The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival Releases Lineup

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San Jose Taiko mesmerizes audiences with the powerful, spellbinding, and propulsive sounds of the taiko drum. Inspired by traditional Japanese drumming, SJT has broadened this historical art form into a style that joins traditional rhythms with other world and contemporary music, including African, Brazilian, Filipino, Latin, jazz and hip hop, bridging many styles.

San Jose Taiko mesmerizes audiences with the powerful, spellbinding, and propulsive sounds of the taiko drum. Inspired by traditional Japanese drumming, SJT has broadened this historical art form into a style that joins traditional rhythms with other world and contemporary music, including African, Brazilian, Filipino, Latin, jazz and hip hop, bridging many styles.

San Francisco, CA – The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival recently announced the programming for the 2014 Season at Yerba Buena Gardens in downtown San Francisco running Sunday, May 4 through Sunday, October 26, 2014.  The Festival kicks-off on Sunday, May 4 with Ten-time Grammy winning Latin Jazz pianist and NEA Jazz Master Eddie Palmieri and his Salsa Orchestra.  YBGF will also present over 90 admission-free events including music, theater, circus, dance, poetry, and children’s programs with artists from around the Bay Area and the world.  Named one of the Best Urban Green Spaces in North America by USA Today, Yerba Buena Gardens is a world-renowned cultural destination for Bay Area residents, families, workers, and tourists alike. Yerba Buena Gardens is located between Mission Street and Howard Street and 3rd and 4th Streets in downtown San Francisco.  For more information, visit or call (415) 543-1718.

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival Executive/Artistic Director Linda Lucero says, “I am proud of the role Yerba Buena Gardens Festival plays in making San Francisco a culturally vibrant place for residents and visitors. Our 2014 season is bursting with fabulous programs, including the premieres of two exciting new works commissioned by the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. Summer is HERE!”

Prior to the Festival’s opening celebration with Eddie Palmieri and his Salsa Orchestra on Sunday, May 4, the Festival will co-present with Dancer’s Group, Eye of Horus, dance performances at Jessie Square on April 24, 26, 28, 30, and May 3 from 12:30pm-1:30pm. Conceived as both intensely intimate and as large-scale spectacle, this new work will re-envision San Francisco as a transformative space of visual movement.

Festival highlights include Let’s Go Salsa@Jessie! series including recent Grammy winners Pacific Mambo Orchestra (5/15), African super-group Baba Ken Okulolo & Kotoja (5/25), exciting new hip-hop classicists Ensemble Mik Nawooj (5/31), accordion virtuoso André Thierry & Zydeco Magic (6/7), John Santos Sextet The Art of the Descarga (6/14) featuring Orestes Vilató, Marcus Cohen & The Congress(6/21), Circus Bella (6/27-28), San Francisco Mime Troupe returns (7/6), Uncommon Time with Kenny EndoAbhijit BanerjeeJohn Santos (8/3), up-and-coming vocalist Tiffany Austin (8/7), 2013 Goldie-winners RAWdance (9/5-6), DakhaBrakha, a world-music subversive punk-folk quartet from Kiev, Ukraine performs with women’s vocal ensemble Kitka (9/7), Jazz Mafioso Adam Theis’s Shotgun Wedding Quintet & Associates (9/13), and the West Coast’s hottest purveyors of Afro-Brazilian, samba, funk, reggae Sambadá (9/18).

On May 10, San San Jose Taiko from 1 to 2:30 pm, will mesmerize audiences with the powerful, spellbinding, and propulsive sounds of the taiko drum. Inspired by traditional Japanese drumming, SJT has broadened this historical art form into a style that joins traditional rhythms with other world and contemporary music, including African, Brazilian, Filipino, Latin, jazz and hip hop, bridging many styles.

Continuing a longstanding commitment to commissioning, the Festival has commissioned composer John Santos to create The Art of the Descarga (6/14) for the John Santos Sextet. Featuring renowned timbalero Orestes Vilató, The Art of the Descarga celebrates the Cuban jam session popularized among jazz musicians during the bebop heyday of the 40s and 50s.  The Festival has also commissioned circus artists Abigail Munn and David Hunt to create a new work for Circus Bella, (6/27-28).  The world premier is a 60-minute, one-ring circus set to an original score by composer Rob Reich. The Prescott Circus Theatre, a youth development/performing arts program based in West Oakland will also perform.

Poetic Tuesdays presents lines and lyrics in Jessie Square from up-and-coming and recognized poets and musicians from May 27 to August 19.  TODCO Poets will appear September 16.

