Berkeley Arts Festival Calendar



Eclectic mix of funk, rock, afro, jazz and world tinged grooves.

May 31, 11:45am to 2:45pm, Cheese Board Pizza 1512 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA

Big B and the Snake Oil Saviors

Classic country music with local crooner, Big B.

May 31, 4:45pm to 7:45pm, Cheese Board Pizza 1512 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA

The Bob Roden Quintet.

Cafe Leila Come share an evening of straight-ahead jazz with The Bob Roden Quintet. BRQ plays classic jazz tunes plus jazz-inspired versions of tunes you're not likely to hear anywhere else. It's always fun.

May 31, 6:30pm to 8:30pm, Cafe Leila, 1724 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley

SPD Presents: el李Z E. Conner & Sep Mashiahof

SPD PRESENTS is a bi-monthly reading series with the aim of fostering relationships between emerging writers and readers in our national small press community.

el李Z is a visual artist and writer who works in the space between the sacred and disembodied, a confined space which reveals nuances of dispossession, migrancy, the non/human, and intersubjectivity. She works through the archive of Chinese racialization, seeking to embody physically and poetically its discrepancies, erasures, and violences in order to provoke new possibilities of the subjective

E Conner is a writer and artist who lives in Oakland with her dog and friends. She is the editor of The Weakly a monthly Bay Area magazine.

Sep Mashiahof is a trans-femme Iranian pony girl and no wave princess who writes about men who fucked with her, diasporic tremors, and how it's actually cool to not be taken seriously by theory mans because the dumb bitches you hang out with are cooler.

May 31, 7pm to 9pm, Moe's Books, 2476 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley

The Live Oaks, Rubber Tramp, Erik Brock Band, Eric Long

May 31, 8pm to 10pm, The Starry Plough Pub - 3101 Shattuck Avenue - Berkeley

The Blues Broads

The Blues Broads - Dorothy Morrison, Tracy Nelson, Angela Strehli, and Annie Sampson - are the real deal, with deep roots in gospel and rock and roll, country and funk, and most especially the blues. Dorothy co-wrote and sang gospel's all-time bestseller, "Oh, Happy Day." She's sung with Van Morrison, Boz Scaggs, Rita Coolidge, and Simon & Garfunkel. Tracy co-founded the legendary group Mother Earth and shared the stage with Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and the Grateful Dead. Annie starred in the original San Francisco production of Hair, co-founded the popular rock group Stoneground, and has recorded with everyone from Elvin Bishop to Sammy Hagar, Taj Mahal to Elvis Costello. Angela came up in the Austin bar scene, learning from such blues greats as Muddy Waters and Otis Rush, Albert King and Albert Collins, Buddy Guy and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The point is, each of these women brings a full and rich lifetime of experience to the stage, and it shows in the depth of their performance.

The Blues Broads are backed by some of some of the best musicians in the business, Gary Vogensen on guitar, Steve Ehrmann on bass, Mike Emerson on keyboards, and Paul Revelli on drums. Honorary Blues Broad Deanna Bogart has played with Joe Louis Walker, Gatemouth Brown, the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Review, and Carole King. All the broads are great on their own, and they'll each take a turn in the spotlight, but it's when they sing together that the whole becomes even greater than the sum of the parts. Their last show at the Freight sold out, so get your tickets early for this blues bonanza. It should be a spectacular night.

DJ Harry Duncan
Harry Duncan produces and hosts In The Soul Kitchen, the popular, weekly Roots & Rhythm radio show broadcast live on KCSM, the Bay Area's jazz station.

Respected industry-wide as an innovator, Duncan serves up his own Roots & Rhythm mix: a rich, danceable musical stew of soul, funk, blues, roots reggae, ska and jazz plus African, Latin and select World music when spinning live and while In The Soul Kitchen.

This music mix gives audiences, artists and promoters a welcome alternative to the kinds of in-house music often played at festivals and concerts.

Duncan has appeared with a wide variety of artists including Aretha Franklin, Tedeschi-Trucks Band, Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples, The Roots, George Clinton and P-Funk, Bettye LaVette, Trombone Shorty, Irma Thomas, Dr. John, The Original Meters, Rebirth Brass Band, Dumpstaphunk, Cory Henry, Antibalas, Bombino, India.Arie, Lizz Wright, Charlie Hunter, Tower of Power, Boz Scaggs, Femi Kuti, Steel Pulse, Madness and The Specials.

