Berkeley Arts Festival Calendar


Stitch 'n Bitch 6:00 PM

Aug 1, 6pm to 9pm, Caffe Chiave, 2500 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley

Little Village Foundation

Little Village Foundation is a non-profit cultural producer and record label that searches out, discovers, records and produces American roots artists who might never be revealed to the masses. Founder Jim Pugh scours all corners of the country searching for obscure artists to bring from their local communities out to the world.

Ada Pasternak
Ada Pasternak is that rare artist who lives and breathes music while expressing her singular life experiences through unforgettbale art. Born in Moscow to musician parents, Ada came to the U.S. with her family at the age of six to escape persecution along with many other Jews. Early on in her life in the U.S., Ada became consumed with classical music training; she developed into a virtuoso violinist, winning competitions as a pre-teen soloist and appearing as a featured soloist with symphony orchestras. Bringing her back to her roots and an homage to her musical family, Ada releases her debut full-length studio album, Sweet Dreams (produced by rock veteran Tony Braunagel), featuring her immensly gifted parents Igor and Rayhan. Ada is a graduate of Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music, and she recently appeared as a special guest artist in a pair of popular Postmodern Jukebox videos.

Aki Kumar
Indian-born, San Jose-based Aki Kumar, aka "The Only Bombay Blues Man," left his home in Mumbai with the intention of working as a software engineer in Silicon Valley. Then he discovered the blues, and his life dramatically changed. With his Little Village Foundation debut, Aki Goes to Bollywood, he began integrating elements of Indian music into his musical and visual presentation, making for a multi-cultural mash-up that sounds like no one else, yet never loses touch with its blues foundation. Kumar's follow-up album, Hindi Man Blues, boasts his most ambitious cross-cultural fusion to date, and features liner notes by veteran blues great Charlie Musselwhite. Kumar has performed at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, has been featured on PRI "The World," and has toured in Russia and Scandinavia.
Marcel Smith


Marcel Smith
Marcel Smith's debut solo album, Everybody Needs Love, marks the belated emergence of a commanding, massively talented vocalist who's been honing his skills on the gospel circuit for decades. Everybody Needs Love showcases a persuasively soulful voice that's been burnished through years of high-energy performances. . Smith doesn't consider Everybody Needs Love a gospel album so much as he regards it as "inspirational music." Whatever one calls it, the long-overdue solo debut is a stylistically adventurous collection that showcases Marcel Smith's transcendent talent, boundless passion, and deep soul fervor. Smith was previously a member of Willie Washington's WD Gospel Singers, and he's performed on programs with many of the gospel's greatest artists.

Marina Crouse
One of the most notable rising talents on the San Francisco/Bay Area music scene, Marina Crouse's debut album Never Too Soon balances blues tradition with contemporary urban funk as she echoes the emotional power of such classic R&B divas as Etta James, Koko Taylor and Big Maybelle. A fourth-generation Chicana blessed with a big, expressive voice early in life, Never Too Soon features Crouse's Spanish-language renditions of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" and War's "Cisco Kid."

Mariachi Mestizo
Mariachi Mestizo is a modern ensemble that preserves and expands Mexico's centuries-old mariachi tradition. The youthful players, mentored by the veteran mariachi master Juan Morales (Los Camperos), dig deep into the music's history and timeless emotional appeal to make the music vital and current. Based in the town of Delano in California's Central Valley, Mariachi Mestizo regularly perform at local community events, and the group has also played some prestigious venues including New York's Carnegie Hall. Mariachi Mestizo's album, XX Aniversario, celebrates Mariachi Mestizo's 20th anniversary. In addition to traditional mariachi material, the album features a rendition of the pop standard "New York, New York," and a total of four songs recorded at the group's Carnegie Hall debut in 2017.

