Festival 2018

 John Santos Sextet at Berkeley World Music Festival 2016.  Photo by Guillermo Prado  http://www.8point2.com/

John Santos Sextet at Berkeley World Music Festival 2016. Photo by Guillermo Prado http://www.8point2.com/


Berkeley World Music Festival 2018

The free 15th Annual Berkeley World Music Festival celebrates song, music and dance from a wealth of cultures, Friday night through Sunday, June 1-3. Some of Bay Area's finest artists perform in various locations mainly within the Telegraph Avenue neighborhood near UC Berkeley.  Friday night, the Festival opens with a kick-off party at La Peña Cultural Center. The party journey's through Reggaton, from it's Puerto Rican roots to dance hall music ending with cutting edge spins of Latin DJ's.

Saturday & Sunday world artists converge on Telegraph Avenue.   It’s a wonderful mix of music outdoors and in cafés, Noon – 9 pm.  Amoeba Music’s featured concert in People’s Park with crafts fair is Saturday, Noon – 6 pm. Visitors are in for a rare treat when headliners Fanna-Fi-Allah take center stage with authentic and exhilarating Qawwali Sufi music. Then two special evening performances at Café Milano and Raleigh’s Pub highlight pivotal musicians of international renown. The multi-layered Fula Brothers:  Mali legend Mamadou Sidibe with guitar master Walter Straus and Trance Mission Duo with Stephen Kent, the world’s premiere exponent of the didjeridu, and the incomparable sax player Beth Custer.

The Saturday night party at Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Avenue celebrates the Festival’s 15th anniversary with an all-free cross-cultural concert performance of percussion of the feet and body from the world’s great music traditions from Africa, Spain and the Americas.

Sunday, the Festival steps onto "Sunday Streets Berkeley" on Telegraph where the Avenues become pedestrian plazas for folks to gather round community music groups and family fun activities. Sadza Marimba  with guest appearance of Julia Chigamba opens the Festival at noon performing the music & dance of the Shona people of Zimbabwe.  The musical feast continues throughout the day with music traditions as diverse as China's Spirit Music Ensemble (Guzheng Zithers), Sikh Heritage Symphony (North Indian Classical), Simcha Trio (Klezmer) and Vukani Mawethu Choir (South African Harmonies / Gospel). Street artist treasure Michael Masley and the back porch  music by Harlan James Bluegrass Band (Traditional Music & Song) and even a marching band may pop-up.

Not to be missed is Sunday’s afternoon headliner Bay Area Timba All Stars with premiere Cuban singer Fito Reinoso playing a medley of Salsa, Rumba & Son. North Bay’s award winning high-energy band  Dgiin, delivers French Gypsy Funk for a memorable finale. With Berkeley united in music, plus a multitude of activities, as bubbles, juggling, and even a giant chess game throughout the weekend, there’s something for everyone! For more info, visit the day-of-event info booth at Telegraph and Haste.

Festival sponsors include Amoeba Music, Askhenaz Music & Dance Community Center, Berkeley Community Media, City of Berkeley, East Bay Express, East Bay Media, KBBF 89.1FM, KPFA 94.1FM, La Peña Cultural Center, Telegraph Business Improvement District and UC Berkeley.