Dec
17
11:00 AM11:00

Soul Sanctuary Dance

Doors at 10:30 am; Dance at 11:00 am

Family-friendly Freestyle Community Dance. Come dance freely every Sunday morning at Soul Sanctuary Dance. No admission fee / 100% volunteer produced.

SoulSanctuary_square.jpg

Soul Sanctuary Dance is a welcoming and inclusive all-ages community freestyle/ecstatic/shoes optional dance that supports free expression, community, physical and emotional health, and a spirit of generosity. We dance to an irresistible eclectic blend of world music, funk, house, soul, electro swing, positive hip hop, reggae, dance classics, jazz, blues, electronica, and other music to free mind, body and soul.

Organic fruit for all after the dance.
The dance is completely organized and run by volunteers.
Wheelchair accessible. No scented products please. Shoes optional.

The dance is a generosity and donation-based event. We don't charge a fee for admission. Instead, we post this message at the welcome table: "Your dance today at Soul Sanctuary Dance is a gift from those who have made donations to the dance, and from the volunteers who organize and produce the dance. We invite you to pay this generosity forward for future dancers, in whatever amount or manner you choose, so that we can continue to keep this chain of gifts alive."

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Tom Rigney & Flambeau
Dec
19
8:30 PM20:30

Tom Rigney & Flambeau

Doors at 7:30 pm; Cajun/Zydeco Dance Lesson with Cheryl McBride at 8 pm;
Show at 8:30 pm

Eventbrite - Tom Rigney & Flambeau

Tickets are $12

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Ace fiddler Tom Rigney and his Louisiana-drenched band Flambeau can be heard in concerts from the Caribbean to Alaska, at the big festivals in the summer, and monthly at his favorite neighborhood dance palace: Ashkenaz. Tonight the band celelbrates the release of its new CD, “Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later than You Think).” The unusual title song (recorded by everyone from Guy Lombardo to the Supremes) is a real surprise. According to Rigney, it’s “a great song, although I must admit when I heard it when I was a kid it made no sense at all. I listened to the Guy Lombardo version a couple of years ago and realized what a brilliant, funny, and on-the-money song it is.” In addition to old favorites and Rigney’s own compositions, some of tonight’s songs are pulled from the CD/DVD “Swamp Fever – Live at Three Stages,” whose video was part of the PBS-TV series “Music Gone Public.” Featured songs range from “Iko Iko” to “Orange Blossom Special” and “C’est la Vie.” What sets Rigney and Flambeau apart is their fresh musical takes on Louisiana Cajun and zydeco, New Orleans R&B, down-home blues, and other styles he loves to play from rock to classical, creating a celebration of life through dance rhythms. Flambeau is a tight ensemble of virtuoso musicians, with guitarist Danny Caron (Charles Brown’s bandleader; he and Rigney met when both backed up Rockin’ Sidney in the ’80s), boogie-woogie keyboardist Caroline Dahl, bassist and singer Steve Parks, and drummer Brent Rampone. Son of baseball legend Bill Rigney, Tom Rigney has long been a force in Bay Area music. He began in bluegrass-Western Swing band Back in the Saddle, then went from helping bandleader Queen Ida pioneer zydeco in the 1980s, to 15 years leading his New Orleans-drenched rock-R&B-zydeco outfit the Sundogs. At the turn of the 21st century he launched Flambeau, which has remained busy on the road ever since, releasing records mixing traditional and original fare. Not long ago, after teaming up for a few shows at Ashkenaz, Rigney and fellow fiddler Michael Doucet recorded the critically acclaimed CD “Cajun Fandango,” a hot collection of fiddle duets on Parhelion Records.

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Solstice Community Sing with Melanie DeMore
Dec
20
7:30 PM19:30

Solstice Community Sing with Melanie DeMore

Doors at 7:00 pm; Show at 7:30 pm

Eventbrite - Solstice Community Sing with Melanie DeMore

Tickets are $15 at the Door / $10 Advance / $10 Student / $10 Kids

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Melanie DeMore was a founding member of the Grammy nominated vocal ensemble Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, and is constantly amazed by her life. But nothing is closer to her heart than bringing people together wherever she is to experience the healing power of music. Whether she's performing solo, leading stick pounding workshops, doing residencies with choirs all over the country or teaching Sound Awareness to sixth graders, baby boomers, or senior citizens, one thing is certain: her mission is to make sure you unlock the key to experiencing yourself in all your Glory and return home with the very same excitement and passion for living that she herself has. When she comes your way, her energy will charge the very air you breath like a meteor shower, so get ready to rise up!

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Dec
24
11:00 AM11:00

Soul Sanctuary Dance

Doors at 10:30 am; Dance at 11:00 am

Family-friendly Freestyle Community Dance. Come dance freely every Sunday morning at Soul Sanctuary Dance. No admission fee / 100% volunteer produced.

SoulSanctuary_square.jpg

Soul Sanctuary Dance is a welcoming and inclusive all-ages community freestyle/ecstatic/shoes optional dance that supports free expression, community, physical and emotional health, and a spirit of generosity. We dance to an irresistible eclectic blend of world music, funk, house, soul, electro swing, positive hip hop, reggae, dance classics, jazz, blues, electronica, and other music to free mind, body and soul.

Organic fruit for all after the dance.
The dance is completely organized and run by volunteers.
Wheelchair accessible. No scented products please. Shoes optional.

The dance is a generosity and donation-based event. We don't charge a fee for admission. Instead, we post this message at the welcome table: "Your dance today at Soul Sanctuary Dance is a gift from those who have made donations to the dance, and from the volunteers who organize and produce the dance. We invite you to pay this generosity forward for future dancers, in whatever amount or manner you choose, so that we can continue to keep this chain of gifts alive."

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Andrew Carriere and The Zydeco Cajun Allstars Featuring Annie Staninec
Dec
26
8:00 PM20:00

Andrew Carriere and The Zydeco Cajun Allstars Featuring Annie Staninec

Doors at 7:30 pm; Cajun/Zydeco Dance Lesson with Cheryl McBride at 8 pm; 
Show at 8:30 pm

Eventbrite - Andrew Carriere and The Zydeco Cajun Allstars Featuring Annie Staninec

Tickets are $12

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You can’t get much more authentic than Andrew Carriere, especially when he’s backed by his top-notch Zydeco/Cajun Allstars. A native of Southern Louisiana, accordionist and singer Andrew Carriere brings a long family tradition into his playing. His father was the legendary Creole fiddler “Bebe” Carriere, his uncle was accordionist Eraste Carriere, and cousins Chubby, Calvin, and Roy Carrier are popular in the zydeco arena. Carriere moved to the Bay Area in the ’60s, learned accordion from the late Danny Poullard, and is featured vocalist on the California Cajun Orchestra’s “Not Lonesome Anymore” CD. He performs regularly with the Creole Belles and CZ & the Bon Vivants, and more occasionally in the Cajun Classics. 

Carriere’s Zydeco/Cajun Allstars include steel guitarist Billy Wilson, drummer David “Killer” Hymowitz, guitarist Mitch Polzak, and bassist Steven Strauss. The lineup might not seem particularly “traditional” to current followers of Cajun and zydeco, but, Wilson explains, “This is the real tradition that came out of the ’50s and ’60s honky-tonk Cajun bands, where they just had fun and played for dancers. The steel guitar was right there, and fiddles and an occasional lead guitar.” And, of course, the accordion. The repertoire is the standards and classics of Cajun and zydeco, old and new.

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Annie Staninec has been playing the violin since the age of four, began
performing professionally at the age of 12, and now makes her living playing, 
recording, teaching and touring internationally with renowned groups spanning
several genres. Annie’s fiery playing and unassuming charm have been
captivating audiences around the world for years, whether she is on the festival
stage with a bluegrass band, playing an intimate club with a gypsy jazz combo, 
or just playing for the local Cajun dance. 
Annie toured with the 2006 Gypsy Caravan Tour, featuring such luminaries as
David Grisman, Stephane Wrembel, and the Robin Nolan Trio, and has
performed numerous times at Djangofest either leading her own group or with
the Avatar Ensemble. She has just returned from an expansive European tour
with the internationally acclaimed Kathy Kallick band, including headlining the
annual European World of Bluegrass Festival in Voorthuizen, the Netherlands, 
and will be performing on the main stage at the prestigious California Bluegrass
Association annual festival in June. 
Annie makes her home in San Francisco, CA and is currently performing with
the Kathy Kallick Band, Andrew Carriere and the Cajun Allstars, Doug
Martin’s Avatar Ensemble, the George Cole Quintet, and others. Her playing
can be heard on albums from numerous artists including Kathy Kallick, Town
Mountain, Avatar String Ensemble, and a soon to be released project by Jerry
Vessel. Annie is proudly sponsored by Saga Cremona Violins, and the L.R. 
Baggs company.

