Filtering by: AFRICAN & AFRO-DIASPORA

Orchestra Gold + Joseph’s Bones and DJ Drew
Nov
16
8:30 PM20:30

Orchestra Gold + Joseph’s Bones and DJ Drew

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

Tickets are $15 Advance / $18 Day of Show

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Two of Bay Area’s most phenomenal ensembles of top-notch musicians bring the sounds of Africa and the African Diaspora in one evening. DJ Drew will be spinning between Joseph's Bones' and Orchestra Gold's live sets.

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Orchestra Gold: Led by the ferocious Mariam Diakité from Bamako, Orchestra Gold {OG} promotes pre-digital age (OldStyle) music from Mali, West Africa.

OG hypnotizes audiences with danceable, funky, high-energy 1960's orchestra music from Mali. These roots are colored by tinges of 60’s era analog psychedelic rock and funk from West Africa.

The building blocks of OG’s music are folkloric songs, often told in parable. These songs contain inspiration, wisdom, and deep insight into the human condition. They have served to uplift Malians beyond the harsh realities of daily life. Especially in this time of social turbulence, this age-old wisdom brings us a renewed perspective on modern-day existence.

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Composer and drummer Jason Levis leads his instrumental dub-reggae orchestra, Joseph’s Bones, in bringing the electronic sound-transformation processes of Jamaican dub to an acoustic setting. The ensemble pulls the thread between visceral groove and abstract sonic suspension. 

Featuring 14 of the Bay Area’s best musicians, Joseph's Bones draws inspiration from the roots reggae of Bob Marley and the Wailers, the dub sounds of King Tubby and the soaring horn lines the of Skatalites. This instrumental group is new to the scene, but old in its tradition, bringing an ecstatic spirit to deep appreciation for reggae music’s traditions.

Levis, who holds a PhD in classical composition from UC Berkeley, says “The exploration of experimental techniques in classical music takes place in the concert hall. Jamaican music experiments are brought to the dance floor. Joseph's Bones blends those worlds to create "Avant-Dub Instrumentale" and bring the rich, colorful sound-scape of dub to life.”

In the lineage of experimentation by dub masters Lee "Scratch" Perry and King Tubby, Joseph's Bones reconstructs and re-imagines echo, reverb and delay without the use of electronic effects. The ensemble employs an acoustic language of dub-improvisation to subvert traditional song form and fragment the music's surface texture while never losing the physical impact of dance music. This is real-time live acoustic dub.

Levis has been deeply involved in reggae music for over 30 years, and has performed internationally. In his studies of jazz, improvisation, and modern classical music, he realized that dub is an intersection point where texture and sonic space can be invested with meaning and stand side by side with rhythm, melody, and harmony.

Each of the band’s members is a serious performer in their own right, leading groups from ska to salsa, jazz and blues. The blend of influences is distilled down into a singular sound through their love of reggae.      

Joseph's Bones, a member of the Bay Area Reggae Collective, is currently working on the vinyl release their double album "Nomadic Pulse - Pulse in Dub" planned for 2018.

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Kizomba Nightz
Oct
18
8:00 PM20:00

Kizomba Nightz

Doors at 7:30 pm; Intro to Kizomba Dance Lesson at 8 pm; Open Level Semba at 8:45 pm; Open Practica at 9:30 pm

Tickets are $15 Gen Adm / $12 Students

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Kizomba is a popular genre of music and partnered dance from Angola. Its is known to be smooth and slow, with grounded movements, danced in a close partner connection. The origin of Kizomba dance comes from Semba, a traditional type of dance and music from Angola known for its energetic movements.


For any questions please contact Kathy Reyes at
kathyreyesdance@yahoo.com

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Baba Ken and West African Highlife Band
Oct
13
9:00 PM21:00

Baba Ken and West African Highlife Band

Doors Open 8:30 pm / Show at 9:00 pm

Tickets are $15 Advance / $18 Day of Show

Buy Tickets Here

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Babá Ken Okulolo is a beloved SF Bay Area-based Nigerian bandleader, vocalist, bassist, teacher and multi-instrumentalist, one of the few popular African musicians of today whose roots extend deep into his country’s musical history.

He now leads several distinct African bands and teaches students of all ages. His lively performances, recordings, drum circles, and classes spread an uplifting message and bring the joy of African music to every audience.

Babá Ken was first seen in the U.S. as bassist on King Sunny Ade’s world tours. He is known for his work with Nigeria’s legendary Afrobeat creator Fela Anikulapo Kuti, highlife master Dr. Victor Olaiya, and the seminal Afro-rock group Monomono.

He has countless Nigerian and American recording dates to his credit, and the Nigerian Journalists' Association five times voted him the country's top bassist. He founded the international super-group Babá Ken & KOTOJA, famed for its bubbling brew of Afrobeat, highlife, juju, and jazz, and which inspired the start-up of Putumayo World Music.

