We Want Music Without Borders Upcoming Events

Use the hyperlink for the   We Want Music Without Borders Upcoming Events    There are many more suggestions of live music events than what the below screenshot displays.   Check our FB group wall for more events too.

Recommended weekend #Deelights for Sept. 22-24 2017 include:

World Music Festival Chicago  Sat. Sept. 23 Weekend Finale

Felabration with Seun Kuti & Egypt 80; Bitori from Cape Verde; AFRICA HI FI with DJ Ron Trent and Sonia Hassan







World Music Festival Chicago joins up with Hyde Park Jazz Festival to present a Collaboration with Nicole Mitchell and Ballake Sissoko













Sunday Sept 24 the upbeat soulful Chicago Gypsy Jazz Festival joins up with World Music Festival Chicago for the final performance of the 19th Annual Fest.









We Want Music Without Borders is both a Facebook group with over 2500 members and a Facebook page which publishes an upcoming events calendar.  It’s complied by Gail Dee the creator and administrator of We Want Music Without Borders.  Contact her to be added to the calendar!  Subscribe for ticket giveaways; discount offers and other good news!

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World Music Festival Chicago 2017 Highlights

 by Gail Dee


The  19th Annual World Music Festival Chicago celebrates diverse music from across the globe. The festival is free and open to the public. It is produced by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and is the largest festival of its kind in the United States.   Even though it is in it’s  19th year –many people in Chicago don’t know about it!  Please share the Festival  with your friends, family and neighbors.

 Highlights of the 2017 festival include headliners Salif Keita, the all night Ragamala: A Celebration of Indian Classical Music,  SEUN KUTI , from  Venezuela  BETSAYDA  MACHADO  is not to be missed as well an opening-weekend collaboration with Chicago SummerDance in Grant Park, concerts in Millennium ParkReva + David Logan Center for the Arts, DePaul University Concert Hall , Martyr’s, Concord Music Hall, Thalia Hall and Promontory as well as  other  venues throughout the city .  Disappointingly  this year, Old Town School of  Folk Music is NOT a venue -although it continues to be the major institution providing this genre of music in Chicago.

Some other changes this year to note if you are a World Music Festival fan :   Please be aware it may be first come first served for all shows. We were informed by a curator he did not believe any reserved ticketing for any venue.  Also although the length of the Festival has been expanded–the number of shows taking place on any given night is much less–sometimes only one event for the evening (Thursday Sept. 14 is an exception and a couple other nights)   This means more people for each show.  To assure you are admitted-get to the venues early!

Another major change is that the exciting open house finale at the Chicago Cultural Center “One World Under One Roof” has been eliminated.   A huge disappointment for community building since it brought together people of all ages ,ethnicity,  race etc together under one roof.  Yes, it was chaotic at times and yes, not everyone could fit in the auditorium- or under the sumptuous Tiffany Dome-however the upside of that kind of mess was meeting people and excitement.    Many times people met at various events or at least “saw” faces –at the One World Under One Roof it was a welcoming way to exchange numbers and say hello and good bye!  In this era of political upheaval and attacks on diversity and inclusion –bringing community together for a farewell til next year would have been welcomed.  Hopefully the curators will revisit this decision for next year.  The 606 party and Global Peace Picnic in Humboldt Park on Sunday Sept. 17 will be a great day of performances however doesn’t fill the gap left by cancelling “One World Under One Roof” .  A bad weather day can cancel it.

Here are some highlights of the Festival.  Check back to We Want Music Without Borders for more updates as the Festival progresses. 