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Dec
31
11:00 AM11:00

Soul Sanctuary Dance

Doors at 10:30 am; Dance at 11:00 am

Family-friendly Freestyle Community Dance. Come dance freely every Sunday morning at Soul Sanctuary Dance. No admission fee / 100% volunteer produced.

SoulSanctuary_square.jpg

Soul Sanctuary Dance is a welcoming and inclusive all-ages community freestyle/ecstatic/shoes optional dance that supports free expression, community, physical and emotional health, and a spirit of generosity. We dance to an irresistible eclectic blend of world music, funk, house, soul, electro swing, positive hip hop, reggae, dance classics, jazz, blues, electronica, and other music to free mind, body and soul.

Organic fruit for all after the dance.
The dance is completely organized and run by volunteers.
Wheelchair accessible. No scented products please. Shoes optional.

The dance is a generosity and donation-based event. We don't charge a fee for admission. Instead, we post this message at the welcome table: "Your dance today at Soul Sanctuary Dance is a gift from those who have made donations to the dance, and from the volunteers who organize and produce the dance. We invite you to pay this generosity forward for future dancers, in whatever amount or manner you choose, so that we can continue to keep this chain of gifts alive."

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Annual New Year’s Eve Balkan Bash: Édessa, Drómeno & more!
Dec
31
8:00 PM20:00

Annual New Year’s Eve Balkan Bash: Édessa, Drómeno & more!

Doors at 7:30 pm; Show at 8:00 pm

Eventbrite - Annual New Year’s Eve Balkan Bash: Édessa, Drómeno & more!

Tickets are $25

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For many years one of the Bay Area’s premier Balkan dance bands, Édessa is comprised of musicians who 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 a beat with dancers in mind. The music comes from Albania, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Armenia, and Turkey, and Balkan Roma (Gypsy). 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, gaida (bagpipe), zurna (shawm), and guitar; Lise Liepman on santouri (hammered dulcimer) and accordion; violinist Ari Langer and percussionist Sean Tergis.

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Seattle’s exuberant band Drómeno plays dance music from all over the Balkans, including the driving brass band music from the border of Greece and the former Yugoslavia, the mournful clarinet tunes from Ipiros and Albania, the energetic dance tunes from Greek and Bulgarian Thrace. Drómeno is the name the famed Govetas family has chosen for this grouping of musicians both young and only slightly older. Drómeno is Greek for a cultural happening, event, custom, tradition. 
Christos Govetas (clarinet, bouzouki, zourna, and voice) and Ruth Hunter (accordion and voice) have been playing Greek music and other Balkan music together for more than 20 years. Hunter played Ashkenaz years ago, and Govetas has been here more recently in the band Ziyia. In their family band, Drómeno, they are joined by their children Eleni (doumberleki, defi, drums, sax, zourna and double bass) and Bobby (daouli, drums, trumpet), as well as Nick Maroussis (laouto, guitar, and baglama). Additionally, Peter Lippman and Benji Rifati play trumpet for full-tilt Macedonian brass pieces.

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Gator Nation
Jan
2
7:30 PM19:30

Gator Nation

Doors at 7:30 pm; Dance Lesson with Cheryl McBride at 8:00 pm
Show at 8:30 pm

Tickets are $15

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Longtime favorite Cajun-zydeco band Gator Nation keeps the Ashkenaz dance floor bouncing with full-tilt party music. The group’s mostly original songs are powered by its own gumbo of dance rhythms: a blend of Louisiana Cajun and zydeco, a touch of New Orleans funk, and, as the band proclaims, “a beat that bites.” Gator Nation is a culturally and stylistically mixed crew, with guitarist Randy Quan, bassist Tim Haggerty, lead singer and washboard player Willard Blackwell, drummer Bobby “G” Gaviola, accordion player Dennis Hadley, and Australia native David Scott on saxophone, pennywhistle, and percussion. 

The band has been Gator Nation for four years, but was started in 1988 as Gator Beat, changing its name after the passing of founder Richie Domingue in 2005, while honoring his legacy. The group explains: “Looking back at the amazing 25-year history of Gator Beat and its founder Richie Domingue, we are grateful to recognize that we have created among ourselves and our many fans that which was, in the beginning, his dream... a community. A community in which people of all walks of life meet on the common ground of music. The Beat goes on!”

 

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Balkan Folk Dance
Jan
3
7:00 PM19:00

Balkan Folk Dance

Doors at 6:30 pm; Show at 7:00 pm

Tickets are $7

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This monthly event is a revival of ’70s-style Berkeley folkdancing with some international request dancing to recorded music, capturing the spirit that David Nadel was inspired by when he opened Ashkenaz in 1973 with Balkan folkdancing. One does not need a live band to experience the communal pleasure of dancing together, and the dance lessons help newcomers join in the experience

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Bachata Nightz
Jan
4
8:00 PM20:00

Bachata Nightz

Doors at 8 pm; Dance Lesson at 8:30 pm with Kathy Reyes; Performance at 9:30 pm

Tickets are $10 / $8 Students

Bachata Nightz happens the first Thursday of the month. It is led by award-winning Bachata contest master Kathy Reyes, who also teaches dance at Ashkenaz. Bachata is a form of Latin dance/music that originated in the Dominican Republic. It is now danced all over the world. Reyes teaches the dance lesson at 8:30 p.m., followed by performance and dancing to recorded music spun by DJ MIGZ. 

Currently the defending Los Angeles Bachata Champion (winning first place at the L.A. Bachata Festival), Kathy Reyes is known for her unique style and interpretation of music. She discovered her talent and passion for Latin dancing in college in Los Angeles, and over the past 10 years has taken various prizes individually and in dance troupes. She leads groups and teaches here, in Los Angeles and San Diego. Teaching allows her to share her philosophy of dance: “Dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart takes one to a whole different level.”

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Stu Allen & Mars Hotel
Jan
5
9:00 PM21:00

Stu Allen & Mars Hotel

Doors at 8:30 pm; Show at 9 pm

Tickets $20 Day of / $18 Advance / 
$18 Students

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A tradition started back in the 20th century, Ashkenaz’s Grateful Dead Night is always evolving, reaching new heights since Stu Allen & Mars Hotel launched a weekly residency in late 2011. Led by acclaimed guitarist-singer Allen (of Phil Lesh & Friends, Melvin Seals & JGB, Ghosts of Electricity), a revolving cast of incredibly talented musicians inhabits Mars Hotel, drawing from the Grateful Dead’s vast catalog to delight Deadheads and dancers of all generations. A Mars Hotel show is always an energetic evening of good vibes, good music, and good community. 

When it became apparent that Jerry Garcia had played his final show in 1995, Stu Allen began working to keep Garcia’s music, sound, and spirit alive in the concert setting. He regularly works with Phil Lesh and has also played sets with Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann. Allen is perhaps most known for fronting Melvin Seals’ tribute to the Jerry Garcia Band from 2004 to 2011. He received more national acclaim in 2010 when he toured with Dark Star Orchestra. Allen shares the Grateful Dead’s commitment to making each performance a unique event, from preparation to execution. He will perform multiple shows before playing the same song twice, and even then, that song will not be realized in quite the same way. 

Mars Hotel takes this idea a step further by presenting a new band at each performance. Drawing from the rich music scene of the Bay Area, Allen has assembled a broad and ever-rotating group of musicians that makes each concert a once-only experience. As far as Grateful Dead tribute bands go, this is a concept that has never been done before.

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Motordude Zydeco
Jan
6
8:00 PM20:00

Motordude Zydeco

Doors at 7:30 pm; Cajun/Zydeco Dance Lesson with Cheryl McBride at 8:00 pm; Performance at 9:00 pm

Tickets are $15 Advance / $18 at the Door

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Winner of everyone’s vote as one of the Bay’s hottest dance bands, MotorDude Zydeco purveys a high-energy hybrid of Cajun and zydeco styles. The group is powered by the hardest-working man in the local Cajun/zydeco scene, multi-instrumentalist Billy Wilson – who plays accordion for MDZ – along with singer/rubboard player Lloyd Meadows, guitarist Ian Lamson, drummer and singer Willy Jordan, and bassist Dennis Calloway. Launched in 1989 by veterans of other zydeco and dance bands, MDZ takes its name from Motor Dude, a horse owned by the late, great accordion player and zydeco pioneer Boozoo Chavis.