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Piwai plus Adrian West Band
Oct
12
8:30 PM20:30

Piwai plus Adrian West Band

Doors at 8pm ; Show at 8:30pm

Tickets are $15 Advance / $18 Day of Show

Buy Tickets Here

Piwai combines the sounds of her Zimbabwean homeland with her original songs about Africa, struggles both political and personal, love and hope. In her music Piwai describes her musical journey, the challenges she faces in the American music industry, and how her dreams told her to follow the mbira. In early 2012, Piwai recorded her first album, “African Turquoise,” in collaboration with James Buzuzi of Bongo Love. It fuses jazz and traditional African rhythms, including mbira and percussion from Bongo Love’s Jacob Mafuleni and John Mambira. As with her album concept, Piwai’s concerts take the listener on a journey: glimpse life through the eyes of children in war-torn Congo; walk the streets of Harare; bear witness to the slums of Soweto, India, and the favelas of Brazil; or play along the proverbial paths of Zimbabwean folklore. For Piwai, music is all-encompassing: “The sum total of my very existence and every action I make manifests in music – the rhythm of my life.”

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Piwai was surrounded by music from an early age. Her first influences include music from the Shona and Ndebele people of Zimbabwe, Suthu and Zulu tribes, and the Zimbabwean Catholic Church. She joined her first choir at the age of 10, wrote her first song at 13, and hasn’t stopped since. Piwai went on to study with renowned percussionists Yagbe Onilu and Butch Haynes, trained vocally at the Jazz School of Berkeley, and delved into the mbira – a traditional African instrument associated with profound spiritual union – with maestro Cosmas Magaya.

Adrian West

Ask him what kind of music The Adrian West Band plays and Adrian will answer "Yes." Or if he's feeling cocky, he'll answer "Good."

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The long answer: a catchy mix of original songs and instrumentals that hover between acoustic rock, classical and West-African styles. Their songs have drawn such diverse comparisons as Paul Simon and Nelly McKay, artists seldom mentioned in the same breath.

Born and raised in Montreal, Canada, Adrian is an exciting performer to watch. He sings in an uplifting, almost child-like voice as he moves effortlessy between guitar & violin, often using live looping to add layers of sound (and intrigue) to his songs. He's not afraid to tackle difficult topics in his songwriting; Safe Streets tells an allegory about police violence, Close Your Eyes laments the beauty bias that pervades in the mass media, and Senses implores that you enjoy your senses while you can. Despite this philosophical streak, Adrian's lyrics are infused with a sense of hope and a touch of whimsy. The band features vocal harmonies, guitar, electric violin, bass, drums, and live "looping”.

 

Adrian started playing violin at the age of four and in his teens studied classical violin at the McGill Conservatory of Music in Montreal. He later learned to play drums, guitar and developed his vocal and songwriting technique.

He moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1995 where as a sideman violinist he began supporting local Bay Area bands, playing some of the area's better known venues including the Fillmore, Yoshi's SF (main stage), Slim’s, The Independent and The Sweetwater.

In 2005 Adrian formed the Adrian West Band and in 2010 he released his first full-length CD Chameleons and Butterflies. Since then the band has performed at small venues and festivals all over the Bay Area.

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Ousseynou Kouyate with the Makru Band
Aug
31
9:00 PM21:00

Ousseynou Kouyate with the Makru Band

Thumbnail Photo taken by : Ken Pordes

Doors Open 8:30 pm / Show at 9:00 pm

Tickets are $15 Advance / $18 Day Of Show

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Singer, Historian, Master Dance Instructor, Traditional Arts Living Cultures Grant recipient Ousseynou Kouyate was born and raised in Senegal, West Africa, of a family line originating in Mali.  He is a singer, historian and master dance instructor, descending from a long line of Griots, known in their native Wolof language as Djialys (Jelis).  He and his twin brother Assane have been singing, dancing and performing professionally since the age of thirteen, and have toured throughout South and North America, Europe, Africa and Taiwan.The Kouyate twins were dancers/choreographers with the National Ballet of Senegal and the Sinomew Ballet of Senegal.  

Osseynou's work creates an image of West Africa through music and song with traditional melodious lyrics in Bambara, Mandinko, French, and Wolof. 

 

 

 

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Karamo Susso featuring "Black Panther" lead drummer Massamba Diop
Jun
22
9:00 PM21:00

Karamo Susso featuring "Black Panther" lead drummer Massamba Diop

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

$15 Advance / $18 Day of Show

Buy Tickets Here

 

International Kora master Karamo Susso returns to Ashkenaz stage with an all-star ensemble featuring the lead drummer from the "Black Panther" movie, Senegalese Master Drummer Massamba Diop, Ousseynou Kouyate of Sekou Senegal, Tony D on Drumset, Moussa Camara on Djembe, and Ben Isaacs on Bass.

