Berkeley Arts Festival Calendar


La Peña's 6th Annual Holiday Tianguis

FREE ADMISSION! Bring cash for food, art & craft vendors!
Come find the perfect handcrafted gifts for your loved ones this holiday season at La Peña’s 6th Annual Holiday Tianguis! Over 30 local vendors will be selling beautiful handcrafted goods, as well as unique imports from Mexico and beyond! There will also be LIVE musical entertainment, activities for the kids, and traditional foods for sale! So come hungry and bring the entire family!
A tianguis is an open-air market or bazaar that is traditionally held on certain market days in a town or city neighborhood in Mexico and Central America. This tradition has its roots well into the pre-Hispanic period and continues in many cases essentially unchanged into the present day. The word tianguis comes from Nahuatl, the language of the Aztec Empire.

Interested in being a vendor? We are SOLD OUT OF VENDOR SPOTS! To be added to the waitlist, (View Full Event Description Here:

Dec 1, 12 noon to 6pm, La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave. , Berkeley

Saturday Storytime

Dec 1, 1pm to 2pm, Books Inc., 1491 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley

Possum Family Singers @ The Starry Plough Pub

Every 1st and 3rd Saturdays from 5-7. Sometimes rollickin', sometimes introspective, The Possum Family Singers bring you singer/songwriters, country, pop, old-school, new school, and special guests. Tips appreciated!

For details, link here:

Dec 1, 5pm to 6pm, The Starry Plough Pub - 3101 Shattuck Avenue - Berkeley

Maestra Series: Mary Louʻs Apartment

Doors at 7:30 pm; Show at 8:00 pm

Tickets are $20 Advance / $25 Day of Show

Buy Tickets Here
Mary Lou's Apartment,  the all-women compact-yet-mighty big band, invites the community to swing into December with a fabulous concert and dance.  Part of the compelling "Maestra Series" highlighting the prowess of women musicians from international communities,  Mary Lou's Apartment is honored to perform at the iconic Ashkenaz.  The ensemble features the music of African American musical geniuses Mary Lou Williams and Melba Liston in an atmosphere of kindness, joy, political action and fun.  According to jazz journalist Andy Gilbert, the band "delivers showstoppers with ease," and "delivers a crisp and extravagantly engaging program."

Mary Lou Williams, a jazz giant with formidable piano chops and stellar composing and arranging skills, welcomed fellow luminaries including Monk, Dizzy and Sarah to her Harlem apartment after hours, where she shared her musical discoveries.  Melba Liston, another jazz giant with formidable trombone chops and stellar composing and arranging skills, was a younger sister of sorts to Mary Lou, who performed world-wide with the likes of Dizzy and Gerald Wilson.  Both Mary Lou and Melba are far from household names - they've been hidden in plain sight - because they were women.

Mary Lou's Apartment presents compositions and arrangements that have been overlooked - great music that's endlessly contemporary.  Enjoying packed houses at their shows this year, Mary Lou's Apartment instills heartfelt appreciation of Mary Lou and Melba's sophisticated compositions and radiates its own unique soulful jazz sound.

Be on hand as Mary Lou's Apartment takes flight for its Ashkenaz debut.  Come on over to the Apartment!

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

Celtic Winter Concert with Four Shillings Short

The Celtic/Folk/World music duo Four Shillings Short present a special Celtic Winter Concert featuring music, poetry and stories from the Celtic & World music traditions to celebrate the Season.

Four Shillings Short is the husband/wife duo of Aodh Og O'Tuama from Cork, Ireland and Christy Martin from California. They perform traditional and original music from the Celtic lands, Medieval & Renaissance Europe, India and the Americas on a fantastic array of instruments (over 30), including Hammered & Mountain Dulcimer, Mandolin, Mandola, Bouzouki, Tinwhistles, Recorders, Medieval and Renaissance Woodwinds, North Indian Sitar, Charango, Bowed Psaltery, Banjo, Bodhran, Guitar, Percussion, vocals and even a Krumhorn.

Touring in the US & Ireland since 1997, Four Shillings Short are independent folk artists who perform 150 concerts a year, have released 12 recordings, and live as full-time troubadours traveling from town to town performing at music festivals, theaters & performing arts centers, folk societies, libraries, house concerts and schools.

