Performance: Idris Ackamoor and the Pyramids

Performing Arts - Other | June 23 | 5 p.m. |  Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

 Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Dynamic members of the Bay Area jazz scene since the 1970s, Idris Ackamoor ☥ and the Pyramids perform an evening of their signature intergalactic jazz funk, afrobeat grooves, and hypnotic licks. The lineup features Ackamoor, Sandy Poindexter, Lionel Tanner, Bobby Cobb, Abdul Waheed, and a special guest.

The Pyramids were founded in 1972 when alto saxophonist Idris Ackamoor and original group members traveled to Europe and took a musical-spiritual journey to study with local musicians in northern Ghana, the land of the Frafra of Bolgatanga and the Islam-influenced Dagomba of Tamale. The band’s first chapter concluded with their final concert at the 1977 UC Berkeley Jazz Festival. In 2007, the Pyramids announced their return, and they have since released a trilogy of critically acclaimed albums.
Angee’s Journey retraces a mother’s path to visit her son during his fourteen-year incarceration: four trains, five buses, two cabs, and twelve hours each way. Choreographed by Suchi Branfman and Ernst Fenelon Jr., whose mother made the arduous journey, and performed by Branfman and Fenelon along with members of Fenelon’s family and a chorus of dancers (Cynthia Irobunda, Amy Oden, and Anna Paz), this thirty-minute piece honors the thousands of women that persist in supporting their incarcerated sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers.

Janie is an intimate performance piece inspired by the true stories of MaryJane, also known as The Bird Lady, who rescues and raises birds inside a women’s maximum-security prison in Southern California. With text drawn from interviews conducted inside the prison, the work is created and performed by Suchi Branfman and visual artist Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo.
A thirty-minute film by award-winning producer, director, and editor Pam Uzzell, Welcome to the Neighborhood explores Mildred Howard’s long family roots in the Bay Area and the impact of gentrification on local residents. Howard’s mother, Mabel Howard, moved to San Francisco during World War II and became part of the growing community of African Americans in South Berkeley, where she spearheaded many significant political and community projects. Today, her renowned artist daughter Mildred can no longer afford to live in her lifelong home city.

This program is cosponsored by UC Berkeley’s Black Staff and Faculty Organization and the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.

 afox@berkeley.edu, 510-642-0365