Doors at 9:00 pm; Show at 9:30 pm
Tickets are $10
Berkeley’s 7th Street Band returns to Ashkenaz with a one-night reggae festival showcasing an array of singers and musicians it works with. The band plays its own music and serves as house band for Rocker-T, Luv Fyah, Binghi Ghost, plus Sista Dyimah & the Lioness Squad.
Berkeley’s 7th Street Band has made its name backing some of the greats and new voices of reggae and running its own studio. While 7th Street Band has been hitting the West Coast stages for a decade, drummer Edi Arnold and keyboardist Benjamin Goff, friends since high school, have played together since 1992. The duo is the production team for its Berkeley studio, and on stage the group expands with other musicians, including bassist Mony Lujan (of Dubwize), who has worked with 7th Street since 2010. 7th Street Band has been called one of the Bay Area’s best-kept musical secrets and has backed many top touring vocalists, including Sanchez, Gappy Ranks, Glenn Washington, Konshens, Louie Culture and Million Stylez. Other artists 7th Street has worked with include Arkaingelle, Mega Banton,Norris Man, Danny I, Army, Rocker T, Wadi Gad, Tuff Lion, Messenjah Selah, Earl Zero, Winstrong, and Luv Fyah.
From St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, Binghi Ghost takes his name from the Rastafarian word for “Nyabinghi,” meaning the real, original chanting that Rastafarians use to give thanks and praises through singing. Add in the choices humanity is currently facing, translate them into reggae, and that is Binghi Ghost’s music, an uplifting sound conveying that the belief that “We can accomplish what we set our minds to do.”
Singjay Luv Fyah features new and old selections including songs from his acclaimed CD collaboration with Million 7, “Ethiopia We Belong.” A Reggae-Vibes.com reviewer wrote that “his presence and delivery lives up to his name, bringing plenty of Fire and Love on this release, where he combines sweet, soulful singing with chanting on songs like ‘New Star Born,’ ‘Ethiopia I Belong,’ ‘So Many Lights,’ ‘Coming from the West’ or ‘Time Traveler.’”
A fresh voice from Oakland, Dyimah says, “Mother raised me on reggae and it is my first love.” Dyimah grew up singing gospel in church and has been a songwriter all her life, composing music with a message, with Bob Marley as a main inspiration. In the 1990s she started her own reggae band in Hawaii before moving back to the Bay Area, where she sings with 7th Street Band. This time she also brings her backup women singers, the Lioness Squad.
Originally from Brooklyn, Rocker-T, like Dyimah, grew up singing in church choir, and by high school was vocalizing in rock-ska-punk bands, including the Ska-Danks. That group recorded for a major label and performed everywhere from New York’s Wetlands festival to Jamaica, where he was introduced to the spiritual side of reggae through Nyabinghi chanting and drumming. On his own since the ‘90s, Rocker-T has toured from Europe to Japan with his own mix of riddims and conscious lyrics. More recently he has performed in such California festivals as Reggae on the River and Sierra Nevada, and even recorded “The Way Life Should Be” with Joan Baez in 2009. Tonight he includes more recent original songs such as “Still Burn da Weed.”