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Iko Ya Ya
Jan
9
7:30 PM19:30

Iko Ya Ya

Doors at 7:30 pm; Dance Lesson with Cheryl McBride at 8:00 pm
Show at 8:30 pm

Tickets are $15

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Iko Yaya dishes out steaming New Orleans-drenched “swamp and roll” for dancing. Iko Yaya is made up of longtime members of some of our favorite local bands, and it’ll be a night of “bon temps roulez” big time! The musicians got together in 2013 to play the Louisiana-influenced music that moves them, and, as Jim Scott reports, “That’s when the party started!” Tonight it’s a full plate of their favorite New Orleans-based dance music – blues and boogie, Cajun/zydeco, R&B, Second Line, and even country – all delivered with a Mardi Gras vibe. Among the dance favorites are “Mardi Gras Mambo,” “It’s All Over Now,” “Hey Pocky Way,” and “Waltz Across Texas.” 

Iko Yaya is singer-percussionist Cheryl McBride (born and raised in New Orleans, a member of SwingThing, and one of our regular dance teachers), guitarist Jim Scott (Mark St. Mary, CZ & the Bon Vivants, Jeffery Broussard), bassist-singer Ryan Houck, guitarist-percussionist Lance Houck, saxophonist Otoe Mori, trumpeter Marty Arvan, and drummer Sam Siggins (California Cajun Orchestra, Courtableu, Creole Belles).

 

 

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Stu Allen & Mars Hotel
Jan
10
8:00 PM20:00

Stu Allen & Mars Hotel

Doors at 7:30 pm; Show at 8 pm

Tickets are $15

stu5.jpg

A tradition started back in the 20th century, Ashkenaz’s Grateful Dead Night is always evolving, reaching new heights since Stu Allen & Mars Hotel launched a weekly residency in late 2011. Led by acclaimed guitarist-singer Allen (of Phil Lesh & Friends, Melvin Seals & JGB, Ghosts of Electricity), a revolving cast of incredibly talented musicians inhabits Mars Hotel, drawing from the Grateful Dead’s vast catalog to delight Deadheads and dancers of all generations. A Mars Hotel show is always an energetic evening of good vibes, good music, and good community.

When it became apparent that Jerry Garcia had played his final show in 1995, Stu Allen began working to keep Garcia’s music, sound, and spirit alive in the concert setting. He regularly works with Phil Lesh and has also played sets with Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann. Allen is perhaps most known for fronting Melvin Seals’ tribute to the Jerry Garcia Band from 2004 to 2011. He received more national acclaim in 2010 when he toured with Dark Star Orchestra. Allen shares the Grateful Dead’s commitment to making each performance a unique event, from preparation to execution. He will perform multiple shows before playing the same song twice, and even then, that song will not be realized in quite the same way.

Mars Hotel takes this idea a step further by presenting a new band at each performance. Drawing from the rich music scene of the Bay Area, Allen has assembled a broad and ever-rotating group of musicians that makes each concert a once-only experience. As far as Grateful Dead tribute bands go, this is a concept that has never been done before.

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World Beatnix
Jan
12
9:00 PM21:00

World Beatnix

Doors at 8:30 pm; Show at 9:00 pm

Tickets are $10 Advance / $15 at the Door

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Original music dance band. Get ready to move and celebrate with a unique blend of musical styles — from Afro-beat to Egyptian to the Cajun Bayou. Have fun while dancing and appreciating the rhythms of the world. Instruments include percussion, drums, bass, guitar, keys, flute and saxophone. Shows can include dancers and a multimedia presentation. 
Based on traditional rhythms from around the world. No passport is required to embark on an exotic musical journey around the world. This Nevada City, Ca. local ensemble pioneers a groundbreaking sound based on traditional rhythms from Africa, Brazil, Egypt and the Caribbean. The highly dance-able, spiritual amalgamation materializes from a hypnotic symbiosis of percussive rhythms, bass vibrations and melodies carried on the wings of guitar, keys, sax and flute. 
 

 

 

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Dominica Hurricane Relief with a Koudmen and Harry Best
Jan
13
8:00 PM20:00

Dominica Hurricane Relief with a Koudmen and Harry Best

 

Doors at 7:30 pm; show at 8:00 pm

Tickets are $17 Advance /
$20 at the Door /
$15 Student

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Show will start with a short 5-7 minute spiritual ceremony with acoustic drumming. Followed by set by the Bay Area Steel Drum ensemble, including Jeff Narrell. Some of the Bay Area’s top Caribbean musicians will come together in a “Koudmen” for a concert to benefit Hurricane disaster relief efforts on the island of Dominica. Led by legendary Caribbean Poet and Artist, RasMo of Dominica, the group will also include guitarist Bernard George, drummer Clayton Hazel, keyboardists Bert Thomas and Dilly George, all hailing from Dominica. Joining them will be Harry Best of St. Lucia and Andrew Charles of Barbados. ‘Koudmen’ is a practice of communal cooperation that is part of Caribbean culture especially following disasters such as hurricanes. People pool their resources and take turns rebuilding and repairing individual damaged properties and other belongings. Attendees can expect to be moved and delighted by the group’s renditions of infectious ‘Zouk’ music that is indigenous to the French Kweyol speaking islands such as Dominica, St. Lucia, Martinique, Haiti, Guadeloupe, St. Martin and Cayenne. The evening will open with a set from a collective of Bay Area Caribbean steeldrum pan players including Sharon Mapp, Paul Snagg, Peter Best, Olison Baptiste and others. Come dance and support the people of Dominica, and especially the local artists who have been devastated by hurricane Maria.

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A native of the Caribbean island nation St. Lucia, Harry Best has been one of the Bay Area stars of steel pan music since moving to El Sobrante, where in recent years he has taught music and led his band Shabang. Best is also a seasoned songwriter whose music has had more notoriety than his steel drum band. He has written hit songs for artists such as the late Caribbean international superstar Arrow. His lyrics are arresting, his melodies sweet, and the rhythms infectious. But ask Harry and he’ll tell you that the real secret to Shabang’s charm is their fun-loving approach to their performances.

 

 

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Midnite Ramblers
Jan
16
7:30 PM19:30

Midnite Ramblers

Doors at 7:30 pm; Dance Lesson with Cheryl McBride at 8:00 pm
Show at 8:30 pm

Tickets are $15

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Back in 2009 two of the Bay Area’s top traditional musicians teamed up to form the Midnite Ramblers, playing roots music steeped in authentic Cajun and Creole traditions. They deliver irresistibly danceable Cajun classics. An early year of intense musical experiences in Louisiana made the Ramblers’ sound even more authentic to the Cajun tradition. Singer and fiddler Agi Ban is a founder of the Aux Cajunals as well as the Midnite Ramblers. Accordion player and fiddler Mark Marcin is a former teacher at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, where his love of Cajun, Creole, and zydeco music led to learning accordion from Ray Abshire, Jimmy Breaux, and others. He studied fiddle with Suzy Thompson and Cedric Watson. The Ramblers are rounded out by guitarist-singer Alan Senauke (a veteran of countless roots bands including California Cajun Orchestra, he’s also a Zen priest) and bassist-singer Allegra Thompson, best-known as a member of the honky-tonk trio the Drifter Sisters (and as the daughter of Cajun stars Eric and Suzy Thompson). As Marcin proclaims, “Bring your dancing shoes and join the Midnite Ramblers for a night of lively two-steps, soulful blues and haunting waltzes!”

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Stu Allen & Mars Hotel
Jan
17
8:00 PM20:00

Stu Allen & Mars Hotel

Doors at 7:30 pm; Show at 8 pm

Tickets are $15

stu1.jpg

A tradition started back in the 20th century, Ashkenaz’s Grateful Dead Night is always evolving, reaching new heights since Stu Allen & Mars Hotel launched a weekly residency in late 2011. Led by acclaimed guitarist-singer Allen (of Phil Lesh & Friends, Melvin Seals & JGB, Ghosts of Electricity), a revolving cast of incredibly talented musicians inhabits Mars Hotel, drawing from the Grateful Dead’s vast catalog to delight Deadheads and dancers of all generations. A Mars Hotel show is always an energetic evening of good vibes, good music, and good community.

When it became apparent that Jerry Garcia had played his final show in 1995, Stu Allen began working to keep Garcia’s music, sound, and spirit alive in the concert setting. He regularly works with Phil Lesh and has also played sets with Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann. Allen is perhaps most known for fronting Melvin Seals’ tribute to the Jerry Garcia Band from 2004 to 2011. He received more national acclaim in 2010 when he toured with Dark Star Orchestra. Allen shares the Grateful Dead’s commitment to making each performance a unique event, from preparation to execution. He will perform multiple shows before playing the same song twice, and even then, that song will not be realized in quite the same way.

Mars Hotel takes this idea a step further by presenting a new band at each performance. Drawing from the rich music scene of the Bay Area, Allen has assembled a broad and ever-rotating group of musicians that makes each concert a once-only experience. As far as Grateful Dead tribute bands go, this is a concept that has never been done before.