Maurice Tani
San Francisco native, Maurice Tani is a "rye-to-romantic" singer-songwriter with seven albums to his credit -the latest being The Lovers Card, released on the Little Village label. With his band, 77 El Deora, Tani has been the source of untold, but exquisite suffering on the Bay Area Americana scene for over 15 years.
Tani uses the term, "Supercalifornigraphic" to describe his particular flavor of Americana. While rooted in country music, Tani's writing is centered on a West Coast perspective. "Though much of my material is based on fictional characters and situations, I still write what I know. I'm not particularly comfortable or interested in the rural imagery of tractors, 4x4s or general agriculture common in much country music. What attracts me most about country is the story telling side of it. My stories are more likely to be centered around an urban experience. I'm a Californian from a large metropolitan area and I write about the things that hold my attention. I think of these songs as a sort of cinema for the blind. Short musical narratives of life on the left coast."

Whitney Shay
A two-time San Diego Music Award winner for "Best Blues Artist," vivacious young vocal phenom Whitney Shay releases her latest album, A Woman Rules the World. The album is a smart mix of original tunes and covers by the likes of Little Richard and Dinah Washington, all presented with a compelling undercurrent of female empowerment. In addition to her popularity with club audiences, Shay has also become a welcome presence at West Coast music festivals, including the Doheny Blues Festival, the Gator by the Bay Festival, the San Diego Blues Festival and the San Diego Music Awards. She's toured internationally, including many acclaimed visits to Brazil. Her music has also been heard in numerous films and commercials, as well as on the NBC TV show Timeless.

Aug 1, 7pm to 8pm, Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley

Craig & MacGregor Band

Join The Craig & MacGregor Band for an evening of "Not Just Jazz," cheap drinks, good friends, and complimentary food from Bacheesos on Telegraph. Bar opens at 6:30pm | Music

Aug 1, 7pm to 11pm, The Marsh Cabaret, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley

Jazz in the Neighborhood Presents...George Brooks Trio

George Brooks and long-time collaborators, bassist Kai Eckhardt and pianist Osam Ezzeldin, perform an evening of new compositions and favorites from Brooks' extensive catalog.

George Brooks is a saxophonist and composer, acclaimed for successfully bridging the worlds of jazz and Indian classical music, founding seminal Indian fusion groups like Summit with Zakir Hussain, and Bombay Jazz with Ronu Majumdar and Larry Coryell, and the Raga Bop Trio with Steve Smith and Prasanna. Kai Eckhardt appears on Brooks' "Summit" and "Spirit and Spice" recordings and has performed with Brooks, Steve Smith and Zakir Hussain in the US, Europe and Asia. Egyption-born Osam Ezzeldin grew up immersed in the music of North Africa and with a deep love of American jazz. He attended and taught at Berklee College of Music, and has performed with Eckhardt and Brooks since 2011. The trio of Brooks, Eckhardt and Ezzeldin is the core of Brooks' "Indian Jazz Journey" recently featured at the Stanford Jazz Festival and the Aspada fusion ensemble (with Selvaganesh Vinayakram).

Band Members and Instrumentation: George Brooks - saxophone; Kai Eckhardt - bass; Osam Ezzeldin - piano

George Brooks studied with Count Basie saxophonist Frank Foster and at the New England Conservatory of Music with George Russell, Joe Allard and Jaki Byard. He traveled to India for a year of study with classical Indian vocalist Pandit Pran Nath. In 1996 he recorded "Lasting Impression" and "Night Spinner," for Zakir Hussain's Moment Records. The success of these CDs led to performances and recordings with India's leading artists; Hariprasad Chaurasia, Sultan Khan, VM Bhatt, U Srinivas, Vikku Vinayakram, Trilok Gurtu, Shujaat Khan, Shankar Mahadevan and many others. Brooks is a recipient of the American Composer's Forum "Global Harmony" Prize and has received grants and commissions from SFMOMA, New Music USA, USArtists International, MetLife Creative Connections and San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music. His compositions have appeared in films by Merchant/Ivory and have been performed by Yo Yo Ma and members of the Liverpool Philharmonic. His solo harp composition `The Alchemy of Happiness" premiered at the 2012 Gaudeamus Muziekweek.

Kai Eckhardt was raised in Germany and Liberia, and came to the USA in 1980 to study at the Berklee College of Music. Upon graduating Kai garnered world-wide recognition performing with the John McLaughlin Trio. The trio, consisting of Kai, John and Indian percussion phenomenon, Trilok Gurtu, recorded "Live at the Royal Festival Hall" which still stands as a high watermark in global fusion. Kai, touring the world with McLaughlin's trio and later with Trilok Gurtu's outstanding ensembles, developed a remarkable facility with African and Indian rhythmic cycles. He combined these global rhythms with his love of funk and developed a unique slapping style simultaneously reminiscent of African kora and James Brown. After many years of constant touring Kai settled in California and distinguished himself as a band-leader and composer founding the successful "jam band" Garaj Mahal and his current group, Zeitgeist. He is an in demand performer and session musician and maintains an active teaching schedule, offering workshops in the US, Europe and online. Kai and George Brooks are long time partners and have performed together in the US, Europe and Asia with Summit, Zakir Hussain, Ray Manzarek (of the Doors) and Bob Weir (of the Grateful Dead). Kai has recorded and performed with such distinguished artists as Alphonse Mouzon, Billy Cobham, Stanley Clarke, Wayne Shorter, Patrice Rushen, Dewey Redman, Donald Byrd, Bela Fleck, Victor Wooten, Larry Coryell, Warren Hill, Al Di Meola, Vital Information, John Scofield and Bill Frisell.

Osam Ezzeldin was born in Cairo, Egypt and grew up immersed in the music of North Africa. At the age of 18 he heard his first recording of jazz and his life immediately transformed. Osam embarked on a journey of self-directed jazz study and began a rapid rise to excellence, soon becoming indispensible to leading jazz musicians of North Africa. Osam's love of jazz brought him to the US at the age of 21. He moved to Texas where he earned a BS in computer science. His prodigious abilities at the keyboard soon brought him to the attention of the local musicians and he quickly became immersed in the professional world of Texas jazz, blues and R+B. Osam continued to hone his skill as a composer and performer and, at the age of 29, was offered a full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music, receiving the highest honors. He was soon asked to teach there. In 2006, Osam was awarded US citizenship as an artist of extraordinary ability. In 2011, Osam moved to San Francisco and began turning heads. He soon joined Kai Eckhardt's Zeitgeist and George Brooks' Summit and has performed at all the major festivals and jazz clubs in northern California. Osam's unique ability to blend contemporary jazz vocabulary with Arabic, Indian and Caribbean influences has led to performances with many luminaries of world music, including Indian maestros Zakir Hussain, Niladri Kumar and Kala Ramnath and Turkish multi-instrumentalist Orhan Osman and the Turkophony Allstars, Uzbek percussionist Abbos Kasimov, as well as jazz stars Giovanni Hidalgo, Billy Cobham, Chuck Rainey, Kai Eckhardt and Dave Weckl.
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Aug 1, 7:30pm to 9:30pm, Rendon Hall/Fiddler Annex @ California Jazz Conservatory 2040 Addison Street, Berkeley

Balkan Folkdance

This monthly event is a revival of '70s-style Berkeley folkdancing with some international request dancing to recorded music, capturing the spirit that David Nadel was inspired by when he opened Ashkenaz in 1973 with Balkan folkdancing. One does not need a live band to experience the communal pleasure of dancing together, and the dance lessons help newcomers join in the experience.

Aug 1, 8pm to 11pm, Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, 1317 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley

Four Now

Four Now are a quietly intense local jazz quartet on the rise, with members combining their various backgrounds in rock, Hawaiian, and funk to create a truly unique sound.

Aug 1, 8pm to 11pm, Jupiter, 2181 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley

Wormhole Wednesday feat. Zebbler Encanti Experience, Moniker, Ananaki, White Gravy

Aug 1, 9pm to 10pm, Cornerstone, 2367 Shattuck Ave (Enter On Durant), Berkeley