Doors at 8:30 pm / Show at 9:00 pm
Tickets are $15 Advance / $20 Day of Show
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.