Working Girl Blues: American Roots Songs from the Female Perspective
- Ashkenaz, Berkeley CA
Includes swing dance lesson at 7:30 pm.
You may want to bring a beach towel tonight, to mop up the sweat from the dancing, as two of our most energized bands pull out all the stops for the Red & Blue Ball to help us celebrate Ashkenaz’s anniversary: “40 Years Dancing for Peace.” Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers join with Quinn DeVeaux & the Blue Beat Revue in a show that sounds as patriotic as it is colorful.
Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers keep adding new elements to their timeless blues-jazz-swing repertoire, including new songs as well as rotating the hits and forgotten gems from their three CDs. The most recent release, “Miss Smith to You!” provides fresh takes on classics for the dance floor, including “Miss Brown to You,” “I'm Not Evil,” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”
Growing up in Southern California and the Philippines, Smith was influenced early by such singers as Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Bessie Smith, and Esther Phillips. Since 1989, before swing became a national craze, she and her band (led by co-founder and keyboardist Chris Siebert) have been making music as sharp and irresistible as her period costumes that recall the pinup girls of the Forties. Two decades later they are still the Bay Area’s hottest swing attraction, steeped in not just the songs but also the feel that makes them the real deal. Big, bluesy-voiced Smith has deservedly raked in national attention from network television to NPR, and Johnny Otis proclaimed that “she and her band are a breath of fresh air!” Multiple award winners, Smith and her Skillet Lickers present not only the best-dressed but also one of the most exciting shows of East Coast Swing and Lindy Hop dance music, as well as sultry torch songs.
Quinn DeVeaux & the Blue Beat Revue present a dance-oriented mix of modern soul, gospel, and folk with some rootsy blues thrown in for balance. The septet is a true revue, complete with female vocal harmony singers! DeVeaux draws from New Orleans soul, the ’60s folk revival, and ’50s Chicago blues and rock. Most of DeVeaux’s music is original, some from his CDs, “Lions on Lakes” and the band’s new “Under Covers.” You hear upright bass and drums lock into a rolled drop beat, then the piano licks up and around the groove, then a drip-dried guitar jumps in followed by three lovely voices making harmonies ’round the rhythm, and then on top comes DeVeaux with his sugarbush tones of joy. Along with the mesemerizing DeVeaux on guitar and vocals, the Blue Beat Revue features bassist Kenan Obrien, drummer Matty Mack, pianist Chris Siebert, and backing singers the Quinntettes (Melanie Blythe, Latriece Love, and Ahsa Ti).
Ashkenaz is the East Bay's home to world music & dance... established 1973; nonprofit since 1997. We are always all ages! Kids 12 & under are admitted free unless otherwise noted.
All of our online ticket sales are will call. We will have a list of ticket buyers at the door; you do not need to bring a printout of your ticket/order confirmation.
Doors open 30 minutes before showtime, or 30 minutes before the dance lesson if there is one, unless otherwise noted.
Ashkenaz's Café opens when doors open and offers beer (draft and bottled), wine, kombucha, juices, sodas, coffee and tea, and snacks and light meals (all vegetarian, mostly organic).