San Francisco, in northern California, is one of the most charming cities in the United States. Its multiethnic cosmopolitan atmosphere makes it a great place to visit and find world music. San Francisco is part of what is known by locals as the Bay Area. Various large bridges, including the famous Golden Gate Bridge, connect the city with Berkeley, Oakland, San José, Sausalito and other locations.
The Bay area also includes various locations south of San Francisco such as Santa Cruz and Palo Alto. For mass transit information go to the San Francisco Bay Area Transit site. The Bay Area has a rail system called BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) that is very convenient if you want to avoid the traffic.
For an additional perspective about the San Francisco world music scene, read Jeff Kaliss' article, Sounding Out . . . The San Francisco Bay Area.
Go over to El Cerrito and visit Down Home Music, a great store for American and international roots music. Address: 10341 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito, CA 94530. Phone: +1 510 525-4827, Fax: +1 510 525-2129.
Amoeba Records, is one of the finest independent record stores in the country. There are two stores:
Rasputin Records has several stores. The best are the ones in Berkeley and San José. Both feature new and used world music records.
Record Finder, in the Castro District, has a good world music section. Address: 258 Noe Street, San Francisco, California 94114. Phone: +1 415 431-4443, Fax: +1 415 863-5090. E-mail: RecordFinder@recordfinder-sf.com.
For Indian music go to Shrimati's in Berkeley. Address: 2011 University Ave., Berkeley, CA. Phone: +1 510 548-6220, Fax: +1 510 548-1838. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Semiramis on Mission/26th St. in San Francisco has an excellent selection of Arabic music CDs from many countries.
Street Light Records is a great place for used CDs. It has several stores in the area, including the following:
Village Music, over the Golden Gate Bridge, in Mill Valley, has records, CDs, postcards and other collectibles. Address: 9 E. Blithedale Ave, Mill Valley, CA 94941 USA. Phone: +1 415 388-7400, VillageMus@aol.com
For guitar music, including classical, fingerstyle and flamenco, go to Guitar Solo in San Francisco, a retail shop that features fine quality guitars as well as sheet music, books, CDs, videos, &accessories. Address: 1401 Clement Street, San Francisco. Phone: +1 415 386 0395, Fax: +1 415 386 0445. E-mail: email@example.com
Clarion Music Center has been a fixture for instrument seekers in the Bay Area for many years and is like an instrument museum. It has an excellent collection of traditional Chinese instruments, as well as African and Middle Eastern instruments. Clarion also organizes workshops and features intimate performances for world artists on Friday nights. Address: 816 Sacramento St., San Francisco, CA 94108, USA. Phone: +1 415-391-1317, Fax: +1 415-391-3716. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gryphon Stringed Instruments, in Palo Alto, is a great store for stringed instruments and it also provides numerous workshops. Address: 211 Lambert Avenue, Palo Alto, California. Phones: +1 650-493-2131 &+ 1 888- 493-2131. E-mail: Info@gryphonstrings.com
Guitar Solo in San Francisco has a complete range of guitars, including new and high end used flamenco guitars, high end steel string and classical guitars. It also features sheet music, books, CDs, videos, & accessories. Address: 230 Townsend Street, San Francisco, CA 94107. Phone: +1 415 896 1922, Fax: +1 415 896 1155. E-mail: email@example.com
Fifth String Music Store, in Berkeley, specializes in acoustic instruments and its owner has a great knowledge of bluegrass and Old Time American music. Address: 3051 Adeline, Berkeley, CA. Phone: +1 510 548-8282.
Lark In the Morning, located in the Cannery waterfront marketplace, in san Francisco, has instruments from many parts of the world as well as a mail order and Web site catalog. Address: 2801 Leavenworth St., San Francisco, CA. Phone: +1 415-922-4277. A Music Connection sells stringed musical instruments at discount prices. Daniel Swetlik, (650) 347-3406 or (888) 322-3406, Fax (650-344-1588).
The San Francisco Bay Area is a really good place to listen to world music. KPFA 94.1 FM in Berkeley, has several world music shows. Music of the World is aired Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. till noon. On Mondays the show is hosted by Kutay Derin Kugay, David McBurnie hosts the Tuesday edition, Stephen Kent hosts the Thursday show and David McBurnie produces the Friday show. Phone: +1 (650) 298-8188. The station also has Latin, American roots, reggae and other shows connected with world music.
