Safra: The sound of coexistence at Ashkenaz
A bell tower constructed in 1878. A nursery school built in 1927. An import-export warehouse converted into a music venue. A prefabricated panel cottage put together in 1887.
By Dorothy Brown
SKATING IN PALESTINE Adam Abel, a New York City filmmaker, will premiere his newest project Friday night at La Peña Cultural Center. The film, called Qalqilya, will show at 7:00 p.m. It’s a feature-length documentary about “Sajed, a Palenstinian skater, who mentors a group of Palestinian youth who skate, do parkour, and perform beatbox and hip-hop in Qalqilya, a city in the West Bank of Palestine,” according to the La Peña website. More information is available at the film’s website. You can make donations to the film at the premiere or at this website. Make your reservation online now. (more…)
With its seductive conflation of eros and combat, tango has beguiled many a music and dance lover, so there’s nothing surprising about Bendrew Jong’s obsession with Argentina’s most passionate export. What’s unexpected is that his expertise in tai chi and kung fu provided ideal physical and mental training for mastering tango’s intricate dance moves, and that dancing has made him more dangerous on the mat.
At 26 years old, David Eagle hasn’t had a chance to travel much outside the United States. But by just about any measure the Berkeley percussionist is a supremely cosmopolitan artist well versed in many African diaspora rhythmic traditions. He plays the trap drums Thursday at Ashkenaz with his hard-grooving Afro-Brazilian-Caribbean band Z’Amico, and then picks up the washboard as a member of the funk-soul-reggae combo FenToN CooLfooT and The Right Time.
After nearly two days of witness testimony, the man arrested earlier this year in the shooting that sent two Ashkenaz employees to the hospital with serious injuries was ordered to face the nine felony charges brought against him by the Alameda County district attorney’s office.
Most guitar quartets are highly rehearsed ensembles devoted to a repertoire of intricately arranged material. Seasons is something very different. Balancing searching improvisation with exquisite through-composed passages, the ensemble brings together four brilliant, versatile, and accomplished composers and bandleaders with Anthony Wilson and Larry Koonse from Los Angeles, São Paulo’s Chico Pinheiro, and New York City’s Julian Lage. The group performs Friday at the Jazzschool as part of a California tour, a tricky undertaking for a group with so many divergent musical commitments.
No musical style is as inextricably linked to a particular city as tango is to Buenos Aires. So what happens when you take one of tango’s most acclaimed vocalists and plop her down in the Bay Area? For María Volonté, the result is a burst of inspiration, as she forges ties with some of the region’s finest jazz and Latin American musicians. Which isn’t to say that she’s cut her ties to Argentina. Volonté performs Sunday at the Garden Gate Creativity Center on Claremont Avenue in Berkeley, an early stop on her Wapas tour with Mavi Díaz, the founder of the seminal 1980s all-female Argentine pop band Viudas e Hijas de Roque Enroll. While steeped in different traditions, both women are intensely passionate performers who share a rare gift for self-revelation and playful self-mockery.
IMAGINE NONVIOLENCE In response to the March 16 shooting at the club, which injured two employees, and violence in general, Ashkenaz is sponsoring an event called “Imagining Nonviolence” on Friday April 19. “This event explores, celebrates, and shares numerous ways that we heal from violence, individually and within community. Starting with a hands-on healing art workshop, participants will collage and may post their art to build a Wall of Peace in our Back Studio. There will be counselors available and a drum circle for kids. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. with a kids’ drumming circle and then a community drumming circle. At 9:30 p.m., SambaDá and cosmos Percussion Orchestra – the same bands that were playing the night of the assault – will perform. Tickets are $10-$12. The Ashkenaz Music and Dance Community Center is at 1317 San Pablo Ave. (more…)
Molly Holm has lived a lifetime in between starting to record her debut CD Permission and its release last February. The Berkeley jazz singer, an esteemed educator and important collaborator with Bobby McFerrin and Terry Riley, lost both her parents, ended a relationship, and married her husband in the decade or so it took to bring the project to fruition.
The Berkeley Police Department has released the name of one of the alleged shooters from Saturday morning’s robbery at the Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, which sent two people to the hospital with serious injuries from the shooting.
Comfort Mensah was standing at the bar at Ashkenaz Dance and Music Community Center early Saturday morning when two gunmen burst in and demanded cash. She and her boss, Larry Chin, the dance hall’s managing director, had just discovered some counterfeit bills among the $5,000 to $7,000 taken in that night.