music in the park san jose

.Calendar Picks: Week of Jan. 18-24

music in the park san jose




The Center for Race & Gender and the Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley are hosting a conversation and lunch with Mohamedou Ould Slahi, the author of Guantánamo Diary. Mohamedou’s memoir sheds light on his harrowing experiences as a 14-year detainee at Guantánamo Bay, enduring “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” during his detention until he was freed in 2016 with the aid of attorney Nancy Hollander. No charges were ever filed. His unredacted memoir became a national bestseller and adapted into the 2021 film The Mauritanian. Slahi will join virtually to discuss his life post-Guantánamo. Moderated by Oakland visual artist Amir Aziz. – SONYA BENNETT-BRANDT

INFO: 12:45pm, 110 Law Building, 215 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, and remote. Free. 510.642.8276.



Simon’s resume reads almost like a riddle: What do you get when you plant a former NASA engineer, slam poet, game designer, nonprofit CEO and museum director into an off-grid community in the Santa Cruz Mountains and allow them to write? In the case of this multifaceted phenomenon, you get a debut novel titled Mother-Daughter Murder Night—a New York Times bestseller, Reese’s Book Club pick and Barnes & Noble Best of 2023 pick. The murder mystery features three generations of the Rubicon family, all women and amateur sleuths, solving a murder in their NorCal coastal town. There’s also a fascinating exploration of the thick web of intergenerational family connections binding these bold, funny, brave and independent female Rubicons. – LOU FANCHER

INFO: 7pm, Books Inc., 1344 Park St., Alameda. Free. 510.522.2226.




At age 29, Marco Anthony Archer, a.k.a. Phora, has already lived several dreams and a few nightmares. The Anaheim rapper began his career as a tattoo artist, embracing his love of graffiti and other forms of street art to develop an in-demand aesthetic. He leveraged his success to break into an arguably even more competitive realm, signing with Warner Bros. in 2017 to record his debut album, Yours Truly Forever. There is a flip side to all these triumphs: Phora’s content is often about his struggles with depression, as well as the trauma of surviving two shootings and a stabbing that nearly killed him at age 15. – ADDIE MAHMASSANI

INFO: 8pm, New Parish, 1743 San Pablo Ave., Oakland. $25. 510.227.8177.



A fateful meeting in Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble brought together Leslie Bonnett, Briget Boyle and Juliana Graffagna, the three musicians of True Life Trio. What began as a shared love of Balkan and Eastern European folk music blossomed into a global sonic exploration as the group added more and more regions to their repertoire. With their signature breathtaking harmonies and intricate arrangements, TLT has recorded two full-length albums spanning from “Bulgaria to the Bayou,” as they like to say. They celebrate their latest release, At My Window, with a special concert this weekend. – AM

INFO: 8pm, The Back Room, 1984 Bonita Ave., Berkeley. $25. 510.381.1997.




After touring seven months—almost to the day—since the release of their eighth studio album, the Expendables are ending their tour in Berkeley. Fans of the reggae rockers highly anticipated Pleasure Point, their first studio album of new music in two years. It also marked another milestone for the band. While they’re still with Ineffable Records—a Santa Cruz-based indie label—Pleasure Point is their first album to be self-recorded and self-produced, using skills learned during the 2020 lockdowns and ones that delivered dividends, literally. This Saturday, make sure to hit the local dispensary before going to the show to prepare for the crucial stoner songs, which is, like, every song, man. – MAT WEIR

INFO: 8:30pm, The Cornerstone, 2367 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. $26/adv, $30/door. 510.214.8600.



The Wooten Brothers (Victor, Joseph, Roy and Regi) are reuniting for their cross-country “Sweat” tour. For over four decades, this band of brothers has shattered musical boundaries between jazz, funk, soul, R&B, rock and bluegrass. And, each brother has a rich, multi-hyphenate career of his own: Victor Wooten is a five-time Grammy Award winner and acclaimed bassist; Joseph is a keyboard maestro, composer and orchestrator; Roy, a.k.a. “Futureman,” is a Grammy Award-winning percussionist known for inventing surreal instruments; and Regi, a.k.a. “The Teacher,” is an innovative guitar player and celebrated music teacher in Nashville. Together, they create a forceful, funky celebration of brotherhood and musical invention. – SB

INFO: 8pm, The UC Theater, 2036 University Ave., Berkeley. $35. 510.356.4000.




You gotta love the unpinnable McKay: pop, jazz, rock, folk and blues delivered by the voice of a human chameleon who can croon a ballad to melt hearts or release a swift torrent of edgy-clever lyrics easily equal to the speed and content of the best rap artists around—all while strumming her signature ukulele or stroking piano keys with the nuance and vigor of Clara Schumann, Mary Lou Williams or Nina Simone. McKay arrives laden with accomplishments, awards and accolades, but more importantly, with brilliant musicianship and a message that never feels curmudgeonly or lacks warmth, humor and a good dose of sneaky, provocative feminism. – LF

INFO: 7:30pm, Ivy Room, 860 San Pablo Ave., Albany. $22/adv, $25/door. 510.526.5888.




Bay Area jazz fans got a little spoiled during Miguel Zenón’s nearly two-decade run with the SFJAZZ Collective (2004-2019), which offered regular opportunities to see the incendiary saxophonist in action as a player and composer. In his mid-20s, when he became a founding member of the octet, the altoist quickly gained recognition as a creative force reimagining the folkloric music of Puerto Rico via a post-bop lens. With dozens of awards and honors, including a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, he returns to the Bay Area with his superlative quartet featuring Venezuelan pianist Luis Perdomo, Austrian bassist Hans Glawischnig and Puerto Rican drummer Henry Cole. – ANDREW GILBERT

INFO: 8pm, Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero West, Oakland. $29-$69. 510.238.9200.



It’s common for musical artists to tour the anniversary of an album, especially if it’s a fan favorite. But what about a tour to commemorate the anniversary of a single song? That’s the kind of power only a celebrity like the top-selling female artist in Hawaii can wield, and Amy Hanaiali’i is just that woman. This Tuesday, catch her at Freight & Salvage as she tours on the 25th anniversary of “Pālhua,” a modern classic in the world of hula dancing, which she cowrote with the late William Kahaiali’i. Hanaiali’i has sung alongside rock royalty like Carlos Santana and Joe Cocker and for world leaders such as President Obama and the Dalai Lama. – MW

INFO: 8pm, Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley. $30/adv, $35/door. 510.644.2020.


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music in the park san jose
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