Friday, July 30 – 7:30pm
LIVE STREAM ONLY TONIGHT
Avotcja & Modupue
poetry + jazz
celebrating Avotcja’s 80th birthday!
Avotcja digs deep in her poems and the band takes it to the outer limits of joy. Years and years of musical collaboration have yielded more ecstatic moments than we can count.
To preserve Avotcja’s health as she turns 80, this show will be LIVE STREAMED ONLY.
You can view it live on
$20 cover charge requested
to help us pay Avotcja and the musicians. Send your contribution by paypal, venmo, cash app or drop it by the shop, or mail us a check.
It all works and the love of Avotcja is well deserved!
Thanks for supporting the musicians!
Avotcja’s group Modupue was named best jazz group of the year twice, in 2005 and again in 2010, by the Bay Area Blues Hall of Fame. Avotcja herself was named a “Jazz Hero” by the Jazz Journalists Association. Her radio shows on KPFA – Bebop, Cubop & the Musical Truth, and KPFA – La Verdad Musical, have been soul satisfying for decades, expressing the boundless joy she always finds in the music. As for her poetry, no one taps deeper wells of humanity than Avotcja! We love her more than we can express.
Come (via the live stream) to join us in celebrating Avotcja 80th birthday!
With AfroNuyorican roots, Avotcja was performing her poetry and music professionally by age 14. She left for L.A. the next year, and found work in the area’s strawberry fields amidst the pesticides and brutal labor practices of the day. In the ensuing decade, she traveled widely, spending significant time on the fertile L.A. cultural scene of the late sixties, in the company of giants like Black Arthur Blythe, Billy Higgins and Horace Tapscott, before coming up to the Bay Area in the early 1970s. Above, she’s pictured with Famadou Don Moye. Here, in the Bay Area, she has long been held in high regard as a poet, as a performer, as a community leader and for her radio work.
We’ve long presented her with her band Modupue as our kick-off Sunday concert each year, in appreciation of their fantastic music and chemistry. And in more recent years, around the time of her birthday in July we’ve repeated the booking. It’s been just a small gesture of thanks to Avotcja for all she’s contributed to the culture–and continues to contribute without ceasing.
Poet Genny Lim has said, “Avotcja is one tough, no-nonsense poet, deejay, teacher, jazz and world music aficionado. Her homegrown roots stretch from funk to rhythm and blues and jazz in a blazing trail of tongue-lashing poetry accompanied by some of the hottest Bay Area musicians playing.”
Per the late activist/educator Betita Martinez, “Avotcja is a unique voice among our poets, musicians, playwrights and other creative folk today. She combines a fierce, persistent and consistent passion for justice with a beauty of words, sounds and image that can take your breath away. To put it simply, Avotcja is a national and international treasure.”
Regarding her work with Modupue, author Ishmael Reed in his liner notes to their “Live at Yoshi’s” cd observes that “Her ‘Oaktown Blue’ ranks with the works written by the best blues writers, Bessie Smith, Langston Hughes & Sterling Brown included.”
In 2015, at a ceremony we were proud to host at Bird & Beckett, journalist Andrew Gilbert, on behalf of the Bay Area chapter of the national Jazz Journalists Association, bestowed on Avotcja their annual Jazz Hero award, a richly deserved tribute to a life well lived and her continuing contributions to the culture. That was the year Randy Weston, a personal hero of Avotcja and so many of us, won the JJA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Fine and fitting company to keep! We’re pleased to keep company with Avotcja again this evening at Bird & Beckett, and do hope you’ll join us!
Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.
The BBCLP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit...
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Gigging musicians! You have nothing to lose but your lack of a collective voice to achieve fair wages for your work!
The IMA can be a conduit for you, if you join in to make it work.
Read more here - Andy Gilbert's Feb 25 article about the IMA from KQED's site