Second Annual Berkeley World Music Weekend
PRESS: World Music Weekend on Telegraph By
Special to the Berkeley
Daily Planet Friday, June 3, 2005
From tango to reggae, Big Bones’ blues to Celtic rock. With the
sound of SteelDrums, electronics, Indian flute, hip hop and musical
saw the second annual Berkeley World Music Weekend will make a joyous
noise on and around Telegraph Avenue during this weekend, all for free
(except a Saturday night showat Larry Blake’s for $8), with a
little bit more than something for everybody—from everywhere.
With 27 performances featuring more than 70 musicians at over a dozen
venues (including People’s Park), World Music Weekend goes into
its second year with a great deal of ambition and local talent. “The
Taarka Quartet is the only non-Bay Area group we’ve booked,”
says event organizer Gianna Ranuzzi, who described the band’s
music as Gypsy hypno-jazz. “They’re playing both days and
have been great to work with.
The musicians advise us on the shows, tell me what worked for them and
what didn’t last year, turn me on to the best people to bring
in, then throw their own parties by bringing in friends and special
guests to jam at their performances.”Ranuzzi said one of the
best aspects of the music weekend is that people can enjoy the avenue
and see how beautiful People’s Park can be.
The shows begin at noon Saturday with Zulu Spear’s Khumbala Dance
Company. A double concert with Reggae City Band and Groove.Org will
play in People’s Park from 3-5 p.m. Other performances in and
around cafes and businesses include La Peña favorite Rafael Manriquez,
as well as saw player Morgan Cowin and others at Julie’s Healthy
Cafe. Salaat will play Arabic and Turkish Sufi music at Rasputin Music.
Spirit of Ireland, featuring Melanie O’Reilly at Raleigh’s.
Glenn Morgan will play at Cody’s on his hammer dulcimer.
Other shows around the avenue include The Shots (an Irish/Bluegrass/Cajun
band), Peter MacDonough and Quiet Dignity (paying Brazilian-Afro-Cuban
music), Alan Smithline (on acoustic Steel Guitar), Bokei Steel Drums,
and Islands Of Fire Drum Ensemble.
Also on Saturday, Laurie Chastain on fiddle and Ed Sherry on guitar,
mandolin, and bouzouki will play at Baguette at 5 p.m. with a reading
of Julia Vinograd’s poem, “Limbo Town,” about Berkeley.
Sunday’s music begins at noon, with harmonica ace Big Bones on
the plaza in front of Cody’s, while Cortez Harmon will play Latin
jazz trumpet with his ensemble at the Durant Food Court. Annette Bauer
will play the North Indian sarod at The Musical Offering at 1 p.m.,
while Fredi Bloom sings traditional Jewish Song at C’Est Cafe.
Blues and Americana
This Old Band plays on the street, and Sandeep Bhatt sings devotional
and Bollywood with Robin Sukhadia. Others include Jeff Whittier on Indian
flute, and The Toids (New Balkan).
Sunday also will bring Venezuelan rhythms with flute Snake Trio at the
Beau Sky Hotel at 2 p.m. and DJ Cheb i Sabbah, who plays an African,
Arabic, Indian mix, with a dancer at 4 p.m. at Amoeba. The festival
closes with Tango No. 9 at The Village at 6 p.m.
“Many of these musicians are trained in a classical tradition,
carrying it further through improvisation,” Ranuzzi said. “They’re
rooted in that, but are also entertainers and this is an intimate event
where the performers are available; you can talk to them.