasionally a trio. With Vassil Bebelekov on gajda (bagpipe), Bill Cope on tambura (lute), and tupan (drum) master Dan Auvil, the trio is often joined by the heartstopping voice of Maria Bebelekova.

Doors at 8:30 pm; Show at 9:00 pm ~ $20 advance/$25 day of show
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In his first appearance on our stage since 2006, Everton Blender, along with Abja & the Lions of Kush, represent hard-core, conscious reggae music as we celebrate Ashkenaz’s anniversary: “40 Years Dancing for Peace.”

Headlining a full night of roots and newer reggae, Everton Blender boasts one of the sweetest tenor voices to come out of Jamaica, where he was born in 1956. His style melds roots reggae with dancehall in his songs bursting with spiritually uplifting themes, spread over a series of heralded CDs from 1994’s “Lift Up Your Head” to the 2007 “Live in Berkeley.” In addition to being a singing star and composer/arranger, as a producer Blender has worked with fellow reggae artists Prezident Brown, Richie Spice, Anthony B, Jah Mason, and Admiral Tibet, among others.

Whether collectively or on personal journeys, all of the Lions of Kush have performed across the globe at reggae roots and culture events, spreading their musical, lyrical and spiritual highlights. They have reunited to celebrate the release of their new CD, “Jah Is Judge.” Based in St. Croix, the Virgin Islands, Abja & the Lions of Kush have all taken part in several U.S., Caribbean, and European tours, including feature appearances at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival and on Tempo (the Caribbean’s equivalent of MTV). Their impact has been felt as well at the World Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela, and at the Kafountine Carnival in Senegal.

Doors at 8:00 pm; Show at 8:30 pm ~ $15 advance & students/$18 day of show
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Every night is Carnaval for Santa Cruz-based SambaDá, whose shows have been some of the liveliest ever on the Ashkenaz stage. They share the night with LoCura as we celebrate Ashkenaz’s anniversary: “40 Years Dancing for Peace.”

Founded in 1997 by native Brazilian Papiba Godinho, SambaDá’s ultimate goal isn’t just to preserve traditions the musicians are so well-versed in – including samba, bossa nova, pagode, samba reggae, batucada, and forró, plus some well-placed surf guitar – but also to get everyone dancing to their infectious blend of Brazilian roots and other North and South American styles such as funk, reggae, jazz, rock, and hip-hop. The group’s pulsating percussion, uplifting vocals, and rich melodies give it a distinctive sound, heard in both popular and original songs. SambaDá visited Brazil in July 2009 and became the first band from the United States to play at the legendary house of Ilê Aiyê, the first black Carnaval group in Brazil.

Lead vocalist Dandha da Hora is a master dancer from Ilê Aiyê, and singer-guitarist Godinho is a master of the Brazilian martial art form capoeira. The band also features Bahia-born percussionist Wagner Santos Profeta, Ilê Aiyê percussionist Marcio Peeter, percussionist-singer Marcel Menard, saxophonist-flutist Anne Stafford, electric guitarist Will Kahn, bassist Kevin Dorn, and drummer Gary Kehoe.

Fusing grooves and melodies from reggae, Cuban son, Spanish flamenco, and North American folk, LoCura calls its musical blend “Reggaelicious Flamenkito.” In addition to singer-lyricist Kata Miletich, the Oakland quintet features trumpeter-singer Danny Cao, guitarist-singer Bob Sanders, Isaac “Izzy” Weiser on bass and Ernesto “Matute” Lopez Cuadra on drums. Inspired by such world music mixers as Manu Chao, Björk, and Lila Downs, LoCura explains that “During the times when the world is spinning too fast to comprehend, we find we need a remedy, and music can be that cure. This is the feeling we hope to cultivate through our music; that within the insanity and madness of this crazy life, blossoms the cure – beauty and love bringing dreams to life, where another world is possible.” Over the past six years the group has performed and lived in Spain and Morocco as well as playing many of the dance halls and festivals on the West Coast.

Red & Blue Ball!
Doors at 7:00 pm; Dance lesson at 7:30 pm; Show at 8:30 pm ~ $15 advance & students/$20 day of show
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You may want to bring a beach towel tonight, to mop up the sweat from the dancing, as two of our most energized bands pull out all the stops for the Red & Blue Ball to help us celebrate Ashkenaz’s anniversary: “40 Years Dancing for Peace.” Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers join with Quinn DeVeaux & the Blue Beat Revue in a show that sounds as patriotic as it is colorful.

Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers keep adding new elements to their timeless blues-jazz-swing repertoire, including new songs as well as rotating the hits and forgotten gems from their three CDs. The most recent release, “Miss Smith to You!” provides fresh takes on classics for the dance floor, including “Miss Brown to You,” “I'm Not Evil,” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

Growing up in Southern California and the Philippines, Smith was influenced early by such singers as Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Bessie Smith, and Esther Phillips. Since 1989, before swing became a national craze, she and her band (led by co-founder and keyboardist Chris Siebert) have been making music as sharp and irresistible as her period costumes that recall the pinup girls of the Forties. Two decades later they are still the Bay Area’s hottest swing attraction, steeped in not just the songs but also the feel that makes them the real deal. Big, bluesy-voiced Smith has deservedly raked in national attention from network television to NPR, and Johnny Otis proclaimed that “she and her band are a breath of fresh air!” Multiple award winners, Smith and her Skillet Lickers present not only the best-dressed but also one of the most exciting shows of East Coast Swing and Lindy Hop dance music, as well as sultry torch songs.

Quinn DeVeaux & the Blue Beat Revue present a dance-oriented mix of modern soul, gospel, and folk with some rootsy blues thrown in for balance. The septet is a true revue, complete with female vocal harmony singers! DeVeaux draws from New Orleans soul, the ’60s folk revival, and ’50s Chicago blues and rock. Most of DeVeaux’s music is original, some from his CDs, “Lions on Lakes” and the band’s new “Under Covers.” You hear upright bass and drums lock into a rolled drop beat, then the piano licks up and around the groove, then a drip-dried guitar jumps in followed by three lovely voices making harmonies ’round the rhythm, and then on top comes DeVeaux with his sugarbush tones of joy. Along with the mesemerizing DeVeaux on guitar and vocals, the Blue Beat Revue features bassist Kenan Obrien, drummer Matty Mack, pianist Chris Siebert, and backing singers the Quinntettes (Melanie Blythe, Latriece Love, and Ahsa Ti).

Doors at 2:30 pm; Show 3:00 – 4:30 pm ~ $6 adults/$4 kids

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Ashkenaz is proud to welcome all ages to all events we present, and shows for children and families are an important part of our programming. Our anniversary celebration, “40 Years Dancing for Peace,” incorporates two installments of our current kids’ series. “Soggy Sundays” offers seven consecutive weeks of afternoon shows to chase the winter fog and rain away (or lift spirits higher even if it’s not raining). The wide array of top family-oriented artists provides engaging entertainment for young children and parents, playing music from around the world for dancing, jumping, and spinning on the best dance floor in the East Bay!

The beloved kids’ entertainer Asheba brings children and families into his joyful world of Caribbean music. A veteran of several reggae bands, Asheba plays guitar and steel pans as he performs an infectious mix of songs and tells stories from his island childhood in a participatory concert that appeals to children of all ages. Stories of hope and happiness are the focus of his songs, which range from original lullabies to fast tempo tunes to remakes of classics such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Five Little Monkeys,” “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and “You Are My Sunshine.” The effervescent musician moved from his native Trinidad to New York City in 1989. He has called Oakland home since 1999 and has put out four popular kids’ CDs: “Go Itsy, Music for Kids Caribbean Style,” “No More Monkeys,” “Children Are The Sunshine,” and the recent “In the Kid Zone.” Asheba is also featured on two Putumayo children’s collections, “Reggae Playground” and “Animal Playground.”

Doors at 6:00 pm; Show at 6:30 pm ~ Free!

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It is impossible to top the energy output of tonight’s free Non Stop Bhangra Dance Party as Dholrhythms helps us close out Ashkenaz’s anniversary celebration: “40 Years Dancing for Peace.” A dance company dedicated to raising awareness and educating the Bay Area about the cultural and artistic heritage of India, Dholrhythms has spent 10 years presenting the irresistible contemporary “folk” dances of Punjab, India: bhangra and giddha.

Dholrhythms began in 2003 as the shared vision of Punjab-born Vicki Virk and Suman Raj, a native of the Fiji Islands. Dholrhythms presents classes and workshops as well as music programs, including the popular and acclaimed Non Stop Bhangra dance party that takes place monthly in San Francisco. Tonight’s event begins with a bhangra dance lesson by Virk, followed by a performance by Dholrhythms Dance Troupe, live dhol drumming, and recorded music for dancing.

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