Saritah, Ashkenaz, Berkeley, CA – 6/2
Photos by Kelsey Winterkorn
Saritah is an up and coming roots reggae artist from Australia who rocked the Ashkenaz in Berkeley. It is a small venue that is a Music & Dance Community Center and a nationally recognized nonprofit, with simple lighting, wall-to-wall posters, and local artwork; it has a family-room feel. A beer and tea bar across from a ballet-style wall of mirrors and a big dance floor made for an awesome dance hall.
Through Saritah’s music she tells the story of her wide travels and a deep connection with the Earth. Her sound is a blend of roots, reggae, soul, world, and pop music. Saritah sings and plays guitar, with her band of a backup singer, lead guitarist, keyboards, drums, and bass. They opened the set with “Blessings” a vibe you could move your hips to. I was surprised when her songs went into an upbeat sound that escalated in speed. One of her new songs “Feels Good” got the crowd on their feet and twirling.
The fourth song “Sunrise,” came with an intro about her experiences of living in the wilderness and in harmony with the universe, starting every day with yoga at sunrise. I could feel and relate to this song with lyrics like: “Today I got out, got my hands in the dirt so, later on I could eat from the earth, What a joy to watch your food grow, no poison in these seeds I sow.” This really stuck out with its heart, soul, and positive messages.
Photographer Kelsey Winterkorn and I both agreed that the song “Most High” at the end of the set, was our favorite. It rustled up the audience for their most exuberant dancing of the night! Saritah and her band’s performance was invigorating. I responded to the way the lyrics not only talk about creating a world you want in your life, but creating your world in a state of bliss and connection.