Another great station is KALW 91.7. The best day for world music is Saturday. Dore Stein produces a excellent and influential radio show, Tangents. There is also bluegrass, Celtic music and folk. Address: San Francisco. 500 Mansell Street, San Francisco, CA 94134. Phone: +1 415- 841-4121.
KUSP, in Santa Cruz, has a world music show produced by Gypsy Flores. The show is broadcast to the central coast of California at several frequencies–88.9, 90.3, 89.3 91.3 &105.9 FM.
KPOO 89.5 FM plays many styles, including reggae, African music, Soul, blues, jazz and Latin. Address: PO Box 423030 San Francisco, CA 94142. Phone: +1 415-346-5373, Fax: 415-346-5173. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
KZSU 90.1 FM broadcasts eclectic programming from the campus of California's Stanford University in Palo Alto. There are numerous world music shows.
KCSM-FM 91.1 is a 24-hour jazz station with programming that includes Latin jazz and blues. Phone: +1 650-574-6586.
KRCB Radio has some folk, roots and world music programming. 91.1 FM in Sonoma and 95.7 cable in Marin County. Address: KRCB Radio and TV, 5850 Labath Avenue, Rohnert Park, CA 94928. Phone: +1 707 585-8522.
KSJS 90.5FM Ground Zero Radio in San Jose State University has world music programming hosted by Jesus Angulo. Tuesday's PST 2:00PM-4:00PM. Office: +1 408-924-4547. E-mail: email@example.com
A good way to look for venues is to check the Pink Section, the entertainment section of the combined SF Examiner/ SF Chronicle weekend edition. And there is also the alternative newspaper East Bay Express. Two of the best places to listen to world music acts are in Berkeley:
Ashkenaz Music and Dance Community Center presents world music and dance. Address: 1317 San Pablo Avenue @ Gilman St., Berkeley, CA 94702 . Show line: +1 510-525-5054 / Office: +1 510-525-5099. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Peña Pachamama is a restaurant and world music club in North Beach, San Francisco. It presents various styles: world beat, Latin, Hawaiian, Middle Eastern, etc. Address: 1630 Powell Street (between Union and Green in North Beach), San Fracisco, CA 94133. Phone: +1 (415) 646-0018, Fax: +1 (415) 646 0066. E-mail: email@example.com.
In Berkeley, La Peña is a Hispanic cultural center that presents salsa, Latin jazz, folk music, world music, rock en español and other styles. Address: 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705. Phone: +1 510-849-2568. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley) has a series called Cal Performances that includes various styles of music, dance and theater. E-mail: email@example.com.
UC Santa Cruz has the UCSC Arts &Lectures program that includes world music and dance performances. Address: D106 Porter, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA. A&L fax: 831.459.4521, A&L e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, UCSC Ticket Office: 831-459-2159, http://events.ucsc.edu/artslecs
Other Universities such as Mills College (Oakland), and Stanford have performing arts series that sometimes include world music.
In San Francisco, the Great American Music Hall presents rock, pop and sometimes world music. Address: 859 O'Farrell Street San Francisco, CA 94109. Phone: +1 415-885-0750, Fax: +1 415-885-5075.
American Roots Music Show is a Sunday afternoon (4-6pm) live music series spotliting local roots artists in bluegrass, cajun, blues, klezmer, celtic, traditional jazz and others. Touring bands are also booked (Open Road and Steve Reily & the Mamou Playboys). The shows are held at The Music Store, a local independent record shop. The Music Store has a small but nice selection of American roots music and world music CDs, vinyl and cassette tapes. If you can't find it they can usually track it down for you. The shows are acoustic, free and open to all ages. The Music Store, 66 West Portal Ave, San Francisco, CA 94127. Phone: +1 415 664-2044.
The Slavonic Cultural Center presents Balkan music and dance concerts. Address: 60 Onondaga Avenue San Francisco, CA 94112. Phone: + 1 510 649-0941.
Elbo Room is a jazz club that also presents salsa concerts. Address: 647 Valencia, San Francisco, CA 94110. Phone: +1 415-552-7788, Fax: +1 415 552-7797. E-mail: email@example.com Yoshi's, in Oakland, is primarily a jazz club but also consistently showcases Latin jazz, world jazz and other cross-cultural ensembles. Address: 510 Embarcadero West, Jack London Square, Oakland. Phone: +1 510-238-9200.