On the first night of the festival, Friday, September 8, the all-night Ragamala: A Celebration of Indian Classical Music starts at 6:30 p.m. under the Tiffany stained glass dome of Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.). A tradition in India, the all-night classical concerts are rarely held publicly in the United States. Visitors have the rare opportunity to hear the ragas (traditional scales or modes) during the early morning and late night hours as they were meant to be played. The all-night concert features more than 8 musical groups and artists.
Ragamala highlights include Priya Venkatraman & Troupe – The stories of “Ahimsa: Non-Violence” with music by Shiv Subramaniam. Dancer and choreographer Priya Venkatraman is one of the premier contemporary practitioners in the ancient art of Bharatanatyam, one of the most important and oldest classical dance traditions of India. Legendary tabla artist, Anindo Chatterjee will perform a tabla duet with his son, Anubrata Chatterjee. Anindo Chatterjee, a student of Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh, is widely regarded as one of the greatest, living tabla practitioners. Alam Khan and Ambi Subramaniam will perform their first-ever jugalbandhi together (Carnatic + Hindustani collaboration) as they pay tribute to the legendary jugalbandhi collaboration between their respective, iconic fathers, the late Ali Akbar Khan and Dr. L. Subramaniam, nearly 25 years ago.  At dawn  enjoy the rising star on the sitar Roopa Panesar from the UK with extraordinary tabla and percussionist.
On Saturday, September 9Salif Keita will perform at the Concord Music Hall (2047 N. Milwaukee) at 8 p.m. Salif Kieta is known as “the Golden Voice of Africa,” and is one of the  greatest singers to emerge from modern Mali. He has towered as one of the most dominant stars of world music since launching a solo career in 1982 and has long been a pioneer of experimenting with various pop hybrids to reach a larger audience but without ever abandoning his deep footing in Mande tradition.
World Music Festival Chicago will also feature special performances and dancing at Chicago SummerDance in Grant Park (601 S. Michigan) at the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park.
On Friday, September 8 the New York’s Underground System will bring their classic Afrobeat and explosive live show at 7:30 p.m. preceded by dance lessons from the African Diaspora with Kimosha P. Murphy.
On Saturday, September 96–9:30 p.m. the Argentine Tango will be the dance of choice with live music at 7:30 p.m. with Duo Scofano-Minetti and dance lessons at 6 p.m. with the American Tango InstituteSunday, September 104–7 p.m. live Cajun music from Feufollet and Cajun two-step and waltz lessons by Louie Stallone + Monica Vachlon.
Millennium Park will also host two special concerts. On Saturday, September 9 at 3 p.m.World Music Festival Chicago will debut the world premiere of the Bharath Symphony, a stunning new orchestral epic composed by the brilliant Indian classical violinist L. Subramaniam. The project was commissioned by the DCASE specifically for the festival and it promises not only to be a highlight for 2017 but a classic for years to come—it has already been programmed later in in the year by London’s influential Barbican Centre with the London Symphony Orchestra.
On Saturday, September 16, Venezualan artist Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo will perform at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park at 3 p.m.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED  DO NOT MISS THS SHOW .–The powerhouse singer Betsayda Machado brings the sound of Afro-Venezuelan culture to Chicago this year, introducing a rich, polyrhythmic sound as soulful as it is irresistible. She will perform with La Parranda El Clavo, a living link to the area’s musical heritage that’s been active for more than three decades. She launched her career with them back in the late 80s and the group performs songs about saints, dancing, slavery and the hard lives of the cocoa-plantation workers who originally sang parranda.  (WWMWB note: Luciano Antonio Quartet will be opening for this concert!)
On Saturday, September 16, to commemorate Mexican Independence Day, World Music Festival Chicago will present the critically-acclaimed Mariachi Flor de Toloache from New York and Los Hijos de la Montaña at Thalia Hall (1807 S. Allport) at 9 p.m. On Saturday, September 23, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival featuring Nicole Mitchell and Ballake Sissoko will perform two shows at the University of Chicago Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts (915 E. 60th Street) at3 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.
Also on September 23FELABRATION! featuring  SEUN KUTI –Fela’s dynamic  son channeling both his Dad’s and his own fiery in your face politics of the people.  and   Bitori of Cape Verde, AFRICA HI-FI, a unique musical tribute to Africa created by DJ/Producer Ron Trent + Sonia Hassan that fuses music and social consciousness with art and dance and a very special headliner to be announced at a later date. The performance will take place at the Concord Music Hall (2047 N. Milwaukee Ave.) at 8 p.m.
On Sunday, September 17The 606 Walk + Global Peace Picnic at the Humboldt Park Boathouse (1301 N. Sacramento Avenue) from 2-6 p.m. is a day of family-friendly activities that include instrument making, a peace procession and more. Highlights also include performances by: La Tribu de Abrante, a bomba group from Puerto Rico led by Hiram Abrante, offering flavors of salsa, energy of reggaeton with horn stoked jams and energetic vocals; Nigerian singer and guitarist Mdou Moctar and Veneualan artist Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo.

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World Music Festival Chicago 2017 Highlights

               We Want Music Without Borders You Tube Channel Playlist for the World Music Festival  
***NOTE – all bands are listed as follows unless otherwise noted HEADLINER with the OPENER(S) listed underneath – headliners on top. If on the same line, artists have been given equal billing.
Friday, September 8
Underground System (NYC)

Chicago SummerDance – Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park
601 South Michigan Avenue
Dance Lesson: 6-7 p.m.
Live Music: 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Friday, September 8 – Saturday, September 9
Ragamala: A Celebration of Indian Classical Music + Dance
Chicago Cultural Center, Preston Bradley Hall
78 E. Washington Street, 3rd Floor
6:30 p.m.-10 a.m.
Saturday, September 9
Bharath Symphony – 70th Anniversary of India’s Independence
Millennium Park
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
201 E. Randolph Street
3 p.m.
*Premiere + Commissioned for World Music Festival Chicago
Duo Scofano-Minetti (Argentina)
Chicago SummerDance – Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park
601 South Michigan Avenue
Dance Lesson: 6-7 p.m.
Live Music: 7:30-9:30 p.m.
Salif Keita (Mali)
Grand Tapestry (LA, USA)
Concord Music Hall
2047 N. Milwaukee Ave.
7 p.m. doors open, 8 p.m. show
Sunday, September 10
Feufollet (Lafayette, LA)
Chicago SummerDance – Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park
601 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60605
Dance Lesson: 4-5 p.m.
Live Music: 5-7 p.m.

“Women of the World” at Navy Pier

Underground System

Underground System (NYC)

Ecos del Pacifico Afrocolombia (Colombia)

lePercolateur (Chicago, USA)

Navy Pier 600 E. Grand Ave

3-6pm All Ages

Saturday, September 16
Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo (Venezuela)
Luciano Antonio Quartet (Brazil| Chicago, USA)

Millennium Park
Jay Pritzker Pavilion
201 E. Randolph Street
3 p.m.
Mariachi Flor de Toloache (NYC)
Los Hijos De La Montaña (Tucson, Arizona + Portland, OR)
Thalia Hall
1807 S Allport
8 p.m. doors open, 9 p.m. show
Sunday, September 17
The 606 Walk + Global Peace Picnic with Juicebox Concerts
September 17
Humboldt Park Boathouse
1301 N. Sacramento Avenue
2-6 p.m.
Schedule of Activities and Performers
  • 11-12:30 p.m. Instrument Making at Milwaukee/Leavitt Park and Ridgeway Trailhead
  • 12:30-2 p.m. Peace Procession to the Humboldt Overlook
  • 2-6 p.m.  Global Peace Picnic @ Humboldt Park Boathouse, 1301 N. Sacramento Ave
Artists Performing
  • La Tribu de Abrante (Puerto Rico)
  • Mdou Moctar (Niger)
  • Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo (Venezuela)
Saturday, September 23
Hyde Park Jazz Festival
Nicole Mitchell & Ballake Sissoko: Bamako * Chicago Sound System (USA + Mali)
University of Chicago Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts
915 E. 60th Street
3-4 p.m. and 5:45-6:45 p.m
Bitori (Cape Verde)
Africa HI-FI (Chicago, USA)
Concord Music Hall
2047 N. Milwaukee Ave.
7 p.m. doors open, 8 p.m. show
Originally published June 30 with updates on July 2 and revisions Sept. 7, 2017

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We Want Music Without Borders Upcoming Events


 Check our upcoming events schedule on our We Want Music Without Borders page.  It’s packed with shows. The three listed below are just a sample. Hit the hyperlink for more!

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Thank You For Your Strong Support & Generous Donation

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by Gail Dee updated June 30 Due to illness & computer equipment challenges– I’m several weeks  behind publicly thanking some  special people. Please forgive me.  You’ll find some interactive images –containing links to information about them. Today the focus is … Continue reading

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Salsa. Swing. Steppin’ Chicago Summerdance 2017 Schedule with New Contest & Grand Celebration

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by Gail Dee Hot off the presses!  Chicago’s beloved 21st Summerdance announces it’s schedule.  The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events will be presenting Swing, Salsa, Zydeco; Tango, Afrobeat and More at SummerDance.   Every Friday–Sunday, June 23–September 10, in … Continue reading

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Millennium Park Summer Music Series 2017

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by Gail Dee Updated June 18, 2017 We Want Music Without Borders Must Sees include Amadou & Mariam from Mali; rising star Dayme Arocena from Cuba; the legendary Youssou N’Dour from Senegal; and Totó La Momposina from Colombia. Throw in … Continue reading

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Win a Pair of Tickets to see Vicente Amigo at City Winery from We Want Music Without Borders





Vicente Amigo the enthralling Spanish and flamenco guitarist is performing at City Winery Chicago on Sept. 17 and 18.  We Want Music Without Borders is excited to be able   to offer two tickets in a raffle for the amazing show on Mon. Sept. 18.  Winner will be informed by email.  For your chance to win please sign up here   https://tinyurl.com/wwmwbnews

It’s  a concert not to be missed! Sunday Sept. 17 is almost sold out!

Tickets available from City Winery Chicago   http://bit.ly/VicenteAmigoCWC



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Black, Brown and White Get Down in July Chicago

by  Gail Dee 

As the founder of WWMWB my unstated goal is to tie our black, brown, white neighborhoods together digitally.  In order to be effective I also reach out to build relationships in real time. Sometimes it’s a mean task  however meeting the people who make the music is always worth the effort.  Mind you, I’m an older white woman driving an old 96 Buick Rivera with disabled plates.   The car like me has needed new suspension for over a year. (See my yelps for helps below!)  Driving thru Humboldt Park last year to see Bomba con Buya (Puerto Rican traditional music)  I discovered potholes are a barometer of city services as my car, by attrition, became a low rider as I hit speed bumps and the holes compared to the far NW side.   When I attended the African Festival of the Arts fundraiser in 2015 I was surprised there was only of a handful of white people attending the event. 

 Chicago is segregated by more than it’s vast size and geographical boundaries and history. Lack of cultural news coverage is a media censorship and insidious means of separation. Ignorance is bliss. The lie of omission.  We as a nation became more conscious of it during the Presidential campaign –media focusing it’s attention totally on Trump and little on Blacklivesmatter or Bernie Sanders. When I first started WWMWB in 2012 I was shocked to learn  the Chosen Few Picnic a huge House music Festival which draws thousands every holiday weekend to Jackson Park had been taking place for over a decade.  Admittedly I didn’t follow house music much–still  nothing?  Unfortunately FB bubbles perpetuates this kind of “segregation” too.

Why am I waxing on about this subject?  July 7 – 9 is what I’m calling  “black, brown and white get down”. Memorials to Kelan Phil Cohran on the South side; Ruido Fest in Pilsen; Square Roots Festival in Lincoln Square and Irish Fest on the far NW side are some of the cultural events are taking place in the neighborhoods. Taste of Chicago and Chicago Summerdance attempts to appeal to everyone downtown with house music on the weekend as well as Orquesta de Macabeo from Puerto Rico Saturday night June 8. 

WWMWB shares  all these events with the hope we break out of our  comfort zones and take an adventure and explore our own city. 

Sat and Sun is a celebration of the life of  Kelan Phil Cohran on the South side. The  jazz pioneer; cofounder of the AACM;  member of Sun Ra; father to the members of Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and mentor to many died recently. Family and friends, colleagues and admirers will be joining together for his  “A Celebration of Life for Kelan Phil Cohran”  on Sat July 8 at 11 am -4 pm at  4100 S. King Drive at the Metropolitan Apostolic Church.  Sadly foretelling the near future, a retrospective to honor him  “On the Beach at 63rd Street” was already organized to take place on Sunday July 9 before he died.  Organizers are still going ahead with it. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble is expected to perform; AACM members and many more.  Free admission and kid friendly. 

Of course the Mexican -Latino-Hispanic experience is getting much attention in the city.   Ruido Fest the Latin-alt festival answer to Riot Fest marks it’s 3rd year  with big headliners like Molotov; Bomba Estero (Colombia) and dozens of others. 3 day tickets now $149?–single day tickets $49 & up and it opens today in Pilsen.  Thursday July 6 “Sabor de Chicago” was  touted by DCASE as a “first”  at the Taste of Chicago with legendary  Mexican rockers Cafe Tavaba and it was extremely popular.  I was a bit  bemused as it being the “first” since I delightfully recall seeing the legendary Chicano rockers  Los Lobos play  in the Petrillo in 2010 at the Taste of Chicago when Petrillo concerts were free and unticketed. Then I realized  “Sabor de Chicago ” included included Chef demonstrations as well as Tango and Mexican dance performances and other music performances like Los Vicios de Papa at the other stage.  

 WWMWB avidly supports public art being free and  accessible to everyone.  To fill that appetite  at the Taste of Chicago is  Stomping Grounds with 15 different dance companies from performing all weekend from Mexican Folkloric; Flamenco with Ensemble Espanol; African with Ayodele and Muntu; Indian with Kalapriya and Natya to tap with Chicago Human Rhythm Project  and Bud Lite stage is free.  Sunday #deelight choices are the crazy attics of marching band Environmental Encroachment; Greg Ward II saxophone is returning from the North Coast Jazz Festival; as well as  Chicago Human Rhythm Project and Muntu Dance.  

