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Ancient Future 40th Anniversary & Bandleader Birthday Party at the Freight and Salvage, Berkeley, Feb. 12, 2019

Picture of First Ancient Future Line Up
Hi-Res Photo of Ancient Future Circa 1979 (1.3 MB). Shown: Benjy Wertheimer, Phil Fong, Mindia Devi Klein, Matthew Montfort

Celebrating 40 Years of World Fusion

Ancient Future's first concert took place on February 11, 1979, at the Sleeping Lady Cafe in Fairfax, California, a vegetarian cafe and music club co-op that was the center of a vibrant local music scene. It was the day before Ancient Future leader Matthew Montfort's birthday, who was not yet of nightclub age. This concert on Montfort's birthday celebrates Ancient Future's 40 years at the forefront of the world fusion music movement.

The exact lineup for the show has not yet been announced, but it will include musicians from Ancient Future's long history of cross cultural music collaborations. It will feature top master musicians from around the world along with band members from the original and historic Ancient Future lineups. Stay tuned for surprise announcements of featured musicians.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 8 PM
Freight and Salvage
2020 Addison Street
Berkeley, CA 94704
Tix: $20 in advance at the F&S, $24 at the door. All tickets are subject to an additional $4 per ticket facility fee.
Purchase Tix:
Box Office Phone: 510-644-2020, open 12:30 PM–7 PM (excluding holidays) and during all performances.
Facebook Event

Ancient Future 40th Anniversary Concert Poster
Poster (246k .pdf)

Ancient Future History: Reunion Concerts of Yore

Original Lineup Reunion

Ancient Future Circa 1981 with Mindia Devi Klein, Benjy Wertheimer, and Matthew Montfort
Hi-Res Photo of Ancient Future Circa 1981 (1.2 MB). Shown: Mindia Devi Klein, Benjy Wertheimer, Matthew Montfort

Ancient Future Circa 1981 with Benjy Wertheimer, Mindia Devi Klein, and Matthew MontfortAncient Future was formed in late 1978 by students at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California, including Mindia Devi Klein (who went by Mindy in those days), Matthew Montfort, Benjy Wertheimer, and Phil Fong. Ancient Future's first concert took place to a packed house on February 11, 1979, at the Sleeping Lady Cafe in Fairfax, California, a vegetarian cafe and music club co-op that was the center of a vibrant local music scene.

This lineup of Ancient Future made two recordings that are now considered world fusion classics. In December, 1978, the band went into Tres Virgos Studio in Mill Valley to record Montfort's song Moonbath. The song became the springboard for the first Ancient Future record, Visions of a Peaceful Planet. The concept for Natural Rhythms, the band's second record, grew out of a spontaneous recording session at a friend's recording studio near a frog pond. The sound of croaking frogs was leaking into the studio, so Montfort went out to the pond with a zither and began to play, and found that certain rhythms produced musical responses from the frogs. Several months later, Montfort and Klein went to Bali to study gamelan music. They were amazed to find paintings all over the island portraying Balinese rice paddy frogs playing gamelan instruments, so they ventured out into the rice paddies where a frog jam session ensued that became part of the Natural Rhythms release.

On April 19, 2015, three members of the original lineup of Ancient Future performed together for the first time this century to a full house at the Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley. Sadly, Phil Fong was unable to attend the reunion as he was battling ALS. He passed away on July 18, 2016.

Hi-Res Photo of Ancient Future Circa 1981 by Sherry Freeman (1.1 MB). Shown: Benjy Wertheimer, Mindia Devi Klein, Matthew Montfort

Archaeological Discovery of First Ancient Future Video

Original Ancient Future Video on Facebook
YouTube Video of Ancient Future Circa 1978. Shown: Matthew Montfort, Yusef Ali, Mindia Devi Klein, Phil Fong, Benjy Wertheimer

This video is an amazing archaeological find: the very first video of Ancient Future, recorded in late 1978, months before Ancient Future's first concert! Thanks to Jonah and Mariposa at Marin Artists International who, after learning of this reunion concert, were able to rescue parts of Ancient Future's first video recording session from archival oblivion. This short teaser from 'Eternal Embrace' by Phil Fong from Visions of a Peaceful Planet is the first release from this archeological expedition. Performances of two complete pieces have been recovered, and will be released after some audio restoration work is completed.

