Doors and Folkdancing at 6:00 pm; Welcome, presentations, and music at 7:00 pm; Caribbean Allstars at 9:00 pm
Join us to celebrate with gratitude the life of Ashkenaz founder David Nadel, as we commemorate the 20th year of his passing. The evening includes Balkan folkdancing, a City of Berkeley “Thank you David Nadel” presentation by City Councilmember Linda Maio, and an evening of music with Hali Hammer and dancing to the Caribbean Allstars.
Though it’s been two decades since Nadel was killed, he is still remembered and his influence deeply felt throughout the communities he sparked, most strongly in the survival and continuing vitality of Ashkenaz as a place where people of all cultures and beliefs unite in dance. This tribute event reflects Ashkenaz’s diversity and our spirit – and his vision – of bringing people together through music and dance.
This special night begins with folkdancing to recorded Balkan music, the tradition that first inspired Nadel to open a dance hall, and a potluck dinner. Richard Kaplan will offer the opening prayer and welcome. Kaplan was not only Nadel’s best friend but also one of the first live performers at the club. Kaplan is a cantor, teacher, and ethnomusicologist who has performed professionally as a singer.
A photo album slide show will cover highlights of Nadel’s life and the People’s Park struggle, followed by Maio’s presentation of the City Council proclamation. Singer Hali Hammer will offer a short set of her folk songs, followed by dancing to the Caribbean Allstars, who will perform Nadel’s song “Fight Like Moses” in their set.
The Caribbean Allstars are pioneers in the Bay Area reggae scene and longtime regulars at Ashkenaz. They not only play Jamaican reggae with a traditional electric bass-drums-guitars-keyboards lineup, but also add steel drums to bring in South Caribbean calypso and soca styles of Trinidad and Tobago. To that mix the Allstars add reggae, African highlife and world beat.
Ashkenaz is deeply rooted in tradition, from Nadel’s passion for Balkan and East European folkdancing to his designing the building to replicate wooden synagogues of Eastern Europe, as homage to those that were destroyed during World War II, and naming the dance hall Ashkenaz in honor of his European Jewish ancestors. Since Nadel opened Ashkenaz in 1973, the club has served the greater East Bay with dance music from every continent, turned its space over to a myriad of dance and music classes and workshops, and opened its doors to fundraisers for many local causes. Following Nadel’s death in 1996, staff, musicians, and supporters came together to keep Ashkenaz alive and turn it into a nonprofit community center.