International Kora master Karamo Susso

International Kora master Karamo Susso

Senegalese Master Drummer Massamba Diop

Senegalese Master Drummer Massamba Diop

Karamo Susso is of the best-known African performers to grace our stage, he has appeared in the past few years in numerous settings, contributing his unique spirit, from solo to such world fusions as the World Blues Band, Symphony of Koras, Soul Union, and the Manding Band. Susso was born in Gambia, raised in Mali, and is a singer and kora master. He grew up in a compound of griots, next door to Toumani Diabate. His uncle was Ballake Cissoko. Susso was playing kora and performing before he was big enough to hold the instrument. He has since gone on to perform with many of Africa’s top stars and American musicians including Taj Mahal.

 

 

Massamba Diop is perhaps the world's most renowned master of the Tama, a talking drum from West Africa, known for its ability to emulate the tonalities of human speech. He came into the limelight as lead percussionist and a founding member of Daande Lenol, the band of Senegalese super-star Baaba Maal. Over the past 30 years the group has been playing all over the world, working with many notable musical figures and releasing dozens of albums, including "Firin' in Fouta", which was nominated for a Grammy for Best World Music in 1996. Massamba himself has performed and/or recorded with the likes of Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, Peter Gabriel, Harry Belafonte and Stevie Wonder, to name a few. He also appeared on Peter Gabriel's landmark release "Passion", which won a Grammy in 1990. 

ABOUT KARAMO SUSSO'S INSTRUMENT:
The kora, the 21-stringed harp lute of West Africa, originated in the ancient Kingdom of Mali more than a thousand years ago. Tradition tells that djinns brought it into this world and gave it to the griots: families whose place in the culture was to sing the epics of heroes and relate histories. The griots played kora and sang in court to praise the kings, and in the villages to carry news and to celebrate traditional ceremonies. The music is intricate, elegant, and potent. It is sweet while strong, percussive while lyrical, active while calm. Centuries of complex tradition are heard in it, as are simple truths.

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Fula Brothers and MaMuse
Apr
27
9:00 PM21:00

Fula Brothers and MaMuse

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

Tickets are $20 Advance / $25 at the Door

*ticket price increased since the printed calendar,
due to the addition of a second band*

This special shared evening brings together two uplifting bands, both of whom will nourish you in spirit and body. MaMuse will play a stirring set of folk/gospel/harmony inspiration, then Fula Brothers will light the dancefloor with a West African-California Groove experience. Expect a full heart, a lively community of dancers, and collaborative magic when the bands play together.

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Fula Brothers is the high spirited meeting of three seasoned touring performers - each of whom has spent decades pursuing the shared heartbeat in music from around the globe. Here is a history filled with inter-continental collaborations and colorful apprenticeships, from West Africa and Scotland to Haiti and the US. Each of these cultural threads stirs a unique part of our universal human experience, and Mamadou, Walter, and Kendrick weave them into a rich tapestry of sound and rhythm. The result? An ecstatic and intricate groove-based dialogue which the heart - and the feet - cannot resist.

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With deep roots in the folk and gospel traditions, and their hearts in the present, MaMuse (Sarah Nutting and Karisha Longaker) create uplifting music for the next seven generations to thrive on. Interweaving brilliant and haunting harmony with lyrics born of honed emotional intelligence, MaMuse invokes a musical presence that inspires the opening of the heart. Playing a family of varied acoustic instruments including upright bass, guitar, mandolins, ukulele, and flutes, these two powerful women embody a love for all of life. The synergy that is created through this musical connection is palpable and truly moving to witness.

 

 

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Mafaro eZimbabwe Part 2, Branches: The KTO Project explores Chimurenga music and beyond!
Apr
21
9:00 PM21:00

Mafaro eZimbabwe Part 2, Branches: The KTO Project explores Chimurenga music and beyond!

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

Tickets are $20 Advance /
$25 at the Door

Tickets for both shows (April 19th & 21st) also available.
$30 Advance / $40 Day of Show

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The KTO Project is collaborating with Bay Area musicians and dancers from Zimbabwe to celebrate the music of the people - Chimurenga music - and to explore its roots in traditional mbira music played by the ancestral Shona people in Zimbabwe. 

The KTO Project will bring more than 15 musicians and dancers and a community choir of up to 25 people together to perform one concert of ancestral songs of Zimbabwe, then one concert of the popular, socially impactful music developed from the ancestral forms generations later. 

The second of 2 concerts will feature Zimbabwean mbira music played with modern amplified instrumentation and drum kit, with lyrics characterized by social and political commentary. The performance will feature arrangements and song by Kelly Takunda Orphan and Zivanai Masango, The KTO Project’s Zimbabwe-born guitar player who has made his mark touring with Zimbabwean master musicians Oliver Mtukudzi and Thomas Mapfumo. 

Both concerts (the first on April 19th) will feature Voices of Zimbabwe, the community chorus led by Kelly Takunda Orphan, developed in residence at Ashkenaz (that will run from February to April 2018). Members of the Zimbabwean, Southern African and World Music choral communities have a chance to participate in this choral project that will be featured at the Mafaro eZimbabwe: Zimbabwean Mbira Music for the People concerts.

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