Kimball's East is a live music venue and restaurant in Emeryville, featuring jazz, blues, R&B, salsa and swing. Address: 6005 Shellmound St., Emeryville. Phone: +1 510-658-2555.
The Sweetwater Saloon in Mill Valley presents bluegrass, jazz, Cajun and Zydeco concerts. 153 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941. Phone: +1 415 388-2820, Fax: +1 415 388-0316. E-mail: Info@sweetwatersaloon.
Alberto's Salsa Studio & Nightclub in Mountain View presents salsa, rock en español and offers dance classes. Address: 736 West Dana Street, Mountain View. Phone: +1 650-968-3007.
For Flamenco music, check with the Flamenco Society of San José. They bring artist directly from Spain for performances at the Montgomery theater in downtown San José. Address: The Flamenco Society of San Jose, P.O. Box 7173, San Jose, CA 95150. Phone: +1 408 971-8468, Fax: +1 408-277-3862. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Society also presents bimonthly juergas (flamenco jam sessions) for established flamenco artists and for the students of the Flamenco Society Academy. Juergas are presented at Le Petit Trianon on 72 N. Fifth Street in San José on the third Saturday of every other month. During most juergas tapas are available at a reasonable price.
Flamenco dance shows are available Sunday evenings at Timo's Restaurant (a restaurant that offers Spanish and Spanish American food) in San Francisco. Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110. Phone: +1 415 647-0558, Fax: +1 415 647-0573842.
The best place for traditional Irish Music in the Bay Area is Plough and Stars. 116 Clement Street at 2nd Avenue, San Francisco. Phone: +1 (415) 751-1122.
Club 101 presents salsa night every Wednesday. Salsa lessons 8:00 – 9:30. Address: 815 West Francisco Blvd, San Rafael, California. Phone: +1 (415) 460-0101.
The San Francisco World Music Festival is normally held in the month of May. It includes international acts and local world music artists.
Stern Grove is a free summer series of concerts held at the Sigmund Stern Grove in San Francisco. Numerous world music acts are included in the program.
The San Francisco Celtic Music &Arts Festival takes place in March. It features international acts from Ireland and other countries as a wide-ranging Celtic marketplace highlighting arts, crafts, books, music, food, beverages and more.
Kolo Festival is an annual event that takes place at the Russian Center in San Francisco. It includes dance/singing workshops all day and dance parties and concerts in the evening. There are concerts and workshops by renowned musicians. Kolo Festival, P O Box 20181, Piedmont, CA 94620. Phone: +1 510 654-6891, (800) 730-5615. E-mail asha@KoloFestival.org.
The San Francisco Jazz Festival has a very eclectic program and it often includes world music and Latin jazz. Address: 3 Embarcadero Center, Lobby Level, San Francisco, CA 94111. Fax: +1 415-398-5569.
The San Francisco Festival of the Mandolins, the first Sunday in May. Ethnic mandolin. www.slavonicweb.org
The Chinese Culture Center provides musical instrument classes, performances and other cultural activities. Address: 750 Kearny Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94108. Phone: +1 415-986-1822.
The East European Folklife Center concentrates on Balkan and Eastern European music. It publishes a newsletter and organizes Balkan music and dance workshops in Mendocino (California), Mt. Washington (Massachusetts) and Balkanalia in Oregon. Address: P.O. Box 12488, Berkeley, CA 94712-3488.
The Slavonic Cultural Center was founded in 1979. It focuses on the rich cultural heritage of the South Slavic people of Europe. The center has become an important gathering place for enthusiasts of Balkan music and dance. Slavonic Cultural Center of San Francisco, 60 Onondaga Avenue San Francisco, CA 94112. Phone: + 1 510 649-0941. La Peña is a Hispanic cultural center that presents concerts, exhibitions, theater, poetry and also supports social activism. Address: 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705. Phone: +1 510-849-2568. E-mail: email@example.com.