'World Without Walls' Reunion

Ancient Future Photo Circa 1990 by Irene Young
Hi-Res Photo by Irene Young of Ancient Future Circa 1990 (14.7" x 9.7" jpg, 7.2 MB). Shown: Matthew Montfort, Jim Hurley, Doug McKeehan, Ian Dogole

Turkish Taffy Youtube Video
YouTube Video of Ancient Future at their 'World Without Walls' Reunion. Shown: Doug McKeehan (keyboards, piano), Kash Killion (bass), Ian Dogole (percussion), Matthew Montfort (scalloped fretboard guitar), Jim Hurley (violin), and Mariah Parker (santur)

This lineup of Ancient Future that performed on the band's influential World Without Walls and Asian Fusion recordings played over a hundred concerts together from 1988 to 1995. In 2011, they reunited for the first time in 15 years to perform concerts at Todos Santos Plaza in Concord and Yoshi's in San Francisco. In honor of the reunion concerts, World Without Walls was released digitally by Capitol Records for the first time ever at major digital retailers such as iTunes. Twenty two years after its initial release in 1990, broadcasters worldwide voted the record as one of the top 5 world music releases of 2012, after which Ancient Future continued to perform reunion concerts at venues such as the Frick Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Berkeley's Freight and Salvage.

"Ancient Future is a rare kind of band that might simultaneously aggravate purists, confound New Age dilettantes, seduce skeptics, and dazzle just about everybody else. Delicious compositions, intricate arrangements, crisp playing and impeccable production put these ambitious voyagers in a league of their own." - Derk Richardson, SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN

Bandleader and Birthday Boy

Matthew Montfort (band leader, scalloped fretboard guitar)

Photo of Matthew Montfort

Matthew Montfort is the leader of the world fusion music ensemble Ancient Future. He is a pioneer of the scalloped fretboard guitar (an instrument combining qualities of the South Indian vina and the steel string guitar). Montfort spent three months in intensive study with vina master K.S. Subramanian in order to fully apply the South Indian gamaka (note-bending) techniques to the guitar. In 2009, he released his first solo guitar recording, Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar, which reached #8 on Zone Music Reporter's World Radio Chart. He is recognized as one of the world's 100 Greatest Acoustic Guitarists by, a curated "best of" site, along with such luminaries as Michael Hedges, Leo Kottke, Chet Atkins, John Fahey, Merle Travis, John Renbourn, Tommy Emmanuel, and Doc Watson. The December 2009 Les Paul issue of Guitar Player Magazine includes a full page feature on Matthew Montfort with a corresponding GuitarPlayer.Com video and lesson entitled "The Music of Jimi Hendrix Applied to Indian Raga." He has performed concerts world wide, including at the Festival Internacional de la Guitarra on the golden coast of Spain near Barcelona and the Mumbai Festival at the Gateway of India in Bombay. He has performed live on national radio and TV shows such as the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. Montfort wrote the book Ancient Traditions - Future Possibilities: Rhythmic Training Through the Traditions of Africa, Bali, and India, which has been used by many musicians to improve their rhythm skills.

Coconspirators and Likely Guest Artists

Georges Lammam (Arabic violin)

Photo of Georges Lammam

Georges Lammam, of Palestinian descent, was born in Beirut, Lebanon. He is a solo violinist exemplifying the Arab style of instrumental improvisation. Mr. Lammam toured in Bolivia with renowned artists Eddie and Gabriel Navia, and joined stellar performers hosted by JoinedHands (USA NP), organized by Marcus Lovett (Phantom of the Opera), to support refugee families and humanitarians in the refugee camp in Chalkida, Greece, hosting thousands of people from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. His compositions and performance excerpts are included in scores for two award-winning documentaries:  Occupation 101 and Tea on the Axis of Evil, and he recorded a well-known folkloric dabke (an Arab folk dance) in a 2016 feature film, Wrestling Jerusalem by Aaron Davidman. Ancient Future bandleader Matthew Montfort met Georges Lammam at a jam at the Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp in Mendocino in 1993. In 1998 Georges Lammam performed on a track for Ancient Future's 7th release, Planet Passion. He has been touring with the band since 2001, including trips to the East Coast, up and down the West Coast, and the Southwest.