The popular series Let’s Go Salsa@Jessie!, the open-air salsa dance party in Jessie Square (near the Contemporary Jewish Museum), takes place on the third Thursday of each month from 6:00pm – 7:30pm with salsa dance lessons at the beginning of every program.  Performers include recent Grammy Winners Pacific Mambo Orchestra (5/15), Conjunto Karabalí (6/19), Rumbaché  (7/17) and the return of Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca (8/21).

The Latin Series will present a wide array of artists including the Festival kick off on May 4 with The Eddie Palmieri Salsa OrchestraJohn Santos Sextet The Art of the Descarga (6/14), Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble (7/31), a Son Jarocho Program in partnership with SF Son Jarocho Festival (8/14), Jerry González & The Fort Apache Band (8/16), and Grammy-winning Chicano alt-rockers Quetzal (8/31).

Classical and opera performances in the Gardens include the highly anticipated annual Jenny Lind Concert (6/19) featuring Jenny Nilsson, the recipient of the Sweden’s annual Jenny Lind Scholarship for sopranos and pianist Thomas Rudberg. Merola Opera’s Schwabacher Summer Concert (7/19) will present extended scenes from famous operas performed by Merola Opera Program class of 2014, Ensemble Mik Nawooj (5/31) will perform a contemporary take on classical, and Musical Art Quintet’s Tumbao con Cuerdas (7/10) performs nuevo chamber music.

The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival hosts annual cultural celebrations: the 17th Native Contemporary Arts Festival (6/15), 13th AnnualAfroSolo Jazz in the Gardens (8/2) and 21st Annual Pistahan (8/9 & 8/10), and Brazil in the Gardens (8/17).

The Festival offers the delightful Children’s Garden Series, interactive performances specially designed for kids and families, on Fridays and Saturdays in the Yerba Buena Children’s Garden at Howard and Fourth streets.  The series will present performances by kid favorites:Caterpillar Puppets, The Red Panda AcrobatsPi ClownsVenezuelan Music Project, Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble, The Unique Derique, and Chelle! & Friends. The series ends with the popular 14th Annual Halloween Hoopla & Costume Walk on October 26.

The Thursday Lunchtime Concert Series, most Thursdays from 12:30pm to 1:30pm, is popular with downtown workers, shoppers, and students. This year features the very best of local and international musicians including Will Magid Trio with Zeik McCarter (5/29),Destani Wolf (6/12), Jenny Lind Concert (6/19), SuriSuri MahaSuri from Korea (6/26), Les Gwan Jupons (7/3), Musical Art Quintet(7/10), Japan Consulate Concert (7/17), Dalia Marina (7/24), Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble (7/31), Tiffany Austin Quintet (8/7), Son Jarocho Program (8/14), NAR (North African Rhythms) (8/21), Valerie Troutt & MoonCandy (9/4), the gonifs (9/11), and Sambadá (9/18).


Visit or call (415) 543-1718 for more detailed information. All events are free.

Calendar Editors please note: The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival IS NOT part of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. All programs take place outdoors in Yerba Buena Gardens, Mission between 3rd and 4th Streets, San Francisco.



Dancers’ Group’s Eye Of Horus, Thursday, April 24, Saturday, April 26, Monday, April 28, Wednesday, April 30 & Saturday, May 3, 12:30pm-1:30pm



The Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra, Sunday, May 4, 1:00pm-3:00pm

San Jose Taiko, Saturday, May 10, 1:00pm-2:30pm

Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Thursday, May 15, 6:00pm-7:30pm

Baba Ken Okulolo & Kotoja, Sunday, May 25, 1:00pm-2:30pm

Poetic Tuesday at Jessie Square, Tuesday, May 27, 12:30pm-1:30pm

Will Magid Trio, Thursday, May 29, 12:30pm-1:30pm

Ensemble Mik Nawooj, Saturday, May 31, 1:00pm-2:30pm



André Thierry & Zydeco Magic, Saturday, June 7, 1:00pm-3:00pm

Artists Guild Exhibit, Sunday, June 8, 9:00am-5:00pm, Jessie Square

Destani Wolf, Thursday, June 12, 12:30pm-1:30pm

John Santos Sextet The Art of the DescargaSaturday, June 14, 1:00pm-2:30pm

Native Contemporary Arts Festival, Sunday, June 15, Noon-3:00pm

Poetic Tuesday at Jessie Square, Tuesday, June 17, 12:30pm-1:30pm

Jenny Lind Concert, Thursday, June 19, 12:30pm-1:30pm

Conjunto Karabalí, Thursday, June 19, 6:00pm-7:30pm

Marcus Cohen & The Congress, Saturday, June 21, 1:00pm-2:30pm

SuriSuri MahaSuri, Thursday, June 26, 12:30pm-1:30pm

Circus Bella, Friday, June 27, Noon-1pm; Saturday, June 28, Noon-1:00pm & 2:15pm-3:15pm



