Complete artistic freedom often comes with a cost. For Oakland percussion maestro John Santos, the price of running his own musical realm to pursue a sweeping pan-Caribbean musical vision means accepting the financial burden of producing and distributing his own recordings. On Saturday, Santos celebrates the 30th anniversary of his label Machete Records at Berkeley’s Casa de Cultura at 8 p.m. Saturday with a concert benefiting the venue and its parent Brazilian arts non-profit BrasArte.
Oakland percussion master John Santos has spent the past three decades introducing Bay Area audiences to Caribbean musical treasures, but he’s got something unprecedented in store for Berkeley this weekend.
JEWISH MUSIC MASH-UP How often do you get the chance to see a concert featuring a rabbi and a Christian gospel choir? Sunday sees the kick-off for the fourth Netivot Shalom Music Festival. Previously an annual event, the festival now hosts five monthly Sunday concerts featuring local artists performing a diverse array of Jewish music. It is a grass-roots effort, organized totally by volunteers, say the organizers, and they favor concerts with a twist, hence the mash-up on Jan. 20 which includes Rabbi Menachem Creditor. March 17 includes a klezmer band and two jazz big bands; and April 14 features a Grammy-winning Boys Choir, a black Jew by Choice who sings Yiddish music, and a beautiful young opera singer. Congregation Netivot Shalom is on University Ave. For more details, visit their website.
Just as Berkeley starts settling into its pleasingly sleepy summer rhythm, the 9th Annual World Music Festival takes over Telegraph on Saturday, infusing the avenue with a jolt of energy. Running from noon to 9 pm, the free musical fest brings an international array of music to cafés and shops south of campus, with the action centering on the Amoeba-sponsored People’s Park stage from 1-6 pm.
No one is likely to mistake Berkeley for Salvador de Bahia, the northeastern Brazilian city famous as the heartland of Afro-Brazilian culture. But on Sunday, at least for a day, San Pablo Avenue will resound to the thundering pulse of samba drums and the springy twang of berimbaus, as the BrasArte’s Casa de Cultura celebrates Brazilian independence day with a Lavagem.
By Andrew Gilbert