$12 – $15

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Ashkenaz

1317 San Pablo Ave

Berkeley, CA 94702

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The Bay Area’s direct link to Algerian Berber culture, music and dance until he moved to Portland some years ago, Moh Alileche and his Ensemble return to Ashkenaz, playing traditional and modern music of North Africa for listening and dancing, with songs coming from Alileche’s five CDs. The band will be joined by guest musicians for tonight’s performance.

The group also plays some popular tunes from Alileche’s Algerian homeland of Kabylia. The Ensemble features Alileche on lead vocals and the mondol (a stringed instrument), flutist Kevin Cloud, Tim A. Fuson on bass and bendir (North African frame drum), John Waller on hand drums, Diana Strong on accordion and bendir, guitarist Dan Fries, and Matt Wright playing banjo and oud.

Moh Alileche’s music celebrates the culture he was born into – the Amazigh (pronounced AM-uh-zeer) people, also known colloquially as Berber – who were North Africa’s indigenous inhabitants for thousands of years before Islam and Arab conquest and who still make up one-third of Algeria’s population. Alileche grew up in the mountainous Kabylia region of northeast Algeria and began playing music as a child with a single-stringed instrument made from aluminum can. Now he plays the mondol, a ten-string mandolin-like instrument, and sings. Moving to the East Bay in 1990, he shared both his music and culture, neither given much attention in mainstream America. In addition to original compositions, Alileche and his band perform reworkings of traditional North African Amazigh songs, mixing instrumentals and vocal numbers on an array of topics. Alileche moved to Oregon several years ago, but still makes annual pilgrimages to Ashkenaz.

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Ashkenaz

1317 San Pablo Ave

Berkeley, CA 94702

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