Aodh Og O'Tuama grew up in a family of poets, musicians and writers. He received his degree in Music from University College Cork, Ireland and received a Fellowship from Stanford University in California in Medieval and Renaissance performance. He plays tin whistles, Medieval & Renaissance woodwinds, recorders, Doumbek (from Morocco), bowed Psaltery, spoons and sings in English, Gaelic & French.

Christy Martin grew up in a family of musicians and dancers. From the age of 15, she studied North Indian sitar for 10 years, five of them with a student of master sitarist Ravi Shankar. She began playing the hammered dulcimer in her 20's and has studied with Maggie Sansone, Dan Duggan, Cliff Moses, Robin Petrie, Tony Elman and Glen Morgan. In addition she plays mandolin, mandola, bouzouki, banjo, guitar, bodhran (Irish frame drum), ccharango, bowed Psaltery and sings in English, Irish, and Sanskrit.


"Sunday night's concert featured a husband and wife duo called Four Shillings Short. They are astounding. They both have wonderful singing voices. They play an incredible variety of music from Indian Ragas to Celtic, Traditional folk and about anything else you can think of. They are very charismatic with great stage presence." - Columbus Folk Music Society, OH

"Their musical virtuosity makes old songs sound new and new songs sound like time-worn Celtic spells." - CITY PAGES, Wausau WI

"They are not the Clancy Brothers or Jean Richie or Ravi Shankar, but a combination of all three, laced with Irish humor. Their collection of instruments is museum-like and I've never seen the place so packed." - San Gregorio General Store, CA 2005

"Four Shillings Short, celto-indo fusion duo, is a world class act." - Late Night Liz/KMFB, Fort Bragg, CA 2012

"Four Shillings Short takes you on a musical journey through time and across the seas as they perform everything from traditional Irish tunes and airs to Indian Ragas." - The Foothills Sun-Gazette, Exeter, CA 2010

"A husband-and-wife duo of mystical musical abilities. Their sound is haunting, crystalline beauty." - Monterey County Weekly, Monterey, CA 2010

"The Celtic/Folk/World music duo performs on a bevy of unusual instruments and in myriad styles. This is a great show for kids of all ages, who'll be amazed by the duo's thematic range." - Glen Starkey, New Times, San Luis Obispo, CA 2010

Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 for students with ID and limited income, kids 16 + under free w/adult. Advance tickets are available at the link below, or you may purchase your tickets at the door the night of the show. Doors open one half hour before show time. We accept cash only at the door (ATMs are nearby).

The Back Room is an all-ages, BYOB (for those 21+) space, dedicated to (mostly) acoustic music of all kinds. You are welcome to bring your own adult beverage with no additional corkage fee. If you need more information or have any questions, please call us: #510-654-3808. Thank you for your support!

Dec 1, 8pm to 10pm, The Back Room, 1984 Bonita Ave, Berkeley

Holly Near with Tammy Hall and Jan Martinelli

Holly Near brings to the stage a unique combination of highly trained vocal power, delightful humor and poetic reflection. For over 40 years, Holly has fused cabaret, folk and spoken word in to a sound track for progressive thinking. Her powerful voice has creatively articulated the complexities of social change activism since the early seventies. With critical thinking as a major element in her songwriting, she has been a unifying force connecting the issues that so challenge the lives of activists, educators and community. Holly says, "Now that Pete Seeger, Odetta, Mary Travers, Maya Angelou, Ruby Dee and so many other elders have left us, artists of my generation are no longer elders in training. We are the elders."

