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The free 12th Annual Berkeley World Music Festival returns to Telegraph Avenue Saturday, June 13th, Noon – 9 pm. Some of the Bay Area’s finest artists present a dazzling array of continuous music in Telegraph Avenue cafes and shops, and at the People’s Park concert (1-6 pm) sponsored by Amoeba Music. The Festival celebrates global unity, bringing together cultures as far-reaching as Middle Eastern Jewish, Arabic, Roma “Gypsy,” Colombian, Asian and African. The best starting point for visitors is the event information booth located on Telegraph Avenue at Haste Street.
The all-star concert at People’s Park opens with Soji & the Afrobeat Band. Soji Odukogbe attracted acclaim originally as lead guitarist for the great Fela Kuti. Next up is The Georges Lammam Ensemble, led by a violin virtuoso presenting an all-Arabic show with exotic dancers. The final act is the Oakland based Candelaria, who fuses Afro-Colombian, cumbia and reggae into a spectacular new form that moves the South American cumbia phenomenon onto the world stage. People’s Park festivities include a colorful crafts fair and 12:30 pm exhibition performance by the All nations Singers ending with audience members invited to participate in Native American Social dancing.
A musical feast will be served throughout the day at various Telegraph Avenue venues. Safra opens the Festival at the Cafe Mediterraneum at Noon with spirited music and songs of the Mizrahi (Middle Eastern Jews). Jesse Autumn & Shelley Phillips offer a Celtic and Scandinavian concert with woodwinds & double strung harps at Musical Offerings. As Tres Meminas (“The Three Girls”), playing Bossa Nova & Brazilian Jazz, transform Remy’s Mexican Restaurant into an Iberian music hall. Moe’s Books provides a backdrop for Ultra World Duo’s bamboo flutes and Chinese zither. KPFA host Stephen Kent, the world’s premiere exponent of the didjeridu, performs trance music at the YWCA gym on Bancroft. Pakistani legend Riffat Sultana shares songs from Qawwali Sufi to Punjabi pop at Café Milano. Rumen Shopov & Edessa (Romani Balkan Music) is the Festival finale at “The Village” (2556 Telegraph Avenue) led by multi-instrumentalist Rumen Shopov, one of the greatest living players of Bulgarian and Turkish tapan drumming.
Telegraph Avenue will offer several music scenes. Zimbabwean performer and educator Julia Chigamba, will invite visitors into a circle to play marimba dance music on guest instruments. Spirit of ’29, a Dixieland Jazz band, provides another opportunity to dance in the streets. Michael Masley’s “kalimbalom” adds celestial sounds to Telegraph. With an abundance of music plus a crafts fair and a “Kids’ Zone”, there’s something for everyone!