Filtering by: CAJUN/ZYDECO

Midnite Ramblers plus Dance Lesson with Ted Sherrod
Nov
20
8:00 PM20:00

Midnite Ramblers plus Dance Lesson with Ted Sherrod

Doors at 7:30 pm / Dance Lesson with Ted Sherrod at 8:00 pm / Show at 8:30 pm

Tickets are $12 Advance / $15 Day of Show

Buy Tickets Here

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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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Funky Gators plus Dance Lesson with Ted Sherrod
Oct
30
8:00 PM20:00

Funky Gators plus Dance Lesson with Ted Sherrod

Doors open 7:30pm / Dance Lesson with Ted Sherrod at 8pm / Show at 8:30pm

Tickets are $12 Advance / $15 Day of Show

Buy Tickets Here

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Dress up and come down to the annual Halloween party with the Funky Gators at Ashkenaz.

The Funky Gators is a band of Cajun, zydeco, and R&B veterans whose credits include many of the most popular local bands of the past couple of decades. They take zydeco and mix in some R&B and funk flavor while still keeping the zydeco tempos that dancers love. The Funky Gators play zydeco hits by Boozoo Chavis, Rosie Ledet, and others, plus Motown classics such as “Heatwave” and “Walking the Dog.” 

Along with rubboard player and lead singer Myrna, the band is accordion player Dana Mandell, guitarist Ian Lamson, bassist Marty Holland, and drummer Rasheed Wedlow. Myrna was a star in Gator Beat, and after that band’s leader Richie Domingue died several years ago, she retired from the zydeco scene. But after much coaxing from fans, she and Mandell put together the Funky Gators. Myrna’s many years of R&B experience combines with Mandell’s zydeco dance knowledge to create a sound that R&B listeners enjoy and that also keeps zydeco dancers out on the floor.

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Tom Rigney & Flambeau plus Dance Lesson with Mike Ferketich
Oct
23
8:00 PM20:00

Tom Rigney & Flambeau plus Dance Lesson with Mike Ferketich

Doors open 7:30 pm / Dance Lesson with Mike Ferketich at 8:00 pm / Show at 8:30 pm

Tickets are $12 Advance / $15 Day of Show

Buy Tickets Here

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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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Mitch Polzak & the Royal Deuces plus Dance Lesson with Cheryl McBride
Oct
9
8:00 PM20:00

Mitch Polzak & the Royal Deuces plus Dance Lesson with Cheryl McBride

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

Tickets are $12 Advance / $15 Day of Show

Buy Tickets Here

Mitch Polzak and The Royal Deuces were founded in California in 1999, and have been entertaining audiences worldwide with their highly original sound and show ever since. The three-piece band, fronted by Polzak on Guitar and vocals, play a wide representation of American Roots Music from Rockabilly to Honky Tonk. Polzak’s showmanship, as well as his diverse background in multiple genres (including Cajun, Bluegrass and Surf), contributes to what sets his sound and show apart from other bands.

Mitch is known for his ability to engage, connect with and entertain an audience. He is currently the Mayor of his small town, Port Costa, California; so in addition to commanding respect as a musician and performer, he’s also a revered elected public official in his current hometown!

Mitch Polzak plays about 200 shows a year, and is completely committed to his career path as a working musician, with the goal of taking his show to larger audiences around the world this year. He’s known for his energetic shows, which he creates without a set list, basing them on audience reactions and building energy in the room. He gives each show 100 percent, and is also known to perform for several hours straight without breaks.

Mitch Polzak and the Royal Deuces is made up of a variety of experienced veteran musicians. His core players are Hank Maninger (bass) and Les James (drums). Mitch says, “The idea of a three piece band excites me, as every member has to pull their weight…” He plays so many gigs that in addition to his core players, he also has back up players: Joe Kyle Jr., Ken Owen, Jimmy Touzel and Timothy Orr-- for the occasions that he needs them.

Mitch Polzak & The Royal Deuces have played so far in the U.S., Spain, Holland, Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic; and he looks forward to taking his music to more parts of the world. He just finished his new release, Two Sides to Every Story, which he’s ready to share with audiences. The release is unique, being a dual CD, one disc has vocals and the other all instrumentals. 

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CZ & The Bon Vivants plus Dance Lesson with Ted Sherrod
Oct
2
8:00 PM20:00

CZ & The Bon Vivants plus Dance Lesson with Ted Sherrod

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

Tickets $12 Advance / $15 Day of Show

Buy Tickets Here

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A hot band of Cajun/zydeco veterans, CZ & the Bon Vivants dish out classic Cajun dance tunes and originals. Along with singer and fiddler Catherine Matovich (whose day job is playing with symphony orchestras), the Bon Vivants are Lake Charles, Louisiana, native and East Bay great Andrew Carriere on accordion, guitarist Jim Scott, bassist Elaine Herrick, and drummer Timothy Orr. Over the last few years they’ve appeared frequently on the festival and outdoor event circuit – from downtown Oakland to the Solano Stroll, the Kaiser Rooftop concert series to Bay cruises – and at many a Bay Area dance hall. And India may be the next stop. The band’s CD, “Good to the Bon,” has been used as a tool for teaching world music at the American School in New Delhi; CZ has an international fan base as a result. 

The group was born when Matovich got home after playing in Neil Diamond’s touring band and saw a concert by Cajun/zydeco fiddler Tom Rigney. “I loved working big shows, but seeing Tom’s band made me want to be in a group like that, that had so much fun playing together.” The Bon Vivants came together to play a benefit concert in 2004, “and we’ve been busy ever since,” Matovich says. Nobody could agree on a group name, so eventually they were dubbed the Cajun Babes (after the Dixie Chicks), and through democratic process came up with the current group moniker, although there is no CZ. Just high-energy Cajun and zydeco music.

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Tom Rigney & Flambeau plus Dance Lesson with Cheryl McBride
Sep
25
8:00 PM20:00

Tom Rigney & Flambeau plus Dance Lesson with Cheryl McBride

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

Tickets are $12 Advance / $15 Day of Show

Buy Tickets Here

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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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