MUSICA PACIFICA When you go to the California Jazz Conservatory, you probably don’t expect a celebration of a composer who died 250 years ago. But on Sunday, you can mark the bicenquinquagenary (look it up) of Georg Phillip Telemann. Musica Pacifica is one of the leading baroque music ensembles in the US, winning praise for its “dazzling virtuosity” and “warm expressiveness.” The group consists of recorder player Judith Linsenberg (“the Jascha Heifetz of the recorder”), violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock, viola da gamba player Farley Pearce, and harpsichordist Charles Sherman. In addition to Telemann, Musica Pacifica will be playing works by some of his Dresden court colleagues, including Veracini, Pisendel, and WF Bach. Sunday, April 9, 4:30 p.m., California Jazz Conservatory, 2087 Addison St.
OFFPLANET VR Here’s your chance to explore Berkeley’s virtual reality demo scene: the fifth edition of OffPlanet VR, on Friday evening at NextSpace in downtown Berkeley. Explore the latest experiences on Oculus Rift, Gear VR, and HTC Vive. Hear from local filmmakers, designers and industry pioneers who are breaking new ground in the rapidly evolving VR industry and learn what it takes to produce content beyond gaming. And have fun trying new games. And OffPlanet is giving Berkeleyside readers who are quick off the mark two free tickets: just use code SnowAngel when you purchase your ticket. Friday, April 7, 6 p.m., NextSpace, 2081 Center St.
MARK ST MARY The hardworking Mark St. Mary Louisiana Blues & Zydeco Band has been a favorite of Cajun/zydeco festival crowds for years and will perform at Ashkenaz on Saturday. St. Mary and company were voted best zydeco band of 2007 by the Bay Area Blues Society, and he was named the Delta King at the Isleton Crawfish Festival. St. Mary began playing accordion when he was 12, inspired originally by “King of Zydeco” Clifton Chenier. Accompanying St. Mary are some of the finest Cajun and zydeco musicians in Northern California, playing waltzes, two-steps, line dances, and flat-foot zydeco. Backing St. Mary are Myrna Cooper on rubboard and vocals, guitarist Ian Lamson, bassist Dana Mandell, and drummer Timothy Orr. Saturday, April 8, dance lesson at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m., Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Ave.
FRONT COUNTRY Front Country celebrate the release of their second album, Other Love Songs, at the Freight on Sunday. Here’s their pitch: “An acoustic band born in the land of tech innovation, Front Country was never going to be accepted as an authentic American roots band out of the gate. Cutting their teeth in progressive bluegrass jams in San Francisco’s Mission District and rehearsing in the East Bay, they learned to play roots music their own way, with the tools they had on hand. A mandolinist with a degree in composition and classical guitar. A guitarist trained in rock and world music. A bassist equally versed in jazz and bluegrass. A violinist with technique that could seamlessly hop between honky tonk and electropop. A female lead singer with grit and soul that was also a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. In a wood-paneled country dive bar in the shadow of the San Francisco skyline, Front Country forged a sound hell bent on merging the musical past with the future.” Sound like your kind of evening? Sunday, April 9, 7 p.m., Freight & Salvage, 2020 Addison St.
PASTO SECO Just take a gander at Pasto Seco’s motto: “We bring the party.” Pasto Seco Band is a Latin American dance band pulling from traditional Central, South American and Caribbean styles like Cumbia, Mambo, Saya and Salsa to bring people together in celebration. They play with wild abandon, lots of horns, drums and percussion, plus accordion, guitar and bass. Based in the East Bay, they have an all-star 14-member band, who hail from Chile, Colombia, US, Mexico, Cuba and Argentina. You can join the party on Saturday at The Starry Plough. Saturday, April 8, 9 p.m., The Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck Ave.
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