May 31, 8pm to 10pm, Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley

Hard Songs *Note: actual end time may vary.*

Four of the world's best singers of early music perform monstrously difficult polyphony that hasn't been heard since the fifteenth century. The concert is part of a symposium on the concept of difficulty organized by UC Berkeley Professor Emily Zazulia.

Cut Circle recaptures the gritty, intense experience of singing early music. They embrace confident singing and strong contrasts and take risks. The group is committed to the music emotionally and physically, aiming to recreate fifteenth-century musical experiences.

May 31, 8pm to 9pm, Hertz Concert Hall

Roberta Donnay & the Prohibition Mob Band

Join us for this historic, educational and highly entertaining show!

~ The Prohibition Mob Band pays homage to Louis Armstrong's Hot Five and Hot Seven Band's early recordings ~

Award-winning vocalist and songwriter Roberta Donnay is that rare species of musician who almost lives in another time: she and her Prohibition Mob Band exist to revive the Jazz Age of America.

Performing tunes reminiscent of Satchmo, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith and more, this group is a festival favorite. With a Downbeat Magazine "Best Album" listing for 2015's Bathtub Gin, My Heart Belongs To Satchmo the record features John R. Burr, Sam Bevan (bass), Deszon Claiborne (drums), Rich Armstrong, Sheldon Brown, Mike Rinta, and Matt Baxter.

This show will feature Richard Nelson Hall (piano), Simon Planting (bass), Mark Lee (drums), Rich Armstrong (cornet/trumpet), and Danny Lubin-Laden (trombone).

Donnay's interest in roots-jazz music was inspired from the radio, performing with Dick Oxtot's Golden Age Jazz Band, recording with legendary jazz producer Orrin Keepnews, researching lost and obscure material from the Jazz Age, and touring 10 1/2 years as singer/percussionist with Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks.

As a performer, Donnay has opened for, or performed with, Bob Dorough, David Grisman, Bela Fleck, Bruce Foreman, John Hammond, Dr. John, Christian McBride, Maria Muldaur, Lewis Nash, Joe Sample, David Sanborn, Leon Russell, Bonnie Raitt, Rickie Lee Jones, Lee Ritenour, Booker T., Tuck & Patti, and more.

"Roberta Donnay is a Jazz Age preservationist, guardian of Depression-era sounds, and extender of traditions, but her music isn't covered with cobwebs or dated in any way. - All About Jazz

"Roberta Donnay & the Prohibition Mob Band present a modern take of the hot swingin' jazz and sultry blues of the 1920s and 30s that will make you want to dance all night!" - Verdi Club

"With her singularly enticing sound, few contemporary vocalists are as well suited to dustily vintage material as jazz-blues stylist Roberta Donnay.." - JAZZ TIMES

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. 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!

May 31, 8pm to 10pm, The Back Room Music, 1984 Bonita Ave, Berkeley

Nell & Jim Band

Nell & Jim Band are thrilled to celebrate their latest album release, Steel, at the California Jazz Conservatory. Audience members will listen to their latest originals off of their album as well as their traditional repertoire!

The Nell & Jim Band joins five genre-busting artists together, bringing their audiences joyful music infused with folk, bluegrass, Americana, roots, swing, and jazz. Alt-Roots, Folkbilly-whatever you call it-it's fresh and original music delivered by an all-star band featuring Jim Nunally on guitar, banjo & vocals, Nell Robinson on flute & vocals, Jim Kerwin on bass fiddle, Jon Arkin on percussion, and Rob Reich on accordion & keyboards.

Band Members and Instrumentation
An all-star band backs Nell and Jim with harmonies and virtuoso instrumentals. Jim Kerwin, on bass fiddle, is recognized by fans of musicians ranging from Jerry Garcia to Yo-Yo Ma (and he's performed with both artists). As David Grisman's go-to bass player for over 30 years, Kerwin can be heard on the iconic recordings Garcia and Grisman did for their band Old & In The Way. In addition to Ma, Kerwin has backed some of the finest fiddlers in the world, including Stefan Grappeli. Jon Arkin plays percussion and never fails to please; his steady beat and sonic creativity have drawn world jazz talents - including Gene Perla and Lee Konitz - to hire him. New to the ensemble this year is Rob Reich on accordion and keys. Reich's broad appeal as a composer, arranger, and performer keeps him busy with everything from Circus Bella, to acoustic chamber ensemble Tin Hat, to his new album of originals Swing Left.