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Monthly Cajun/Creole Jam: January Hosts Blair Kilpatrick and Steve Tabak
Jan
21
3:00 PM15:00

Monthly Cajun/Creole Jam: January Hosts Blair Kilpatrick and Steve Tabak

Doors at 3:00 pm / Jam at 3:30 pm

Tickets are $5

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Blair Kilpatrick, a psychologist, and Steve Tabak, a teacher, are part of the new wave of non-Creoles playing Louisiana French music in the Bay Area. The couple discovered the music during a trip to New Orleans, which triggered a chain of events that landed them in Northern California. Kilpatrick studied under Creole accordionist Danny Poullard, who hosted regular jam sessions in his garage. She chronicled her journey in the book Accordion Dreams. She and Tabak (who plays fiddle) founded the band Sauce Piquante and try to carry on Poullard’s legacy by hosting jam sessions in their Berkeley home.

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Tom Rigney & Flambeau w/ Special Guest Michael Doucet plus Dance Lesson with Kevin and Ann Hutchinson
Jan
23
8:00 PM20:00

Tom Rigney & Flambeau w/ Special Guest Michael Doucet plus Dance Lesson with Kevin and Ann Hutchinson

Doors at 7:30 pm; Dance Lesson at 8:00 pm
Show at 8:30 pm

Tickets are $17 Advance / $20 at the Door

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He may have been crowned Emperor of the 2011 Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, but violinist-fiddler-composer and singer Tom Rigney and his band Flambeau have always been royalty at Ashkenaz. When not globetrotting – last year they covered ground from Alaska to Alviso Slough to a Caribbean New Year’s cruise – they hold court here almost monthly, playing Rigney’s own tunes and their usual high-energy mix of Louisiana Cajun, zydeco, New Orleans R&B, and down-home blues favorites. Some songs are pulled from the recent CD/DVD recorded at the Harris Center for the Arts in Folsom, “Swamp Fever – Live at Three Stages,” whose video was part of the 2015 PBS series “Music Gone Public.” Featured songs range from “Iko Iko” to “Orange Blossom Special” and “C’est la Vie.” 

What sets Rigney and Flambeau apart is Rigney’s fresh musical takes on Cajun and zydeco, and other styles he loves to play from rock to classical, creating a celebration of life through dance rhythms. Flambeau is a tight ensemble of virtuoso musicians, with guitarist Danny Caron (Charles Brown’s bandleader; he and Rigney met when both backed up Rockin’ Sidney in the ’80s), boogie-woogie keyboardist Caroline Dahl, bassist and singer Steve Parks, and drummer Brent Rampone.

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Following a family tradition, Michael Doucet played music from his earliest years, mastering banjo at the age of five and guitar at eight. Like others of the era he was influenced by rock music, although Cajun music was ever-present. Doucet played in folk rock bands with his cousin, Zachary Richard, at the age of 12, then joined a Cajun rock group. In 1974, he and Richard visited France and after his return to the USA he learned violin, which quickly became his principal instrument. He also still plays guitar as well as mandolin and accordion, and he also sings. 

Deeply influenced by older musicians, such as Amédé Ardoin and especially Dennis McGee who became a friend, Doucet and a group of like-minded friends formed a band in 1975, naming it Coteau. He also formed BeauSoleil with Kenneth Richard and Sterling Richard in 1977. With BeauSoleil, Doucet blended elements of traditional Cajun music with zydeco, adding hints of jazz, blues and country. In 2005, Doucet and BeauSoleil received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts, and in 2007 were awarded a United States Artists Grant. The band has been nominated many times for a Grammy award and won for Best Traditional Folk Album with 1997’s L’Amour Ou La Folie. Among many pieces Doucet has composed for his band are ‘Chanson D’Acadie’, ‘Bunk’s Blues’, ‘Conja’, ‘Newz Reel’, ‘Quelle Belle Vie’, ‘L’Ouragon’ and ‘Freeman’s Zydeco’, the latter in collaboration with Freeman Fontenot. 

Doucet has performed frequently in concert and on record in a trio, the Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band, with Marc Savoy and Ann Savoy. He has also worked with Bruce Molsky, Darol Anger and Rushad Eggleston as Fiddlers 4, and recorded several solo albums. Since 1977, Doucet has been involved in education and has been adjunct professor at the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette.

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Stu Allen & Mars Hotel
Jan
24
8:00 PM20:00

Stu Allen & Mars Hotel

Doors at 7:30 pm; Show at 8 pm

Tickets are $15

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A tradition started back in the 20th century, Ashkenaz’s Grateful Dead Night is always evolving, reaching new heights since Stu Allen & Mars Hotel launched a weekly residency in late 2011. Led by acclaimed guitarist-singer Allen (of Phil Lesh & Friends, Melvin Seals & JGB, Ghosts of Electricity), a revolving cast of incredibly talented musicians inhabits Mars Hotel, drawing from the Grateful Dead’s vast catalog to delight Deadheads and dancers of all generations. A Mars Hotel show is always an energetic evening of good vibes, good music, and good community.

When it became apparent that Jerry Garcia had played his final show in 1995, Stu Allen began working to keep Garcia’s music, sound, and spirit alive in the concert setting. He regularly works with Phil Lesh and has also played sets with Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann. Allen is perhaps most known for fronting Melvin Seals’ tribute to the Jerry Garcia Band from 2004 to 2011. He received more national acclaim in 2010 when he toured with Dark Star Orchestra. Allen shares the Grateful Dead’s commitment to making each performance a unique event, from preparation to execution. He will perform multiple shows before playing the same song twice, and even then, that song will not be realized in quite the same way.

Mars Hotel takes this idea a step further by presenting a new band at each performance. Drawing from the rich music scene of the Bay Area, Allen has assembled a broad and ever-rotating group of musicians that makes each concert a once-only experience. As far as Grateful Dead tribute bands go, this is a concept that has never been done before.

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ILRC Benefit with Kathy Kallick, Town Howlers
Jan
27
7:00 PM19:00

ILRC Benefit with Kathy Kallick, Town Howlers

Doors at 6:30 pm ; Show at 7:00 pm

Tickets are $10-20 Sliding Scale

We are pleased to announce the annual Pickin' on Hate Benefit. All proceeds will be donated to The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC)!!! This will be a wonderful evening of bluegrass music from.... Kathy Kallick & Friends, The Nell Robinson & Jim Nunally Band, The Town Howlers, and Loud Ladies Foot Patrol

Chuck Poling, the emcee from Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, will be emceeing this year!

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The Kathy Kallick Band is based along the west coast — Kathy and Tom are from the San Francisco Bay Area, Annie’s from Portland, Cary from Seattle, and Greg from Anchorage — but their powerful mixture of original and classic material, mirroring their distinctive combination of traditional and contemporary sensibilities, has great appeal everywhere. 

There is a tendency to think of West Coast bluegrass as being softer, jazzier, and somehow “other” than traditional. This can be the case, but there is also a school of bluegrass in Northern California which has, from the beginning, been steeped in Monroe-based tradition — as well as welcoming to women and original songs. 

Kathy Kallick has been leading bands in this traditional brand of West Coast bluegrass for many years, and continues to evolve as one of the music’s extraordinary composers and vocalists. Foxhounds is her 20th album, recordings which include nearly 150 of her original songs. 

Foxhounds is also the fifth album for the Kathy Kallick Band. Each of their four previous releases has spent a year in the upper echelon of the national bluegrass charts, and Foxhounds promises to be no exception. The material is compelling and varied, the instrumental playing is dazzling and inventive, the vocals luminous and extraordinary. And they’re truly a band, listening to and sparked by each other, contributing to the songs and the sound as a whole. Just like a KKB show!

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Following decades of success in their respective careers, Northern California musicians Nell Robinson & Jim Nunally Band are touring this year with a brand new album, BABY LETS TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME. Look for them this year at the Freshgrass Festival and the Vancouver Folk Festival. 

The new video for the album’s title track is now available on No Depression (click here to view) and Paste (click here to view). It co-stars a gorgeous 1960 Chevy Impala. Nunally and Robinson co-wrote the song driving home from a show in Los Angeles. 

Nunally, a Grammy and IBMA Award recipient, and Western Open flatpicking champion, tells No Depression, “We were driving home from L.A. on our tour, talking about getting off the main road and taking the long way. Then we actually did it! It made the trip so much more interesting and enjoyable, not taking the same route everyone else takes.” 

Robinson, hot off a tour for her PBS show/album Rose of No Man’s Land, produced by Joe Henry and featuring Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, John Doe, and author Maxine Hong Kingston adds, “It’s about being in a different time in your life too. So, the idea of turning off the phone, not using the GPS, and maybe even getting lost – wouldn’t that be fun?” 

Friends since 2009, Robinson and Nunally teamed up for a number of projects before falling in love. For Baby Lets Take the Long Way Home, they rustled up what became their dream team: , bass fiddle player Jim Kerwin (David Grisman, Jerry Garcia), and percussionist Jon Arkin (Lee Konitz, Gene Perla). 