Several world music and roots record labels call the Bay Area their home. One of the oldest is the great American roots label Arhoolie, located in El Cerrito. Other labels in the area are one of the leading independent world music labels in the country, Six Degrees; Zakir Hussain's Moment Records; 7/8 Productions, specialized in Middle Eastern, Central Asian and Balkan music
San Francisco barrio sound label Son del BarrioCuban jazz label Otá Records, Tinder Records (African, Caribbean and European world music), X Dot 25 (world beat and Middle Eastern), Golden Horn (Turkish, Indian), Kool Arrow, Batish Records (Indian music), City of Tribes (world beat, ethno-ambient), Musique Tropique (world music), Rootsy Records, a record label producing field recordings of African drumming.
For world music workshops, visit the Clarion Music Center mentioned above. The Slavonic Cultural Center offers Balkan music and dance workshops. Address: 60 Onondaga Avenue San Francisco, CA 94112. Phone: + 1 510 649-0941.
The Ali Akbar Khan College of Music (AACM) is located in San Rafael, in Marin County. The Ali Akbar Khan College of Music provides an education in the classical music of North India at the highest professional level. Sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan (Khansahib) and tabla maestro Pandit Swapan Chaudhury teach all classes at the school thus training all levels of students from the beginner to the advanced professional musician. Address: Ali Akbar Khan College of Music, 215 West End Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901, USA. Phone: +1 415 454-6264.
The Northern California Spelmanslag is a non-profit public benefit corporation which aims to promote Scandinavian music, dance and culture through special workshops, regular meetings, concerts and performances. Spelmanslag has a weekend festival in February that alternates between Sweden one year and Norway the other. They bring in musicians and dance teachers from both countries. It holds a week long Scandia camp in the Mendocino Woodlands. Address: Northern California Spelmanslag, 321 McKendry Drive, Menlo Park, CA 94025-2919.
The Japanese Institute of America offers private shakuhachi lessons, private koto lessons, private and group music ensemble lessons, community performances and demonstrations. The Institute also sponsors a Japanese Master Musician Concert Series, inviting master artists from Japan to perform and teach. Address: 535 Wisconsin St., San Francisco, CA 94107. Phone: +1 415 621-2950.
In Richmond, north of Oakland, there is the Shahrzad Dance Academy, a non-profit organization, with hopes of conducting many educational and cultural programs, including Persian dance workshops and performances. The company also works with guest performers on various projects. Address: Shahrzad Dance Academy, 6262 Bernhard Avenue, Richmond, CA 94805, USA. Phone: +1 510 215-2166. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org For Irish dancing, there is the Kennelly School of Irish Dancing, with classes in San Francisco, Sacramento and Los Gatos. Phone: +1-415-665-0554.
Whelan Academy of Irish Dance is based in San Francisco, with classes in San Mateo and Millbrae. Phone: +1-415-242-5177.
The Brosnan School of Irish Dance was created by Lisa Brosnan. She is licensed with the commission of Irish dance in Ireland and Ia member of the North American Irish Dance Teachers Association and the Western US Region Irish Dance Teachers Association. classes are available in Daly City, San Rafael and Novato. Contact: Lisa Brosnan, T.C.R.G., Brosnan School of Irish Dance. Phone: +1 (415) 785-7330. E-mail: email@example.com.
Scandinavian folk dance classes are available in Santa Cruz at the Scandinavian Cultural Center of Santa Cruz. Instruction in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish and Finnish folk dance. Address: 240 Plymouth, Santa Cruz. Call Ellen Moilanen: +1 831 724-1139. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For salsa dance classes go to Alberto's in Mountain View.
Danceasy in El Cerrito offers all kinds of dance classes, including tango, rumba, bolero, milonga and cha cha chá. Address: 9951 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito, CA 94530. Phone: +1 510 524-9100. E-Mail: Dance@Danceasy.com.
The Flamenco Society of San José provides flamenco classes in the fields of dance and toque (guitar). Classes are taught on a weekly basis at the Roundhill Dance Studio, 2890 Homestead Road in Santa Clara, California.
Flamenco classes are also available from Mónica in San Francisco. Monica, P.O. Box 460541, San Francisco, CA 94146-0541. Phone &Fax: +1 415 330-9075. E-mail: Info@flamenco-dance.com Dance Mission Theatre offers salsa, Afro Haitian, Afro Brazilian and other types of world dances. Address: 3316 24th Street (corner Mission), San Francisco CA 94110. Phone: +1 415 826 4441, Fax: +1 415 826 4499. E-mail: dancemission.com
Several important booking agencies are based in the Bay Area: