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Women’s Day 2021 concerts join artists around the world


One year after life for many turned topsy-turvy, with daily rituals discarded and public spaces avoided, the music scene embodies the paradoxical conditions accelerated by the pandemic, namely intense isolation and exponentially expanded connection.

While many musicians have hunkered down, largely disappearing from view, others are finding ways to reach widely dispersed audiences, oftentimes without leaving home.

Throughout March, there are dozens of concerts taking place online associated with International Women’s Day (officially March 8), performances that exemplify the way that the spread of COVID-19 collapsed distinctions between local and international acts. In Berkeley, Freight & Salvage is partnering with Chilean-born New York jazz vocalist Claudia Acuña, presenting the two-part International Women Rising Festival.

Acuña performs noon and 5 p.m. March 6, broadcasting live from the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, Mass. She’s collaborating with Laudable Productions on a six-camera shoot designed to bring audiences in close to the musicians. The players will also be able to see viewers who attend via Zoom, projected on a video wall in the orchestra pit.

Part of a brilliant generation of Latin American musicians who helped reshape the New York jazz scene in the 1990s, Acuña is presenting two distinct programs. The early concert is a retrospective of material drawn from her five albums. Saturday’s second show focuses on boleros, romantic Latin American standards like “Besame Mucho.”

She invited Mexican-born New York jazz vocalist Magos Herrera to live-stream for the festival’s second program on April 2, accompanied by an all-star ensemble led by Venezuelan-born pianist Luis Perdomo. Fans of each other’s work, Acuña collaborated with Herrera when she helped produce a benefit concert for victims of the 2017 earthquake in Mexico City.

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“She’s a lovely lady and was perfect for the idea I came up with for the festival, featuring artists who are immigrants,” Acuña said. “That’s something very close to my heart. As Latinos we’re a strong generation that has learned and respectfully followed this tradition that’s been so generous to us. We’ve brought our own roots, and as women we’ve struggled for recognition in the music community.”

Details: 12 and 5 p.m. March 6; $15;

Here are some other performances by leading women musicians not to miss in March.

Tammy Hall & Laurie Anderson, Songs for Women; Rhonda Benin and Tammy Hall: Broadcast as part of SFJazz’s Fridays at Five series, a fascinating encounter between Anderson and San Francisco pianist Hall was recorded on the opening night of the iconic performance artist’s November 2018 stint as an SFJazz Center resident artistic director. There are also plenty of opportunities to catch the wondrous Hall via livestream, including a duo show accompanying jazz/R&B singer Rhonda Benin from Freight & Salvage on March 27, and leading a quartet from Mr. Tipples on April 6, There are also plenty of opportunities to catch the wondrous Hall via livestream, including a duo show accompanying jazz/R&B singer Rhonda Benin from Freight & Salvage on Saturday March 27, and leading a quartet from Mr. Tipples on Tuesday, April 6 featuring San Jose-reared vocalist Jackie Gage. She also performs solo from her home via Facebook Live most Thursdays at 7 p.m.

Details: Anderson and Hall, 5 p.m. March 5 at (digital subscription costs $60); Hall and Rhonda Benin, 7 p.m. March 27; suggested donation $10 or more;

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An Evening of Flamenco: One of the most productive performers and teachers of flamenco in the Bay Area, dancer, vocalist and choreographer Yaelisa live-streams from The Sound Room in Oakland with dancer/vocalist Clara Rodriguez, guitarist David McLean, and percussionist Marlon Aldana. With the Bay Area’s vibrant flamenco scene largely silenced for the past year, the Sound Room’s livestreams have offered one of the few avenues for a dose of Andalusian soul.

Details: 7 p.m. March 6; free but donations encouraged;

ACS Trio: A precious opportunity to celebrate the life of piano great Geri Allen, whose death from cancer in 2017 at the age of 60 is still deeply mourned, SFJazz’s Fridays at Five series presents a November 2015 performance by the all-star ACS Trio. While the incandescent collective never recorded an album as a trio, Allen and bass star Esperanza Spalding did collaborate on drummer Terri Lyne Carrington’s 2012 Grammy Award-winning all-women album “The Mosaic Project.”

Details: 5 p.m. March 12;

Yemanjá Arts Festival 2021: BrasArte, the Berkeley-based Brazilian cultural center, maintained deep and abiding relationships with some of Brazil’s finest folkloric musicians and dancers before the pandemic. Those ties have allowed the organization to present festivals like this celebration of the start of spring featuring artists from the Bay Area to Bahia, including Bahian carnival star Margareth Menezes, the band SambaDá, and dancer Nildinha Fonseca.

Details: 4 p.m. March 20; $15;

ASTU: An R&B singer with a soft, insistently seductive sound, Oakland’s ASTU has perfected an intoxicating, wee-hours vibe set to crisp, insinuating grooves. The November release of her debut album “ALTARS” earned her some ardent fans, but she’s still ripe for a breakthrough. San Jose’s Art Boutiki has provided her with an excellent showcase for livestreaming.

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Details: 8:30 p.m. March 24;

Pamela Rose — Celebrating Great Women of Jazz & Blues: Bay Area blues and jazz singer Pamela Rose has been spreading the word about female contributions to American music for the past decade with her shows “Wild Women of Song” and “Blues is a Woman.” She delves into both projects, live-streaming from Half Moon Bay with a stellar band featuring saxophonist Kristen Strom, guitarist Terrence Brewer, bassist Ruth Davies and drummer Daria Johnson.

Details: 4:30 p.m. March 28; $20;

Contact Andrew Gilbert at

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