Nell Robinson and Jim Nunally have appeared at the Kennedy Center, Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, PBS series Music Gone Public, Kate Wolf Music Festival and Strawberry Music Festival.

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The Town Howlers play traditional bluegrass music and are influenced by the great singers and pickers from the golden era of bluegrass, such as Bill Monroe, The Stanley Brothers, Vern Williams, and Jimmy Martin. With flashy picking, tight harmony singing, and original as well as traditional songs, the Town Howlers show a deference to traditional bluegrass while also adding their own style and sound.

 

 

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Artists 4 Humanity
Jan
28
3:00 PM15:00

Artists 4 Humanity

Doors at 2:30 pm; Show at 3:00 pm

Tickets ar $10

This fundraiser is raising money for CIVIC: CIVIC is devoted to abolishing U.S. immigration detention, while ending the isolation of people currently suffering in this profit-driven system. CIVIC volunteers visit and monitor 43 facilities and run the largest national hotline for detained immigrants. Through these windows into the system, they gather data and stories to combat injustice at the individual level and push systemic change. With no legally protected right to visitation, no court-appointed attorney and no free phone call, people at the West County ICE facility are vulnerable to abuse. Most recently CIVIC published a complaint letter signed by 27 inmates detained at the West County Detention Center in Richmond. Through CIVIC's advocacy work, officials at both the State and National level are calling on a full investigation on the treatment of detainees in at West County Jail. People in detention and their families face massive financial hurdles during their ordeals. Price gouging within the facilities of simple necessities–phone calls, stamps, and commissary food to supplement their inadequate meals–are all part of the inhumane practice of immigration detention. Additionally, without their wage earner, families struggle to put food on the table or pay basic bills or transportation fees to visit loved ones in often rural detention centers. Artists for Humanity Benefit will raise funds to reunite mothers, fathers, sons and daughters through a revolving bail fund. For more information, visit: http://www.endisolation.org/directsupport

The event will start at 3:00 with a blessing ceremony by Calpulli Huey Papalotl Cultural Group. Below is a description of the ceremony. Danza Mexica is a vibrant meditation in movement where the dancers connect to the Cosmos and to their Indigenous Ancestors through the movements of their bodies, following the heart beat of the Huehuetl, the Ancient drum. The Energies of the Cosmos are honored through the playing of the seashell and through the offering of the Sacred Copalli -incense- which allows us to communicate with other realms. This type of Ceremonies have been offered for thousands of years, before Europeans came to this Sacred Anahuacan (Indigenous) Land; it is what we Anahuacan people do: honor the land, honor the Four Directions, honor all fellow human beings, honor all live beings. Calpulli Huey Papalotl, a Danza Mexica and cultural circle located in Berkeley, will be offering danza and songs to honor the fight for justice for all immigrants.

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12 musicians gathered to play a cathartic adventure and exploration into dance, rhythm and expression that cultivates love, joy, and community with simple meaningful chants and melodic phrases that invite listeners to join in and sing and dance along with the band.

 

 

 

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Humanistic is a diverse souful jazz band with a flare for funk.

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Balkan Dance Cabal with Zabava, plus Dance lesson with Nadav Nur
Jan
28
7:30 PM19:30

Balkan Dance Cabal with Zabava, plus Dance lesson with Nadav Nur

Doors at 7:00 pm; Dance lesson with Nadav Nur at 7:30 pm
Show at 8:00 pm

Tickets are $12

 

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Zabava!, whose name means “party,” plays energetic, soulful, and rhythmically dazzling music, from the center of the dance floor, in the Bulgarian, Greek, Macedonian, and Romani traditions. This group of fine musicians recreates the vibrant interplay of traditional music and dance from these cultural crossroads. Zabava! features Corinne Sykes (vocals, tambura, tupan, darabuka), Michele Simon (vocals, tupan, hand drum), Bill Cope (gajda, bouzouki, tambura, accordion, vocals), Rich Schultz (kaval), and Tom Farris (tambura, guitar, hand drum).

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Sauce Piquante plus Dance Lesson with Kevin and Ann Hutchinson
Jan
30
8:00 PM20:00

Sauce Piquante plus Dance Lesson with Kevin and Ann Hutchinson

Doors at 7:30 pm; Dance Lesson at 8:00 pm
Show at 8:30

Tickets are $15

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Sauce Piquante has been playing for Bay Area dancers since 1999, when accordionist Blair Kilpatrick started the band. The group’s high-energy dance tunes and French vocals are rooted in two musical traditions: Cajun and old-time Creole, or, as some call it, early zydeco. Sauce Piquante captures the authentic sound of southern Louisiana’s dance halls, house parties, and church dances while appealing to a contemporary audience. Along with Kilpatrick on accordion and vocals, the band includes fiddler Steve Tabak, guitarist-singer Jim Ruth, bassist-singer Kathy “KP” Price, and David Hymowitz on drums. Sauce Piquante was inspired by the late Danny Poullard, the Bay Area accordionist who suggested the group’s name. During more than two decades of Louisiana travels and music camp attendance, band members have been influenced by many other gifted musicians. They have learned from Creole masters (Bois Sec Ardoin, Delton Broussard, Canray Fontenot, Edward Poullard) and legendary Cajun accordionists (Steve Riley, Jesse Lége, Eddie LeJeune, Sheryl Cormier). The band’s debut recording “Sauce Piquante Live” got a thumbs-up in a Dirty Linen magazine review. Kilpatrick is also the author of “Accordion Dreams” (University Press of Mississippi, 2009), which documents her musical journey. She and her husband Tabak were among the musicians profiled in “Zydeco Nation,” a recent public radio documentary about the Louisiana Creole migration to Northern California.

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Stu Allen & Mars Hotel
Jan
31
8:00 PM20:00

Stu Allen & Mars Hotel

Doors at 7:30 pm; Show at 8 pm

Tickets are $15

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A tradition started back in the 20th century, Ashkenaz’s Grateful Dead Night is always evolving, reaching new heights since Stu Allen & Mars Hotel launched a weekly residency in late 2011. Led by acclaimed guitarist-singer Allen (of Phil Lesh & Friends, Melvin Seals & JGB, Ghosts of Electricity), a revolving cast of incredibly talented musicians inhabits Mars Hotel, drawing from the Grateful Dead’s vast catalog to delight Deadheads and dancers of all generations. A Mars Hotel show is always an energetic evening of good vibes, good music, and good community.

When it became apparent that Jerry Garcia had played his final show in 1995, Stu Allen began working to keep Garcia’s music, sound, and spirit alive in the concert setting. He regularly works with Phil Lesh and has also played sets with Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann. Allen is perhaps most known for fronting Melvin Seals’ tribute to the Jerry Garcia Band from 2004 to 2011. He received more national acclaim in 2010 when he toured with Dark Star Orchestra. Allen shares the Grateful Dead’s commitment to making each performance a unique event, from preparation to execution. He will perform multiple shows before playing the same song twice, and even then, that song will not be realized in quite the same way.

Mars Hotel takes this idea a step further by presenting a new band at each performance. Drawing from the rich music scene of the Bay Area, Allen has assembled a broad and ever-rotating group of musicians that makes each concert a once-only experience. As far as Grateful Dead tribute bands go, this is a concept that has never been done before.

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Bachata Nightz
Feb
1
8:00 PM20:00

Bachata Nightz

Doors at 8 pm; Dance Lesson at 8:30 pm with Kathy Reyes; Performance at 9:30 pm

Tickets are $10 / $8 Students

Bachata Nightz happens the first Thursday of the month. It is led by award-winning Bachata contest master Kathy Reyes, who also teaches dance at Ashkenaz. Bachata is a form of Latin dance/music that originated in the Dominican Republic. It is now danced all over the world. Reyes teaches the dance lesson at 8:30 p.m., followed by performance and dancing to recorded music spun by DJ MIGZ. 

Currently the defending Los Angeles Bachata Champion (winning first place at the L.A. Bachata Festival), Kathy Reyes is known for her unique style and interpretation of music. She discovered her talent and passion for Latin dancing in college in Los Angeles, and over the past 10 years has taken various prizes individually and in dance troupes. She leads groups and teaches here, in Los Angeles and San Diego. Teaching allows her to share her philosophy of dance: “Dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart takes one to a whole different level.”

Hello, World!