Vishal Nagar (Indian tabla)

Photo of Vishal Nagar

Considered one of the most gifted tabla players of his generation, Vishal Nagar was born into a family of musicians and had his initial training for a brief period with the late Ustad Latif Ahmed Khan of the Delhi Gharana. After his Ustad's untimely demise, Vishal continued his training under the guidance of Ustad Shamim Ahmed Khan, and he also has had intense rhythmic training from his mother, the renowned and highly respected Kathak dancer and vocalist, Urmila Nagar. Vishal has had the privilege of performing with many renowned artists including Ustad Shujaat Khan, Vidhwan Trichur Ramachandran, Pandit Ramesh Misra, and Kala Ramnath. Vishal has also collaborated with musicians from around the world such as the Ghanaian Guitarist Koo Nimo with whom he also appeared in WOMAD USA (a leading world dance and music festival started by Peter Gabriel). He began performing and recording with Ancient Future in 2013, and has since performed seven tours with the band. He is prominently featured on Ancient Future's first audio/video release, Yearning for the Wind, which was the highest rated recording on Ethnocloud for April 2014, holding #1 spots in both the video and audio track categories.

Shenshen Zhang (Chinese pipa)

Photo of Chinese Pipa Virtuoso Shenshen Zhang

A native of Wenzhou, China, Shenshen Zhang began playing the pipa at the age of nine. At thirteen, she auditioned and was accepted into the prestigious Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, where in 1992, she was awarded a Bachelor's Degree. In 2005, Ms. Zhang received Master's Degree in Musicology from Xiamen University. As an award-​​winning concert soloist, she performed and toured extensively throughout Asia and the U.S. Since making her home in SF Bay Area in 2006, Ms. Zhang has combined her lengthy performance career and her vast experience as an educator, preserving the musical heritage of China while also exploring other world cultures. Ms. Zhang taught music at Stanford University from 2015 to 2017, and she has her own pipa studio in Silicon Valley. She first met bandleader Matthew Montfort on August 21, 2011, when she made a guest appearance at an acoustic guitar round robin concert featuring him. He was impressed, and invited her to jam. The very first time they played together just moments after they met was captured on video. Their spontaneous jam became the #1 video on the Ethnocloud Top 40 for March 2014.

Pandit Habib Khan (sitar)

Photo of Habib Khan

Pandit Habib Khan is regarded as one of the best sitar players in the country today. He was born into a family of musicians and can trace his lineage back several generations to when classical music enjoyed the patronage of the nobility and royalty of India. He began his training at the tender age of five under the strict eye of his accomplished father, Ustad Hameed Jaffer Khan. Habib Khan has carved out a distinct style of his own which is a blend of his father's traditional techniques and his own imaginative inventions. He has recorded three Indian jazz fusion albums featuring bandleader Matthew Montfort. Habib Khan began performing concerts with Ancient Future in 1998, and is prominently featured on Ancient Future's 7th release, Planet Passion.Between Ancient Future and Habib Khan's Indian Jazz Ensemble, Montfort and Khan have performed over a hundred concerts together in the USA, India, and the Middle East.

Mindia Devi Klein (Indian bansuri and silver flute)

Photo of Mindia Devi Klein

Mindia Devi Klein is a founding member of Ancient Future and an award winning musician, composer and educator known for her rare and haunting Indian bansuri flute music. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, where she began her formal music training at the tender age of two with African American folk singer Charity Bailey. Early exposure to the jazz greats and the vast diversity of the world's music left her hungering for a doorway into the mystic heart and roots of music. She followed her muse to California and the Ali Akbar College of Music where she met and began training with the late Ustad Ali Akbar Khan for over 40 years at Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, California. She also trained under the late bansuri maestro G.S. Sachdev and then learned in India under guidance of world renown bansuri flutist Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia. She is a recipient of the American Institute for Indian Studies Smithsonian Fellowship, the Fulbright Scholarship in Balinese gamelan, and numerous community arts and composition awards.

Benjy Wertheimer (tabla, esraj)

Photo of Benjy Wertheimer

Benjy Wertheimer is a founding member of Ancient Future. An award-winning musician, composer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist equally accomplished on tabla, congas, percussion, esraj, guitar, and keyboards, he has performed and recorded with such artists as Krishna Das, Deva Premal and Miten, Jai Uttal, Walter Becker of Steely Dan, tabla master Zakir Hussain, and the late bamboo flute master G. S. Sachdev. He began his musical studies at age five, starting with piano and later violin, flamenco guitar, and Afro-Cuban percussion. Benjy has been a student of Indian classical music for over 40 years, sitting with some of the greatest masters of that tradition, including Alla Rakha, Zakir Hussain, Ali Akbar Khan and Z. M. Dagar. Along with the Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart, he was a contributing composer and member of the Zakir Hussain Rhythm Experience. For over five years, Benjy scored music for the internationally syndicated NBC series Santa Barbara, and his CD Circle of Fire went to #1 on the international New Age radio charts in 2002. Making his home in Portland, Oregon, he now tours internationally with his wife Heather in the kirtan group Shantala.

Jim Hurley (violin)

Photo of Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley began playing violin in the Livermore public schools, and later explored rock guitar and bass, jazz and world music. Influenced profoundly by South Indian violinist L. Shankar, he incorporates styles from bebop to zydeco, European classical to Zairean soukous. He studied violin with Dr. Madeline Schatz, protege of Jascha Heifetz and Josef Gingold, at Humboldt State University, where he earned his B.A. in Music. Jim's professional credits include performances and recordings with Queen Ida's Grammy-winning Bon Temps Zydeco Band, Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (with Jon Anderson from Yes), Kenneth Nash (Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, Dizzie Gillespie alumnus), Dan Hicks, Al Stewart, Josh Groban, Smokey Robinson, Stanley Jordan, the Waybacks, Tempest, and many other artists. He has performed on NBC's Saturday Night Live, NPR's A Prairie Home Companion, and at numerous festivals including New Orleans Jazz and Heritage, Monterey Jazz, Winnipeg Folk, and Strawberry Music. Since joining Ancient Future in 1988, he has performed hundreds of concerts with the band.

Doug McKeehan (keys)

Photo of Doug McKeehan

Doug McKeehan started his piano studies at age five, and began his first professional work at the age of twelve. He studied music at the Oberlin Conservatory, Kent State University, and the University of Otago (New Zealand). He has toured Europe twice and spent considerable time in India studying with notable Indian music teachers such as Pandit Ram Narayan, Ustad Kursheed Khan and Pandit A.G. Bhattacharya. He has composed original music for stage and T.V. productions in San Francisco and Los Angeles and has been musical director of two original musical comedy productions. In 2008 he was commissioned to compose and perform live music for the Diablo Ballet's production Jazz Fever. He cofounded Air Craft with violinist Bruce Bowers, which released a highly acclaimed jazz fusion album, So Near, So Far. He is a first call jazz pianist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since joining Ancient Future in 1985, he has performed hundreds of concerts with the band.

Ian Dogole (percussion)

Photo of Ian Dogole

Ian Dogole has articulated his vision of global fusion music as a multi percussionist, bandleader, educator, recording artist, composer and producer. He has released seven records and a DVD as a leader – Along the Route, Dangerous Ground, Ionospheres, Night Harvest, Convergence, Crossroads, Outside the Box – Jazz Journeys & Worlds Beyond and Ian Dogole & Hemispheres In Concert (DVD). Ian has recorded and performed with artists such as Hamza el Din, Tito La Rosa, Richie Cole, Paul McCandless and Alex de Grassi. He performs on a wide variety of percussion instruments, including udu, cajon, hang, African talking drum, kalimbas, cymbals and dumbek. Since joining Ancient Future in 1985, he has performed hundreds of concerts with the band.

Mariah Parker (santur)

Photo of Mariah Parker on piano

Mariah Parker worked with ethnomusicologist Fred Lieberman and Mickey Hart on the Planet Drum project while completing her degree in music at UC Santa Cruz. She has worked with many musicians including the late composers Pauline Oliveros and Dumisani Maraire (mbira master from Zimbabwe)s. She has studied with jazz great Art Lande and Latin jazz pianist extraordinaire Rebeca Mauléon. She began performing with Ancient Future in 2005 starting with a tour of Spain. She has released two recordings of her compositions on Ancient-Future.Com Records: Sangria, her 2009 debut, and 2017's Indo Latin Jazz Live In Concert, which received rave reviews and quickly rose to #32 on the JazzWeek radio charts.

111 Word Radio Announcement

Ancient Future will perform a 40th Anniversary & Bandleader Birthday Party February 12, 2019, at 8 PM at the Freight and Salvage, located at 2020 Addison Street in Berkeley. Ancient Future's first concert took place on February 11, 1979, at the Sleeping Lady Cafe in Fairfax, the day before Ancient Future leader Matthew Montfort's birthday. The exact lineup for the show has not yet been announced, but will include musicians from Ancient Future's long history of cross cultural music collaborations. Call (510) 644-2020 for more information. Tickets are $20 in advance at the F&S, and $24 at the door. All tickets are subject to an additional $4 per ticket facility fee.




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