The Best of African and World Beat Music
Celebrate Halloween with award-winning band Zulu Spear!
Saturday, October 29
Start time: 8:30 p.m.
Doors open: 8:00 p.m.
$20 General Admission
The iconic world music dance band performs Afro-Pop and South African roots music, playing traditional mbaqanga rhythms and harmonies with modern electric instruments, percussion, and horns.
Zulu Spear has a long, vibrant and storied history. 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 consisting 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 U.S., 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. Zulu Spear has shared the stage with the likes of Ladysmith Black Mombazo, The Neville Brothers, Dave Brubeck, Wynton Marsalis and that garage band popularly known as the Grateful Dead.
After a lengthy break from regular performances Zulu Spear have reformed with many original members and some exciting new additions in 2012 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 includes singer-dancers Bendile and Morgan Nhlapo, guitarists Ron van Leeuwaarde and Matthew Lacques, drummer Jerome Leonard, bassist Patrick Owens, keyboardist Jennifer Jolly, percussionist Pope Flyne, and the horns: trumpeter Scott “Sven” Vento and saxophonist/keyboardist Zack Pitt-Smith.
The band’s latest CD releases, “Dancing in The Jungle” and “Pray Now” have received critical acclaim, “trailblazing new rhythms!”
Come and enjoy Zulu Spear’s inspired, uplifting African and World Beat dance music that blends African rhythms with soulful harmonies and mesmerizing dance steps in an energetic performance.
The Arena Theater bar and snack stand will be open.