Tammy HallA frequent and favorite player here at the Freight, Tammy has with worked award-winning cabaret singer and actress, Connie Champagne, the Supreme Mary Wilson, chanteuse and actress Debbie De Coudreaux, The Montclair Women's Big Band, Houston Person, the late David `Fathead Newman', jazz violinists Regina Carter, Jeremy Cohen, Mads Tolling, orchestra leader and bassist Marcus Shelby, guitarist Terrence Brewer, vocalists Kim Nalley, Denise Perrier, Pamela Rose, Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir, Holly Near, Lynne Asher, Melba Moore, Miki Howard, Rhonda Benin, Darlene Love, Lady Mem'fis, Veronica Klaus, Diane Witherspoon, Queen Esther Marrow, Ernestine Anderson, Derek Lassiter, Frankye Kelley, Nicolas Bearde, Kenny Washington, Lisa Ferraro Erika Luckett, Karen Drucker and the late Etta Jones. She has traveled and performed extensively in Japan, Europe and Mexico, including a 30-city tour with Queen Esther Marrow and the Harlem Gospel Singers throughout Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Other venues and festivals of note include Kennedy Center (Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival), Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, Sala Filharmonica (Trento, ITALY), Herbst Theatre, Monterey Jazz Festival, San Jose Jazz Festival, SFJazz Center, Yoshi's Oakland and San Francisco and Kuumbwa Jazz in Santa Cruz, CA.

"A musician who has much to offer in the way of originality, fine technique and a rich, emotional quality that is evident on everything she does. Her playing is warm and persuasive and a listener's delight." - Marian McPartland, Piano Jazz

A native San Franciscan, Jan Martinelli (bass) has toured and performed with dozens of bands and artists at major festivals, performance halls and clubs throughout the country. Known for her stylistic range from Latin, Jazz and Funk to Blues and Folk, her soulful approach to the bass can be heard on more than thirty CDs and albums. Jan was an original member of the Bay Area's popular Wild Mango, a seven-piece World Jazz ensemble. She appeared on the cover of Southwest's inflight magazine Spirit, in a feature article Women & Jazz, and has played major jazz festivals such as Aspen, Barbados, Monterey, San Francisco and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
Jan is currently a member of several Bay Area bands has been touring with Holly Near since 2012.

Nina GerberNina is the LeBron James of guitar players - everyone who plays with her gets better when she plays. She's added her talents to the work of a wealth of wonderful artists, including Karla Bonoff, Peter Rowan, Nanci Griffith, Lucy Kaplansky, and Kate Wolf, with whom Nina started her musical career. Her album Good Music with Good People features outstanding performances with Jackson Browne, Eliza Gilkyson, and Bruce Cockburn, among others, all taken from the Kate Wolf Festival.

Marcelle Davies-Lashley a Brooklyn native and baby of seven children born to West African parents from Liberia and Sierra Leone respectively is a psalmist extraordinaire. She began singing lead in the church choir at the age of 5 and never stopped, performing as a musical theater artist throughout her childhood. The sultry sound of the warm musical instrument of her voice will melt your heart and feed your soul. Marcelle has travelled to five of seven continents soothing and exciting the world in melody and song with a stage presence and sincerity that is mesmerizing and second to none. Marcelle toured Paris and Turkey with Craig Harris and the Nation of Imagination. Marcelle played the role of the Queen of Sheba in the national and international tour of Robert Wilson's opera The Temptation of Saint Anthony by Gustave Flaubert with the amazing libretto written by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon. Marcelle with her band have set the stage on fire at the Brooklyn Academy of Music Café, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Joe's Pub in New York City, and Freight and Salvage in California. Marcelle is featured as a percussionist with the hypnotizing skills of her tambourine on Toshi Reagon's Have You Heard and on Carl Hancock Rux's Cornbread, Cognac and Collard Green Revolution as a featured vocalist. She has rendered her musical gift to the background vocals of Case, BeBe and Cece Winans Greatest Hits and Liz Wright to name a few. Marcelle released her first solo project of many to come titled "Easy to Love" in 2014 available on CD Baby. The transformative spirit, which is Marcelle, can take you away into the land of music most loving and beautiful. Marcelle had the honor of being the mistress of ceremony and support vocalist for the Jazz Foundation of America's Gala Performance at the historically acclaimed Apollo Theater in the spring of 2012. Marcelle was the featured vocalist for WNYC's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration "Where Do We Go From Here" at the Apollo Theater. Marcelle has worked as a musician coloring and making everyone else sound good lending background vocals with Angelique Kidjo, Bono and Macy Gray. South Africa, London, Italy, Germany, Australia, France, Portugal, New York City and the universe is better for the likes of the music from the depth and gospel jazz soul fusion of Marcelle Davies-Lashley.

Dec 1, 8pm to 10pm, Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley