The Berkeley City Council declared last May 10 Avotcja Jiltonilro Day and issued a proclamation honoring her with a Lifetime Achievement Award in Poetry. The distinction was well deserved, but to get the full measure of this extraordinary woman, come by La Peña on Sunday for her 73rd birthday bash. As a poet, radio producer, playwright, multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, and invaluable DJ on KPOO (89.5) and KPFA (94.1FM), she’s connected with a vast and varied array of artists, many of whom will be on hand at the party to read their work, tell their tales, sing their songs, and play their tunes.
Barbara Dane was born in Detroit in 1927, and she was reborn musically in Berkeley about 25 years later. Possessing a big, bold, beautifully expressive voice, she had already earned a reputation as a gifted folk singer and musical activist who had campaigned against racial discrimination with Pete Seeger when she and first husband, folk singer Rolf Cahn, relocated to the Bay Area in the late 1940s.