Les Gwan Jupons, Thursday, July 3, 12:30pm-1:30pm

San Francisco Mime Troupe, Sunday, July 6, 2:00pm, pre-show music at 1:30pm

Musical Art Quintet, Thursday, July 10, 12:30pm-1:30pm

The Klez-X, Saturday, July 12, 1:00pm-2:30pm

Poetic Tuesday at Jessie Square, Tuesday, July 15, 12:30pm-1:30pm

Japan Consulate Concert, Thursday, July 17, 12:30pm-1:30pm

Rumbaché, Thursday, July 17, 6:00pm-7:30pm

Merola Opera’s Schwabacher Summer Concert, Saturday, July 19, 2:00pm-4:30pm

Dalia Marina, Thursday, July 24, 12:30pm-1:30pm

Tom Rigney & Flambeau, Saturday, July 26, 1:00pm-2:30pm

Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble, Thursday, July 31, 12:30pm-1:30pm



AfroSolo’s Jazz in the Gardens, Saturday, August 2, 1:00pm-3:00pm

Uncommon Time: Kenny EndoAbhijit BanerjeeJohn Santos, Sunday, August 3, 1:00pm-2:30pm

Tiffany Austin Quintet, Thursday, August 7, 12:30pm-1:30pm

Pistahan, Saturday & Sunday, August 9 & 10, 11:00am-5:00pm

Son Jarocho Program, Thursday, August 14, 12:30pm-1:30pm

Jerry González & The Fort Apache Band, Saturday, August 16, 1:00pm-2:30pm

Brazil in the Gardens, Sunday, August 17, 1:00pm-2:30pm

Poetic Tuesday at Jessie Square, Tuesday, August 19, 12:30pm-1:30pm

NAR (North African Rhythms), Thursday, August 21, 12:30pm-1:30pm

Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca, Thursday, August 21, 6:00pm-7:30pm

Quetzal, Sunday, August 31, 1:00pm-2:30pm



Valerie Troutt & MoonCandy, Thursday, September 4, 12:30pm-1:30pm

RAWdance, Friday, September 5, 7:00-8:00pm; Saturday, September 6, 1:00-2:00pm

DakhaBrakha + Kitka, Sunday, September 7, 1:00pm-3:00pm

the gonifs, Thursday, September 11, 12:30pm-1:30pm

Shotgun Wedding Quintet & Associates, Saturday, September 13, 1:00pm-2:30pm

Poetic Tuesday: TODCO Poets, Tuesday, September 16, 12:30pm-1:30pm

Sambadá, Thursday, September 18, 12:30pm-1:30pm



Classical Persian Music Ensemble, Sunday, October 5, 1-2:30pm



Yerba Buena Gardens Children’s Garden is located at Howard & Fourth Streets. Performances from 11:00-11:30am and 12:15-12:45pm, except where noted.

The Red Panda Acrobats, Friday, June 6

Venezuelan Music Project, Friday, June 13

The Unique Derique, Friday, June 20; Friday, August 15

Pi Clowns, Friday, July 11; Friday, August 8

Caterpillar Puppets, Friday, July 18

Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble, Friday, July 25

Chelle! & Friends, Friday, August 1

14th Annual Yerba Buena Halloween Hoopla & Costume Walk, Sunday, October 26, Noon-1:30pm


Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is made possible through the generosity of the City and County of San Francisco, National Endowment for the Arts, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Yerba Buena Community Benefit District, Target Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco Foundation, Bernard Osher Foundation, Fleishhacker Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation, Metreon.Media sponsors: CBS 5/CW, BART, SF Station, KPFA-FM, Google, Where Magazine, FunCheapSF, AsianWeek, PlazaCUBA, Fusicology.Presenting Partners: Acción Latina, San Francisco Son Jarocho Festival, Dancers’ Group, AfroSolo, Arab Cultural and Community Center, Consulate General of Japan, Consulate General of Sweden. Pro-bono contributions: MJM Management Group, John Spicer, Latino Entertainment Partners, Latin Percussion, Millennium Partners, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, David Wong Photography, Marriott Marquis Hotel.  Yerba Buena Arts & Events, producer of the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is located at 760 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94103. Phone (415) 543-1718; Fax (415) 543-1755; website:



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