It’s Jamaican reggae festival time at Ashkenaz, as the legendary Yellowman brings his Sagittarius Band, with Santa Cruz band Ancestree making its Ashkenaz debut to open the evening, and award-winning Selecta I-Vier (of Jah Warrior Shelter Hi-Fi) providing the DJ grooves before and between the live music!
Jamaica’s charismatic vocal master Yellowman returns. One of the most intriguing of reggae artists from the 1980s, dancehall DJ and toaster Yellowman (also known as DJ Yellowman and King Yellowman) is far from nostalgic. His songs are as hard-hitting today as when they were written, and his performance is spellbinding. Born Winston Foster and raised in an orphanage, Yellowman attracted attention for his toasting at a Kingston, Jamaica, talent contest. A series of hit records in the ’80s established his international reputation, and his powerful vocal delivery was a big influence on the development of hip-hop. Many rappers and hip-hop stars (from Eazy-E to Tupac Shakur) sampled his recordings and lifted rhythm tracks, and Yellowman collaborated with such acts as Public Enemy and Run-DMC. The rudest dancehall toaster of the ’80s, Yellowman made as many enemies as fans with his controversial (although often tongue-in-cheek) lyrics. And his attitude was as influential on hip-hop culture as his music.
A bout with jaw cancer in 1986 took him out of action for a period, but upon recovery he took over the Ragga scene, and by the mid-’90s his music became driven by social and spiritual concerns. Coming from a culture that looked down on albinos, he struggled as a youngster to overcome adversity and has been a role model for all with albinism. His witticisms are as cheeky, spirited, and intelligent as ever and are delivered with his customary sharp, melodic style. Yellowman remains one of the busiest touring reggae stars. He returns to Ashkenaz near the end of his cross-country American tour with his veteran ensemble, the Sagittarius Band.
In its first appearance at Ashkenaz, Ancestree is an explosively spiritual roots reggae band complete with full horn section, using its music to engage people of all ages with the goals of spiritual healing, equal rights and justice. The group has been busy on the festival circuit, from the Whole Earth Festival (in Davis) to the Austin (Texas) Reggae Festival. Based in Santa Cruz, Ancestree includes musicians from Israel, Mexico, California’s Sierra Nevada, Santa Ana, Oakland, and Santa Cruz. With influences ranging from the Beach Boys to Rage Against the Machine, and inspired by Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, the band plays music from its four CDs of original songs. Ancestree is guitarist-singer Tomas Gomez, lead guitarist and singer Tom Maimon, Alia Fintz on saxophone and vocals, saxophonist Brendan McKee, bassist Christopher J Carr, drummer Jack Hanley, keyboardist John Berzeekee, and percussionist Alex Arellano Olvera.
When & Where
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).