Award-winning band Zulu Spear’s inspired and uplifting African and World Beat dance music returns to Ashkenaz for two full sets of music, beginning with the group performing mostly traditional South African songs and dances in costume, followed by original Zulu Spear songs and South Africa-world beat music rearranged by the band. Working on its next CD, Zulu Spear will include some of its new songs in tonight’s concert.
Zulu Spear was a pioneer and leader in the Bay Area’s World Beat scene of the ’80s, a movement that quickly spread across the country. The band of African and American musicians combined South African rhythms and songs with American rock and blues, using electric guitars and drums, resulting in South African pop music before Paul Simon’s 1986 “Graceland” album popularized the style. Additionally, members presented traditional South African dancing along with the music. The group was created by the late South African expatriate singer-composer-dancer Sechaba Mokeoena and Soweto-born singer Gideon Bendile. In the United States Mokeoena started U-Zulu Dance Theater and, after moving to the Bay Area, he and Bendile formed Zulu Spear to play traditional South African mbaqanga rhythms and harmonies using modern and electric instruments. The band quickly became a Bay Area audience favorite and issued a debut album on conglomerate Capitol Records. Bendile went on to work with such stars as Hugh Masekela, Paul Simon, and Peter Gabriel.
The band reunited a few years ago when Bendile, who was featured in the Walt Disney animated film “The Lion King,” issued a new CD, “Come Over to Our House,” that included tracks from the original band’s unreleased Capitol sessions as well as new music. Featuring most of the original band lineup along with a couple of “new” recruits, the current Zulu Spear is singer-dancers Bendile and Morgan Nhlapo, guitarists Ron van Leeuwaarde and Matthew Lacques, drummer Jerome Leonard, bassist Paajoe Amissah-Aidoo, saxophonist and flutist Adam Beach, keyboardist Scott Vento, and percussionist Moeketsi Kiibe.
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).