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Taraf De Akacfa
Feb
2
8:30 PM20:30

Taraf De Akacfa

Doors at 7:30 pm; Show at 8:00 pm

Tickets are $18 Advance / $20 at the Door

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Taraf de Akácfa is an international 6 piece ensemble based out of Budapest, Hungary performing Balkan and Eastern European folk music. The band was formed 5 years ago by travelling street musicians who met in Budapest, and decided to stay there for their common passion and appreciation for this tradition of music. Over the years members of the band have had the opportunity to study and perform with world renown folk musicians such as Taraf de Haidouks, Tcha Limberger, and Mercel Ramba. They mix their knowledge of different musical backgrounds to blend traditional styles with new ideas and arrangements. Their repertoire ranges from danceable Macedonian Coceks; and complex odd time Bulgarian melodies; to Romanian Gypsy Horas and heart wrenching Transylvanian songs. Taraf de Akácfa has performed at weddings, festivals, dance halls and concerts throughout the US and Europe. They successfully toured the USA in March 2016 and released their first full length album recorded in Budapest, Hungary in October 2016. They will tour through California for 3 weeks beginning in January 2018.

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Zydeco Flames plus Dance Lesson with Cheryl McBride
Feb
3
9:00 PM21:00

Zydeco Flames plus Dance Lesson with Cheryl McBride

Doors at 7:30 pm; Dance Lesson at 8:00 pm
Show at 9:00 pm

Tickets are $15 Advance / $18 at the Door

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The Zydeco Flames have gained a reputation as the West Coast's premiere Zydeco band. The Flames consistently pack the house in venues ranging from contemporary clubs to major festivals and traditional dancehalls. Their sizzling roots rhythms are timeless and the execution of them relentless, with a stunningly powerful groove. The Flames' sixth CD release "Fire It Up", provides fans with hot Zydeco in the tradition of masters like Clifton Chenier, Buckwheat Zydeco and Queen Ida.

 

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Les Amis Zydeco plus Dance Lesson
Feb
6
8:00 PM20:00

Les Amis Zydeco plus Dance Lesson

Doors at 7:30 pm; Dance Lesson at 8:00 pm
Show at 8:30 pm

Tickets are $15

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From festivals to farmers’ markets, Les Amis Zydeco turns every event into a dance party. Its members are all longtime veterans of Cajun and zydeco bands. Les Amis Zydeco has its roots in the swamps of Deep South Louisiana as well as the Bay Area Cajun/zydeco dance scene. Formed in 2009 and based in the East Bay, Les Amis Zydeco strives for an authentic sound whether it is playing Cajun, Creole, or zydeco. Some band members are longtime Cajun/zydeco dancers, and they draw on their ingrained knowledge of what makes for an enjoyable dance evening. Les Amis Zydeco is Dwight Shackelford (accordions, fiddle, washboard, and vocals), Nazar Eljumaily (electric and acoustic guitars), Linda Hutchinson (bass), and Sam Siggins (drums). They draw mostly from traditional roots music and some modern artists from Clifton Chenier and Danny Poullard to the Pine Leaf Boys and Rockin’ Dopsie, as well as original songs rooted in traditional sounds.

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Balkan Folk Dance
Feb
7
7:00 PM19:00

Balkan Folk Dance

Doors at 6:30 pm; Show at 7:00 pm

Tickets are $7

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This monthly event is a revival of ’70s-style Berkeley folkdancing with some international request dancing to recorded music, capturing the spirit that David Nadel was inspired by when he opened Ashkenaz in 1973 with Balkan folkdancing. One does not need a live band to experience the communal pleasure of dancing together, and the dance lessons help newcomers join in the experience

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Rhonda Benin + MJ's Brass Boppers
Feb
16
8:00 PM20:00

Rhonda Benin + MJ's Brass Boppers

Doors at 7:30 pm; Show at 8:00 pm

Tickets are $18 Advance / $20 at the Door

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MJ’s Brass Boppers Brass Band is an authentic New Orleans singing and swinging brass band fusing traditional NOLA standards, funk, jazz, modern pop & more with a second line twist!

 

 

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San Francisco Bay Area vocalist, Rhonda Benin has earned a reputation for not just a good voice but showmanship, magnetic stage personality, humor, and of course her great dancing. Rhonda’s impressive resume includes performances at SF Jazz, Yoshi’s, MOAD, The Healdsburg, Sonoma, Burlingame, Sausalito, Filmore, and Calistoga Jazz Festivals. In the summer of 2012 Rhonda traveled to Hangzhou, China for a 3 month engagement at the JZ Jazz Club and was 2014 USA headliner for The Kigali Up Music Festival in Kigali, Rwanda. In addition to singing, Rhonda is producer and founder of the annual Women’s History Month show “Just Like A Woman” a tribute to Bay Area Women In Music. Benin is a 26 year member of The GRAMMY nominated vocal ensemble Linda Tillery and The Cultural Heritage. She appears on the CHC’s 7 Cd’s and has toured 30 countries performing and recording with legendary artists such as Taj Mahal, Wilson Pickett, Richie Havens, Odetta. Al Green, Keb Mo, Santana, Patti Austin, Janis Ian, Jackson Brown, Hugh Masekela & Sweet Honey In The Rock. 

In 2006 Rhonda produced her first solo CD, A Matter of the Heart a classic mix of jazz, blues, and soul and is currently working on her 2nd CD. 

Rhonda is on the teaching staff of Healdsburg Jazz ‘s Operation Jazz Band, San Francisco Arts Project, LEAP, California Conservatory of Music, Cal Performances and conducts her own school assemblies and workshops, “The Voice, The Hands The Feet” “Twist and Shout” and “Love Letters Make Me Misty Blue”.

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Stu Allen & Mars Hotel
Dec
16
9:00 PM21:00

Stu Allen & Mars Hotel

Doors at 8:30 pm; Show at 9 pm

Eventbrite - Stu Allen & Mars Hotel

Tickets are $20 Day of Show / $18 Advance / $18 Students

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A tradition started back in the 20th century, Ashkenaz’s Grateful Dead Night is always evolving, reaching new heights since Stu Allen & Mars Hotel launched a weekly residency in late 2011. Led by acclaimed guitarist-singer Allen (of Phil Lesh & Friends, Melvin Seals & JGB, Ghosts of Electricity), a revolving cast of incredibly talented musicians inhabits Mars Hotel, drawing from the Grateful Dead’s vast catalog to delight Deadheads and dancers of all generations. A Mars Hotel show is always an energetic evening of good vibes, good music, and good community.

When it became apparent that Jerry Garcia had played his final show in 1995, Stu Allen began working to keep Garcia’s music, sound, and spirit alive in the concert setting. He regularly works with Phil Lesh and has also played sets with Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann. Allen is perhaps most known for fronting Melvin Seals’ tribute to the Jerry Garcia Band from 2004 to 2011. He received more national acclaim in 2010 when he toured with Dark Star Orchestra. Allen shares the Grateful Dead’s commitment to making each performance a unique event, from preparation to execution. He will perform multiple shows before playing the same song twice, and even then, that song will not be realized in quite the same way.

Mars Hotel takes this idea a step further by presenting a new band at each performance. Drawing from the rich music scene of the Bay Area, Allen has assembled a broad and ever-rotating group of musicians that makes each concert a once-only experience. As far as Grateful Dead tribute bands go, this is a concept that has never been done before.

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Yassir & the Moroccans
Dec
15
7:30 PM19:30

Yassir & the Moroccans

Eventbrite - Yassir & the Moroccans

Doors at 7:30 pm; Show at 8:00 pm
$13 Advance/$15 Day of show

Yassir & the Moroccans bring a wide-ranging vision of North African concert and dance music. Born in Casablanca, Yassir Chadly has performed with his own bands and with a world of other artists on the Ashkenaz stage over the past three deacdes. One of the most revered world artists, Chadly has collaborated and recorded with a who’s who of greats, including Pharoah Sanders, Philip Glass, Omar Sosa, Stephen Kent, Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet Company, Steve Coleman, Taj Mahal, and flamenco musicians and dancers. He co-led the jazz-Moroccan Mo’Rockin Band with the late trumpeter Khalil Shaheed. A master of many Moroccan instruments, in this concert Chadly will use a few, likely the oud, gimbri, karkabas, and bendeer, as featured on his most recent recording, “Asheeq Zeen.” In addition to music, Chadly is a Sufi storyteller, an imam of the Oakland mosque Masjid Al Iman, and an associate professor at the Graduate Theological Union.

Website

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Stu Allen & Mars Hotel
Dec
13
8:00 PM20:00

Stu Allen & Mars Hotel

Doors at 7:30 pm; Show at 8 pm

Eventbrite - Stu Allen & Mars Hotel

Tickets are $15

stu1.jpg

A tradition started back in the 20th century, Ashkenaz’s Grateful Dead Night is always evolving, reaching new heights since Stu Allen & Mars Hotel launched a weekly residency in late 2011. Led by acclaimed guitarist-singer Allen (of Phil Lesh & Friends, Melvin Seals & JGB, Ghosts of Electricity), a revolving cast of incredibly talented musicians inhabits Mars Hotel, drawing from the Grateful Dead’s vast catalog to delight Deadheads and dancers of all generations. A Mars Hotel show is always an energetic evening of good vibes, good music, and good community.

