Doors at 8:30 pm; Show at 9:00 pm
Tickets are $15
It may be mid-winter but there’s no warmer way to spend the night than at Ashkenaz where two of our longtime Caribbean favorites, Harry Best and the SF Panhandlers steel band team up. It’s Trinidad Carnival and Valentine’s Day rolled into one, as Harry Best sings some of the greatest calypso songs from the masters including Lord Kitchener and Mighty Sparrow, as well his own compositions, a great mix of romance and pointed politics to the irresistible rhythms of the Panhandlers who mix calypso with reggae, soca and samba.
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.
The SF Panhandlers are a nationally acclaimed steel band based in San Mateo, with a 10-member ensemble for tonight’s concert. Under the direction of Jim Munzenrider, this group has been entertaining audiences throughout Northern California since 1987. With an extensive repertoire of traditional socas, calypsos, beguines and other Caribbean styles, the Panhandlers have become a mainstay at a number of Bay Area events from the San Francisco AIDS Walk to the day-long annual Pan in the Schools Jamboree. In 2002, the group became the “unofficial steel band” of the San Francisco Giants, when they were invited to perform at the Playoffs and World Series at Pacific Bell Park. Their four CDs feature original tunes by renowned composers, fresh arrangements of classics and innovative treatments of popular songs.