 Don’t miss the upcoming  July 13 Thursday performance at  Millennium Park Summer Music Series presenting  Totó La Momposina. The Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Winner is considered the “Grande Dame of Cumbia, Bullerengue and Colombian Folklore.” 

 She will also be at the upcoming Colombian Fest AL Parque which takes place July 15 & 16 now in a green space at Kelyvn Park 4438 W. Wrightwood with a bounty of superb music for only $10 a day for adults!.  The Colombian Fest is highly recommended by We Want Music Without Borders. 




On the North side Square Roots Festival, a true local music, craft beer and food festival in Lincoln Square presented by Old Town School of Folk Music and Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber Of Commerce. If you are a fan of world music you’ll see it’s a pale imitation compared to  prior years of the festival  since this year the bulk of the programming is folk, indie rock; roots rock, country; alt country and country music with nods to international music on one stage mostly in the evening.   This is not a criticism –it’s an observation.  Old Town School of Folk Music continues to be the major presenter of music from around the world in Chicago–making it accessible thru out most of the year on Wednesday nights as well as other concerts and there is still an international artist to enjoy each evening.

For Square Roots,  WWMWB music lovers can circle Friday July 7 Dominican Republic’s  Joan Soriano; Saturday night Colombia’s Explosion Negra.  Explosion Negra is also be doing a jam session earlier.  Recommend both of those shows. Explosion Negra will also be performing at the Colombian Fest Al Parque the following weekend.   Prior to Explosion Negra is local Latin ska band Los Vicios De Papa returning to home of “sorts” after playing Taste of Chicago Petrillo and Bud Lite!   Reggae band Gullibanque closes Maurer Hall on Saturday.  Sunday evening    “Femina” Argentina’s all girl band is followed by Los Texmaniacs.   OTSFM  also busy programming this summer some local musicians  at Navy Pier and with an outreach program called “Soundtracks to the City” with many free events taking place on the South and West side.  On Sunday “Soundtrack” focuses on folk music at Square Roots.

Also on July 13 OTSFM presents An Intimate Evening with Eva Ayllon -a Peruvian legend. This is an extraordinary opportunity to see her and it’s another Don’t Miss show.  (One tip to remember is  Toto La Momposina is also appearing at Colombian Fest is you want to catch both of these legends since they are performing on the same night.)  Tickets http://www.oldtownschool.org/concerts/2017/07-13-2017-eva-ayllon/

 Pilsen Fest is also sponsoring Femina at Simone’s on Saturday night. and tonight:  Friday July 7 the De Pachanga en el Museo to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the National Museum of Mexican Art with DJ and label ((Sonorama)).

The Puerto Rican community is well represented this weekend as well with Barrio  Festival at it’s National Museum of Puerto Rican Art





 Segundo Reis Belvis Community Center presents with an acoustic show with IFE direct from Puerto Rico on Sunday evening  (suggested donation $10 altho free with RSVP) and Orquesta de Macabeo appearing  tomorrow night at Chicago Summerdance July 8. Free. Both IFE and Orquesta de Macabeo are recommended #deelights. 

On the Far Northwest side is the Irish American Heritage “Irish Fest” July 7-9

If you just want to chill under the stars on the lawn= there is Star Wars at Millennium Park tonight Friday and Saturday July 7 & 8 with Grant Park Orchestra.

Like what you see?  Here’s the yelp for help!

Please donate to keep We Want Music Without Borders alive and well. Researching and writing all this takes many hours of work each week and it’s created all by one person.


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FIESTA COLOMBIANA DE CHICAGO AL PARQUE  JULIO 15 & 16 FIESTA COLOMBIANA DE CHICAGO AL PARQUE se traslada a Kelyvn Park (4438 W. Wrightwood) para 2017 con una exitosa programación de música. Nuevo este año, atracciones de Carnaval incluyendo paseos, … Continue reading

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Colombian Fest Al Parque July 15 & July 16 Kelvyn Park Chicago

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by Gail Dee CHICAGO’S COLOMBIAN FEST AL PARQUE moves to Kelyvn Park (4438 W. Wrightwood) for 2017 with a blockbuster lineup of music. New this year, Carnival attractions including rides, games and a Kid’s zone to guarantee family fun!  Sizzling … Continue reading

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