When it became apparent that Jerry Garcia had played his final show in 1995, Stu Allen began working to keep Garcia’s music, sound, and spirit alive in the concert setting. He regularly works with Phil Lesh and has also played sets with Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann. Allen is perhaps most known for fronting Melvin Seals’ tribute to the Jerry Garcia Band from 2004 to 2011. He received more national acclaim in 2010 when he toured with Dark Star Orchestra. Allen shares the Grateful Dead’s commitment to making each performance a unique event, from preparation to execution. He will perform multiple shows before playing the same song twice, and even then, that song will not be realized in quite the same way.

Mars Hotel takes this idea a step further by presenting a new band at each performance. Drawing from the rich music scene of the Bay Area, Allen has assembled a broad and ever-rotating group of musicians that makes each concert a once-only experience. As far as Grateful Dead tribute bands go, this is a concept that has never been done before.

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Tango Revelation Milonga with Redwood Tango Sextet
Dec
10
8:00 PM20:00

Tango Revelation Milonga with Redwood Tango Sextet

Doors at 7:30 pm; Dance Lesson with Sonja Riket at 8pm; Live Music at 9:30 pm

General Admission: $17 Advance / $20 at the door

Students/Seniors: $13 advance/$15 at the door

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Please join us to celebrate the International Day of Tango and Carlos Gardel’s Birthday (12/11)! with the traditional Tango live music of Redwood Tango Sextet and DJ Rene Quebec.
 

Tango Revelation Milonga is a social Argentine Tango dance gathering on the second Sunday of every other month (with some exceptions). It is led by award-winning Tango teacher Sonja Riket, who teaches at Ashkenaz since 2008. This Milonga series includes a dance class, dance performances and live music by local and international Tango guest artists. Argentine Tango was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay in the late 1880’s as a dance and music of immigrants. Grown into a worldwide phenomenon, it continues to cross the boundaries of race, culture, language and social status. It encourages the spontaneous inclusion of music and dance in our everyday life as a communal experience.

In 2017, this event evolves out of the “Tango Revolution” Milonga, which began in 2005 at Café Revolution in SF’s Mission District , then found a home at Café Trieste Downtown SF from 2007-2012 (with the Tango Revolution Orchestra) and at Berkeley’s Café Mediterraneum from 2012-2016. With a slight change of name to “Tango Revelation”, we continue to envision Argentine Tango as a relational matrix of connection to ourselves, each other and our world.

We offer the beautiful connection between human beings in the Tango Embrace as a common language and antidote against the isolation, separation and fearful existence we are led to believe is necessary. To complement our screen-oriented lives, we need to slow down, rediscover the joy of body-based expressions and create live gathering places among ourselves in a spirit of harmony and well-being! What better way to come home to ourselves and connect with each other across our differences than the non-verbal power of a music and dance embrace, listening and moving together as one? Come find out what Tango can reveal to you!

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Soul Sanctuary Dance
Dec
10
11:00 AM11:00

Soul Sanctuary Dance

Family-friendly Freestyle Community Dance. Come dance freely every Sunday morning at Soul Sanctuary Dance. No admission fee / 100% volunteer produced.

Soul Sanctuary Dance is a welcoming and inclusive all-ages community freestyle/ecstatic/shoes optional dance that supports free expression, community, physical and emotional health, and a spirit of generosity. We dance to an irresistible eclectic blend of world music, funk, house, soul, electro swing, positive hip hop, reggae, dance classics, jazz, blues, electronica, and other music to free mind, body and soul.

Organic fruit for all after the dance.
The dance is completely organized and run by volunteers.
Wheelchair accessible. No scented products please. Shoes optional.

The dance is a generosity and donation-based event. We don't charge a fee for admission. Instead, we post this message at the welcome table: "Your dance today at Soul Sanctuary Dance is a gift from those who have made donations to the dance, and from the volunteers who organize and produce the dance. We invite you to pay this generosity forward for future dancers, in whatever amount or manner you choose, so that we can continue to keep this chain of gifts alive."

     

     

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    Bandworks Award Show
    Dec
    9
    7:00 PM19:00

    Bandworks Award Show

    Doors at 6:30 pm; Show at 7:00 pm

    Tickets are $10

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    Since 1993, Berkeley-based BandWorks has helped several thousand youngsters fulfill their dream of playing in a rock band. BandWorks helps organize students into bands, provides coaching with some of the best musician-instructors in the Bay Area, and after 8 weeks rehearsing their favorite rock, pop, blues, reggae and original songs, takes the bands to the stage at Ashkenaz to perform live in front of an audience. In addition, BandWorks offers year-round classes for kids, teens, and adults, as well as summer camps for kids and teens at locations around the Bay Area.

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    Stu Allen & Mars Hotel
    Dec
    8
    9:00 PM21:00

    Stu Allen & Mars Hotel

    Doors at 8:30 pm; Show at 9 pm

    Eventbrite - Stu Allen & Mars Hotel

    Tickets $20 Day of / $18 Advance / 
    $18 Students

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    A tradition started back in the 20th century, Ashkenaz’s Grateful Dead Night is always evolving, reaching new heights since Stu Allen & Mars Hotel launched a weekly residency in late 2011. Led by acclaimed guitarist-singer Allen (of Phil Lesh & Friends, Melvin Seals & JGB, Ghosts of Electricity), a revolving cast of incredibly talented musicians inhabits Mars Hotel, drawing from the Grateful Dead’s vast catalog to delight Deadheads and dancers of all generations. A Mars Hotel show is always an energetic evening of good vibes, good music, and good community. 

    When it became apparent that Jerry Garcia had played his final show in 1995, Stu Allen began working to keep Garcia’s music, sound, and spirit alive in the concert setting. He regularly works with Phil Lesh and has also played sets with Bob Weir and Bill Kreutzmann. Allen is perhaps most known for fronting Melvin Seals’ tribute to the Jerry Garcia Band from 2004 to 2011. He received more national acclaim in 2010 when he toured with Dark Star Orchestra. Allen shares the Grateful Dead’s commitment to making each performance a unique event, from preparation to execution. He will perform multiple shows before playing the same song twice, and even then, that song will not be realized in quite the same way. 

    Mars Hotel takes this idea a step further by presenting a new band at each performance. Drawing from the rich music scene of the Bay Area, Allen has assembled a broad and ever-rotating group of musicians that makes each concert a once-only experience. As far as Grateful Dead tribute bands go, this is a concept that has never been done before.

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     Bachata Nightz - Berkeley Edition
    Dec
    7
    8:30 PM20:30

    Bachata Nightz - Berkeley Edition

    Doors at 8 pm; Dance Lesson at 8:30 pm with Kathy Reyes; Performance at 9:30 pm

    Eventbrite -  Bachata Nightz - Berkeley Edition

    Tickets are $10 / $8 Students

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    Bachata Nightz happens the first Thursday of the month. It is led by award-winning Bachata contest master Kathy Reyes, who also teaches dance at Ashkenaz. Bachata is a form of Latin dance/music that originated in the Dominican Republic. It is now danced all over the world. Reyes teaches the dance lesson at 8:30 p.m., followed by performance and dancing to recorded music spun by DJ MIGZ. 

    Currently the defending Los Angeles Bachata Champion (winning first place at the L.A. Bachata Festival), Kathy Reyes is known for her unique style and interpretation of music. She discovered her talent and passion for Latin dancing in college in Los Angeles, and over the past 10 years has taken various prizes individually and in dance troupes. She leads groups and teaches here, in Los Angeles and San Diego. Teaching allows her to share her philosophy of dance: “Dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart takes one to a whole different level.”

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    Mitch Polzak & the Royal Deuces
    Dec
    5
    10:00 AM10:00

    Mitch Polzak & the Royal Deuces

    Doors at 7:30 pm; Cajun/Zydeco Dance Lesson with Cheryl McBride at 8 pm;
    Show at 8:30 pm

    Eventbrite - Mitch Polzak & the Royal Deuces

    Tickets are $12

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    The ace guitarist in an array of hot Bay Area dance bands, Mitch Polzak switches hats and leads his own group, the Royal Deuces, in a honky-tonk/Cajun dance that’s meant to be a nonstop party. Polzak is well-known to Ashkenaz dance regulars for his sizzling guitar playing in the Cajun Cottonpickers, MotorDude Zydeco, and Andrew Carriere’s Zydeco/Cajun Allstars. He launched the Royal Deuces in 1999 to play rockabilly from the late ’50s Sun Records era, Bakersfield honky-tonk and truck-driving music, even guitar instrumentals influenced by such pickers as Joe Maphis, Merle Travis, and Chet Atkins. Polzak says of this show, “There will be plenty of two-steps, shuffles and waltzes for the folks!” 

