The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley, weekend of Nov. 8-11

Daniel Barenboim conducts the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra in a Cal Performances concert on Saturday at Zellerbach Hall. Photo: Monika Rittershaus

WEST-EASTERN DIVAN ORCHESTRA Daniel Barenboim founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra nearly 20 years ago with Palestinian scholar Edward Said (if you haven’t read Orientalism, add it to your list) as a model for cooperation across the political and religious divides of the Middle East. Somehow, although so much has deteriorated over the years, the Arab and Israeli musicians of the orchestra have persisted. Of course, it’s not only regional politics the orchestra has to navigate: over the summer, Trump’s travel ban looked like it would prevent the instrumentalists holding Iranian and Syrian passports from getting into the U.S. They made it. On Saturday afternoon in Zellerbach Hall, the orchestra will be performing two crowd pleasers: Strauss’ Don Quixote (the best of Strauss’ tone poems, I think) and Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony. By the way, Barenboim’s appearance on the podium is a reminder that if you aren’t heading for a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, being one of the world’s leading conductors seems to be a great guarantee of longevity in your career (he’ll be a young 76-years-old next week). Saturday, Nov. 9, 3 p.m., Zellerbach Hall.

UNITED AGAINST HATE Started in response to the white supremacist groups who targeted Berkeley last year, United Against Hate was aimed by the civic leaders who founded it to make a clear statement that hateful ideas were unwelcome in the Bay Area. It has spread from Berkeley to Oakland, Richmond, Emeryville, Albany, El Cerrito, and dozens of other communities in the Bay Area. The first United Against Hate week kicks off in Civic Center Park on Sunday with performances by Sons of Soul Revival, folk singer Aireene Espiritu, Oakland Youth Laureate Samual Getachew and others. There will also be food trucks and speakers. Sunday, Nov. 9, 1-4 p.m., Civic Center Park.

DAVID WILCOX Songwriter and guitarist David Wilcox (left), from Asheville, North Carolina (the Berkeley of the Carolinas, I reckon), performs at the Freight & Salvage on Thursday night. Wilcox will be playing work from his new album, The View from the Edge. Here’s the Freight’s pitch for Wilcox: His “lyrical insight is matched by a smooth baritone voice, masterful guitar chops, and creative open tunings, giving him a range and tenderness rare in folk music.” Thursday, Nov. 8, 8 p.m., Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St.

STRINGSHOT Three artists – Brazilian jazz/world music virtuoso Badi Assad, slide blues guitarist Roy Rogers, and Peruvian harpist and violinist Carlos Reyes – have come together to form StringShot. They’ll be playing at the Freight on Friday, and you have to like the idea of “wildly different musical backgrounds” coming together. The promise is a “new synthesis” of blues and Latin music. Friday, Nov. 9, 8 p.m., Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St.


SAMBA DE RAIZ Samba de Raiz was formed in 2008 when members of local choro quartet Grupo Falso Baiano reached out to Rio-born percussion master Jorge Alabê to form a new project dedicated to performing a rarely heard variant of samba music. The group sets itself apart in its elegant use of bandolim (Brazilian mandolin) and 7-string guitar, laced with flute and clarinet fills, over a groove anchored by Jorge Alabê, leader of Oakland’s Samba Rio samba school. Samba de Raiz will be performing the sambas of the “golden years” on Sunday at Ashkenaz. If you don’t already know how to samba, master dance teacher Weslei Guimarães from Rio de Janeiro will provide a Samba de Gafiera lesson at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11, 8 p.m., Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Ave.

Don’t miss this other event covered on Berkeleyside:

Clara Blume: From Vienna with love