October 06, 2009
with special guests Edgardo Cambon, Danilo Paiz, Flamenco dancers Carolina Lugo and Carolé Acuña
Open Dance Floor!
8pm $18/$20 (at-the-door)
During the Iran/Iraq war, while airplanes flew overhead bombing the city of Tehran, Kaweh, leader of the San Francisco Bay Area music group KAWEH and his grandparents sought shelter in the dark basement of their home. Kaweh was there on a short visit for the first time to meet his father's side of the family when war broke out. He was not able to exit the country for nearly five years. At one time his mother, in Germany, had arranged a Red Cross helicopter to sneak him out, but his father did not trust the process because even Red Cross was threatened to be shot down. His father fled the country for political reasons two years later. It was not possible for him to take his young son.
"We had to cover the windows with thick blankets so no light could escape. Cars, even if they were allowed to be driven, had to have their headlights painted dark purple. The idea was to make it look like a desert to avoid bombing" Kaweh remembers.
Ironically, Kaweh's music training began at the age of 9 during this tumultuous time. When a song came on as the family listened to the radio for updates in the basement, Kaweh sang along.
The same year his school's religion teacher insisted that Kaweh would lead the lunch prayers and the school's coir. Lunch prayers consisted of leading 300 + students in Arabic verses (sooreh) from the Koran. Kaweh sang lead vocals in the small school ensemble and was quick to memorize content.
"The school teachers and officials made us march in the streets, protesting, singing "death to America". I was only 9 years old at the time but even then I questioned myself as to why? But we had no choice. It was fun to not have to sit in class though" explains Kaweh.
In early 1983, after years of struggling with the Iranian government and after his grandmother fatally injured herself trying to persuade the officials to release her grandson, Kaweh was allowed to return to his hometown in Germany. He had forgotten German. He struggled in school and had a tutor for German, math and English. He moved to the US in 1984 but it wasn't until the age of 20 when Kaweh was inspired by a high school friend to learn guitar.
After only four lessons from his friend, a minimum of eight hours of practice a day and three months time, Kaweh formed a quintet group. Within months they received rave reviews and opened up for major artists such as Robby Krieger of the Doors. The group broke up shortly after and Kaweh continued practicing and expanding his musical styles.
In 1997 Kaweh moved to Orlando, Florida and earned a specialized degree in audio engineering. He moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1999 and immediately began work on his first album. Kaweh released his debut album "Seven" in 2000.
He combined folk, rock, jazz, funk and added a touch of Middle Eastern influence. Four years later Kaweh picked up the Spanish Guitar and recorded "Play Spanish" an all instrumental album combining Flamenco Rumba, Mediterranean, Latin and Middle Eastern styles. "Long Ago" followed the year after focusing on Latin and Brazilian rhythms. In 2006 the album "España" was released. This album incorporates more traditional Flamenco techniques with emphasis on picato, rasceado and palmas. España also includes a classical song and the Australian didgeridoo on a buleria inspired track titled "Duende".
In November of 2007 Kaweh produced the reunion concert for the legendary San Francisco based Flamenco/Salsa group "Sol Y Luna". The KAWEH ensemble opened up the show and their set was multi-track recorded along with 4 high-definition cameras. "Live In San Francisco" was released in 2008 as a CD/DVD combo album. It received rave reviews. Kaweh hired a Belly dancer to add a visual element to the Middle Eastern influenced songs. This album includes "Marina" by Rocco Granata from Italy, "Cancion del Mariachi" from the movie Desperado, "Bamboleo" by Simon Diaz (made famous by the Gipsy Kings), "Parla Piu Piano" the theme song to the Godfather movie and "Cumbanchero" by Rafael Hernandez.
In January of 2009 Kaweh performed at the opening night of a Colin Cowie event in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Julio Iglesias performed on the second evening. Kaweh works with premier Flamenco, Brazilian, Bollywood and Belly dancers in Northern California. His 2008 concert at the world famous Yoshi's in San Francisco included band leaders of three of San Francisco's premier Salsa groups.
"Growing up in Germany and traveling to the Middle East exposed me to a plethora of music and dance" says Kaweh in a recent interview. "To this day if you turn on the radio in Europe one can hear Spanish music, Italian, German, English from the UK, English from the US and French music."
Kaweh's music appeals to all ages, from all walks of life. People love his music for it's moving rhythms and diversity. “Just as leafing through an atlas can transport you from one region of the world to another in the flip of a few pages, so too does Kaweh's music" said Yoshi Kato, from the Bay Area MetroActive.
Kaweh is currently working on his sixth album. This album unites an East Indian melody with Flamenco Rumba. It combines Latin and Brazilian Jazz with Spanish Guitar. The ensemble's 2009 West Coat Tour tour takes them from Southern California to Seattle and to Nevada. More information can be found at: www.kaweh.com
Official Website: http://www.yoshis.com/sanfrancisco/jazzclub/artist/show/931
Added by Yoshis on September 28, 2009