    Along with Polzak, the Royal Deuces are bassist Vance Ehlers (Junior Watson, Indigo Swing, and Little Charlie and the Night Cats) and drummer Les James. Polzak has worked and/or recorded with such artists as Deke Dickerson, Peter Rowan, Lazy Lester, Chris Sprague, and Johnny Cuviello (Bob Wills’ drummer) and has published articles for Play Guitar magazine. The Royal Deuces have torn it up at big fests across Europe and from Seattle’s Shake the Shack Festival to Las Vegas’ Viva Las Vegas event. There’s a reason that the band’s latest album is titled “Everything You Want and Nothing You Don’t.”

     

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    Soul Sanctuary Dance
    Dec
    3
    11:00 AM11:00

    Soul Sanctuary Dance

    Family-friendly Freestyle Community Dance. Come dance freely every Sunday morning at Soul Sanctuary Dance. No admission fee / 100% volunteer produced.

    Soul Sanctuary Dance is a welcoming and inclusive all-ages community freestyle/ecstatic/shoes optional dance that supports free expression, community, physical and emotional health, and a spirit of generosity. We dance to an irresistible eclectic blend of world music, funk, house, soul, electro swing, positive hip hop, reggae, dance classics, jazz, blues, electronica, and other music to free mind, body and soul.

    Organic fruit for all after the dance.
    The dance is completely organized and run by volunteers.
    Wheelchair accessible. No scented products please. Shoes optional.

    The dance is a generosity and donation-based event. We don't charge a fee for admission. Instead, we post this message at the welcome table: "Your dance today at Soul Sanctuary Dance is a gift from those who have made donations to the dance, and from the volunteers who organize and produce the dance. We invite you to pay this generosity forward for future dancers, in whatever amount or manner you choose, so that we can continue to keep this chain of gifts alive."

       

       

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      Chinyakare and Zulu Spear
      Dec
      2
      9:00 PM21:00

      Chinyakare and Zulu Spear

      Doors at 8:30 pm, Show at 9:00 pm

      Eventbrite - Chinyakare and Zulu Spear

      Tickets are $15 Advance, $20 at the Door

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      Chinyakare uses its colorful performances for “creating community through music and dance.” The ensemble boasts a collection of diverse and experienced musicians from both Africa and the U.S. under the direction of Zimbabwean dancer and musician Julia Tsitsi Chigamba, who started the group when she moved to Oakland in 2001. True to its name, “deep traditional,” Chinyakare represents traditional music and dance from Shona, Ndebele, and other tribal groups from around Zimbabwe. Some of the main instruments the ensemble plays are mbira (thumb piano), hosho (shakers), ngoma (drums), marimbas, and chipendani (mouth bow). Chinyakare’s performances feature the complex weaving of all of these instruments into beautiful melodies and polyrhythms that are still performed regularly at spiritual ceremonies throughout Zimbabwe. 

      In addition to her Oakland classes and workshops, Chigamba has recently started a nonprofit organization, the Kumusha Foundation, to preserve and promote traditional Zimbabwean performing arts in the U.S. She also founded the Chinyakare Cultural Center in Harare, Zimbabwe, a recreated village that is used to teach, present, and preserve Zimbabwean traditional music, dance, and traditional arts, and also develop educational projects for adults and children. Chigamba is the 2016 recipient of the Bay Area Dance Week Dancer’s Choice Award.

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      Award-winning band Zulu Spear’s inspired and uplifting African and World Beat dance music returns to Ashkenaz for two full sets of music, beginning with the group performing mostly traditional South African songs and dances in costume, followed by original Zulu Spear songs and South Africa-world beat music rearranged by the band. 
      Zulu Spear was a pioneer and leader in the Bay Area’s World Beat scene of the ’80s, a movement that quickly spread across the country. The band of African and American musicians combined South African rhythms and songs with American rock and blues, using electric guitars and drums, resulting in South African pop music before Paul Simon’s 1986 “Graceland” album popularized the style. Additionally, members presented traditional South African dancing along with the music. The group was created by the late South African expatriate singer-composer-dancer Sechaba Mokeoena and Soweto-born singer Gideon Bendile. In the U.S. Mokeoena started U-Zulu Dance Theater and, after moving to the Bay Area, he and Bendile formed Zulu Spear to play traditional South African mbaqanga rhythms and harmonies using modern and electric instruments. The band quickly became a Bay Area audience favorite and issued a debut album on conglomerate Capitol Records. Bendile went on to work with such stars as Hugh Masekela, Paul Simon, and Peter Gabriel. 
      The band reunited a few years ago when Bendile, who was featured in the Walt Disney animated film “The Lion King,” issued a new CD, “Come Over to Our House,” that included tracks from the original band’s unreleased Capitol sessions as well as new music. Featuring most of the original band lineup along with a couple of “new” recruits, the current Zulu Spear is singer-dancers Bendile and Morgan Nhlapo, guitarists Ron van Leeuwaarde and Matthew Lacques, drummer Jerome Leonard, bassist Patrick Owens, keyboardist Jennifer Jolly, percussionist Pope Flyne, and the horns: trumpeter Scott “Sven” Vento and saxophonist/keyboardist Zack Pitt-Smith.

       

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      Tito y Su Son de Cuba
      Dec
      1
      9:00 PM21:00

      Tito y Su Son de Cuba

      Doors at 8:30 pm; Show at 9 pm 

      Eventbrite - Tito y Su Son de Cuba

      Ticket Price $12 Advance/$15 Day of Performance

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      Tito leads his band dedicated to playing authentic Cuban traditional dance music: rumba, guaracha, and son montuno, pioneered by such greats as Arsenio Rodriguez and later revived by Buena Vista Social Club. Before moving to America, Tito played and sang in several of the great Cuban bands – including a Rodriguez tribute group assembled by Arsenio’s daughter.

      Heriberto “Tito” Gonzalez explains, “Since I was a child I’ve been in music and I’ve always loved it. The music, and especially El Son, is part of my being.” Tito, who now lives in Richmond, sings and plays the Cuban tres guitar that drives the sound of the son, leading a band that includes percussion and horns in shows at clubs and festivals around the Bay. Music is a mix of son classics and tunes from the band’s 2005 self-titled debut CD and 2010’s “Al Doblar La Esquina.”

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      Talking About Race: The “Elephant” in the Room
      Nov
      26
      2:00 PM14:00

      Talking About Race: The “Elephant” in the Room

      Doors at 1:30 pm, Event at 2 pm in the Back Studio

      Eventbrite - Talking About Race

      Tickets Are $15 - $100
      Sliding Scale, No one turned away.

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      “Race” or the idea that people of different ethnicities and cultures are fundamentally different is not supported by science. “Racism” or the systematic oppression and regulation of ethnic groups based on the fiction of “race” is endemic to the culture, politics, traditions and legal structure of the U.S. In a nation built on the labor of enslaved Africans, the inequalities in justice, housing, healthcare, employment and education between Black people and White people have never been greater. Now, when the election of the current president has given license to the expression of hate – how can we begin to have dialogues that explore common interests? How can we speak to each other without denigration and accusation? Where can we learn tools for communication and community building? This workshop will address why we don’t talk about race and offer positive strategies to begin dialogues with family and friends. Open to people of all backgrounds, we will explore the mono-ethnic perspective that overshadows (and dehumanizes) our social, economic and political relationships, and model new ways of appreciating the richness of our multi-ethnic heritage and experience.

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      Ann-Ellice Parker is a death educator and counselor. She is the owner of Seasons of Change, an end of life training and consulting company. She worked for 25 years as a health educator specializing in reproductive health and HIV prevention education. She brings a lifetime of political activism to her current anti-racism work. She is the proud grandmother of two, who believes that “We who believe in freedom cannot rest”.

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      Soul Sanctuary Dance
      Nov
      26
      11:00 AM11:00

      Soul Sanctuary Dance

      Family-friendly Freestyle Community Dance. Come dance freely every Sunday morning at Soul Sanctuary Dance. No admission fee / 100% volunteer produced.

      Soul Sanctuary Dance is a welcoming and inclusive all-ages community freestyle/ecstatic/shoes optional dance that supports free expression, community, physical and emotional health, and a spirit of generosity. We dance to an irresistible eclectic blend of world music, funk, house, soul, electro swing, positive hip hop, reggae, dance classics, jazz, blues, electronica, and other music to free mind, body and soul.

      Organic fruit for all after the dance.
      The dance is completely organized and run by volunteers.
      Wheelchair accessible. No scented products please. Shoes optional.

      The dance is a generosity and donation-based event. We don't charge a fee for admission. Instead, we post this message at the welcome table: "Your dance today at Soul Sanctuary Dance is a gift from those who have made donations to the dance, and from the volunteers who organize and produce the dance. We invite you to pay this generosity forward for future dancers, in whatever amount or manner you choose, so that we can continue to keep this chain of gifts alive."

         

         

        View Event →