The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley, weekend of March 23-25

The choir Awon Ohun Omnira sings old Yoruba songs, accompanied by traditional African drums. They are performing at BAMPFA on Saturday. Photo: Courtesy BAMPFA

AWON OHUN OMNIRA BAMPFA’s series Black Lives brings the choir Awon Ohun Omnira to the museum on Saturday. Based in the East Bay, the choir’s name means “Voices of Freedom.” They sing old Yoruba songs that honor the ancestors and praise the divine, accompanied by the traditional, sacred African drums known as Bata and through the Ring Shout, a feature of the invisible church of enslaved Africans. The performance incorporates audience participation. Saturday, March 24, 6 p.m., BAMPFA, 2155 Center St.

GLAS ANIMATION FESTIVAL The annual GLAS Animation Festival continues through the weekend in Berkeley. There are scores of screenings, filmmaker Q&As, and parties (for festival passholders only) on each night. This year’s special guests include Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the writing and directing duo behind The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street; independent Hungarian animator Réka Bucsi; and London-based animator Jonathan Hodgson. Check out the full schedule. Throughout the weekend at various downtown Berkeley venues.

LOVING JANIS Vocalist Kyra Gordon with pianist and arranger Larry Steelman bring their “hypnotic and far-out arrangements” of two iconic singers to Ashkenaz on Friday night: Janis Ian and Janis Joplin. In “Loving Janis,” the interpretations of both Joplin and Ian will encompass jazz, rock and folk arrangements.The idea of creating the “Loving Janis”  tribute show evolved from an inspirational event Kyra experienced at age 17. While living in Los Angeles she was asked to audition for the role of Janis Joplin in a film project titled “Piece of My Heart” for Paramount Pictures. The project was scrapped and Kyra did not get the part, but carried the script around wondering “what if I were to do something based on Janis?” Song classics including “At Seventeen”; “Jesse”; “Piece of My Heart”; “Bobby McGee” and others will be sung in a tribute by Gordon. Friday, March 23, 8 p.m., Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Ave.

PETE ESCOVEDO After a sold-out performance for Freight & Salvage’s New Year’s Eve, legendary Latin jazz timbalero Pete Escovedo returns on Saturday for a record release party for his new album, “Back to the Bay,” which celebrates the music scene in the Bay Area from his first gig at the California Hotel’s Gold Room in 1953 to the diverse blend of music which had emerged by the ’70s and is now known as the Bay Area Sound. Escovedo breaks down the barriers between smooth jazz, salsa, Latin jazz and contemporary music. Saturday, March 24, 8 p.m., Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St.


FLAUTI DIVERSI Founded in 1992, Flauti Diversi focuses on the early repertoire of the 13th to 18th centuries from the Mediterranean. The band consists of Frances Feldon on recorders and medieval flute, Allison Zelles Lloyd, soprano and medieval harp, Peter Maund, percussion, Sarah Michael, qanun (try that next time you play Scrabble), and David Rogers, lute, guitar and oud. On Sunday at the California Jazz Conservatory, the group will be performing songs and dances from 13th and 14th century Spain, “both monophonic and polyphonic, devotional and rowdy, from the cantigas and Llibre Vermell manuscripts, laude and estampies, as well as Arabic repertoire.” Don your tabard and check it out. Sunday, March 25, 4:30 p.m., California Jazz Conservatory, 2087 Addison St.

Don’t miss these other events covered on Berkeleyside:

‘A Number’ at the Aurora is complex, intense and timely
Big Screen Berkeley: ‘Play the Devil’
‘Welcome to the Neighborhood’: New film shines light on changing Berkeley
Set in the soaring Grace Cathedral, art show examines the continuing impact of human bondage
Shaina Evoniuk, married to the mob; and Duck Baker, guitar renegade