Artist/Group Bio(s) Listen to the music of the Nell & Jim Band, and you will be transported back to a time when artists freely spoke of their thoughts and beliefs. In a sense, Steel, their brand-new album, continues the time-honored tradition of musical activism that made such acts as Janis Ian or Peter, Paul and Mary so unforgettable. Whether it be the title cut (an ode to Jim Nunally's former life as a welder) or "Speed Limit," a song about the fact that life doesn't have to end at 40, the Nell & Jim Band own their story by continuing to release original and thought-provoking music. More information on the Nell & Jim website.

Artist/Group Website(s)

May 31, 8pm to 10pm, Rendon Hall/Fiddler Annex @ California Jazz Conservatory 2040 Addison Street, Berkeley

Ryan Rosete

When Ryan is not hanging out with his family or working on engineering projects, he is writing original music influenced from various genres. He was the former lead singer and songwriter for the Southern California band, Polysonic Soul, before moving back to the Bay Area. Now that he has settled back in his hometown, Ryan wants to continue to share his passion for music to everyone around

May 31, 8pm to 10pm, Caffe Chiave, 2500 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley

Eifman Ballet: The Pygmalion Effect (United States Premiere)

Eifman Ballet, Cal Performances

For 40 years, across a shifting political climate for artists in his native Russia, the defiantly controversial choreographer Boris Eifman has created "works that hinge on extreme theatricality, acrobatic pas de deux, and spectacular effects" (The New Yorker) for his Saint Petersburg company. In The Pygmalion Effect, the company dances a brand-new ballet inspired by George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, set to a score by Johann Strauss Jr.

May 31, 8pm to 10pm, Zellerbach Hall

Bluegrass Pride Presents: A Gathering of the Hillbilly Tribes Featuring Country Business, Snap Jackson and the Knock on Wood Players and KC & the Moonshine Band

A night of Square Dancing, Bluegrass and Country to recharge your redneck

The Country Business plays the classic country and honky-tonk hits that get folks moving and keep them thirsty. The band features a stellar lineup of seasoned bay area musicians, including Pat Gagen on lead guitar (Purple Heart), Zach Sharpe on electric bass (The Bowties, Supermule, Front Country), Mikiya Matsuda on pedal steel (The Alcatraz Islanders, The Heel Draggers), Andy Lentz on fiddle (High Plains Jamboree, Rita Hosking, Brothers Comatose, The Devil Makes Three), John Willhoite on drums (Purple Heart, Diego's Umbrella), and Danny Chaves on acoustic/baritone guitars and banjo (The Alcatraz Islanders, The Heel Draggers, Dustbowl Revival).

Snap Jackson & the Knock on Wood Players is an award winning acoustic trio hailing from Stockton, California. These three gentlemen effortlessly blend Americana, bluegrass, soul, and old time music to create a unique, fresh, and energetic sound. It is obvious from the moment this group takes the stage that they are ready to have a good time! They have been featured on the same bill with such notable acts as Alison Krauss, Old Crow Medicine Show, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Punch Brothers, Della Mae, Steep Canyon Rangers, and Vince Gill, just to name a few. Whether it's a winery, theatre, club, or an outdoor festival, these boys are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Doors at 7:30 pm; Show at 8:00 pm
Tickets are $10-$20 Sliding Scale

May 31, 8pm to 11pm, Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, 1317 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley

Gamelan Sekar Jaya 40th Anniversary Celebration

Gamelan Sekar Jaya returns to SFAIF with a thrilling mix of traditional and contemporary Balinese music and dance! The internationally acclaimed performing arts troupe celebrates its 40th Anniversary under the direction of legendary gamelan composer, I Nyoman Windha, and dance master, I Nyoman Cerita. These two luminaries of the Balinese performing arts lead the 50-member Bay Area company through a dynamic range of Balinese music and dance that resonates in the heart and captures the imagination with its intricacy and depth. This dazzling anniversary show will feature Sekar Jaya's four distinct gamelan ensembles-- the delicate gender wayang quartet, the shimmering bronze angklung and gong kebyar orchestras and the riotous giant bamboo gamelan jegog. The evening includes an unmissable world premiere collaboration created by Pak Windha and Pak Cerita.

Friday May 31st, 8:15 pm
Saturday, June 1st, 2pm

May 31, 8:15pm to 9:30pm, 2 Marina Boulevard, San Francisco