18th World Music Festival Chicago 2016 Lineup Announced!

by Gail Dee
Look who is coming to the 18th  World Music Festival Chicago 2016!
From Cuba to Chile to Ethiopia to Mongolia to Yemen to India to Ghana to Italy and Poland–this edition of the WMFChicago brings FREE culture to Chicago’s doorstep — no passport or visa required. The only requirement is curiosity. With 60 artists from 25 counties–noone gets stopped at the WMFChicago 2016 border . A quick glance shows that although the festival is longer in length this year -no performances on Monday and Tuesday. (or Wednesday the first week) .
Focus is on multiple venues scattered all over the city versus the Pritzker Pavilion–which hosts one afternoon event on Sat. Sept. 17
More to come on We Want Music Without Borders about the artists and see our #deelight at the end of this article with links to all of last year’s artists.
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events announces this year’s line up below:
  “The world comes together at the 18th Annual World Music Festival Chicago, September 9–25, 2016, at a variety of venues across the city. Celebrating the diverse music from nations across the globe, this FREE festival is produced by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and is the largest festival of its kind in the United States. Highlights of the 2016 festival include the all night Ragamala: A Celebration of Indian Classical Music, a weekend collaboration with Chicago SummerDance in Grant Park, a concert in Millennium Park and the The 606 Polyrhythmic Procession and Global Peach Picnic.
    On the first night of the festival, Friday, September 9, Ragamala: A Celebration of Indian Classical Music starts at 6 p.m. under the Tiffany stained glass dome of the 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 exceptional opportunity to hear the ragas (traditional scales or modes) during the early morning and late night hours when they were meant to be played. The concert features more than 10 musical groups and artists through 9 a.m. the next morning.
     Also, the first weekend of the festival, Chicago SummerDance in Grant Park (601 S. Michigan) closes with a world music lineup that includes two days of Salsa music with Adonis Puentes and the Voice of Cuba Orchestra and OLA FRESCA as well as a Bhangra Blowout with DJ and live Dohl presented by Kalapriya.
     In the second weekend of the festival, “Mr. Golden Voice of Africa” Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band performs on Saturday, September 17, at Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion (201 E. Randolph St.). The afternoon of music will begin at 3 p.m. with a performance by Herencia de Timbiquí, a fusion of traditional Afro music of Colombia’s Pacific coast and contemporary urban music.
     The following day, Sunday, September 18, The 606 Polyrhythmic Peace Procession and Global Peace Picnic is a day of family-friendly activities including instrument making, peace procession, music and more. The Global Peace Picnic from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Humboldt Park Boathouse (1301 N. Sacramento Ave.) features concerts by Rocky Dawuni, Herencia de Timbiquí, and Rajab Suleiman & Kithara.
    The full schedule with locations and times of each performance is included below. For more information and festival updates, visit worldmusicfestivalchicago.org and follow the festival on Facebook and on Twitter @WMFChicago #WorldMusicChicago.
Friday, September 9
Tsukasa Taiko (Chicago, USA)
Daley Plaza
50 W. Washington St.
12 p.m.
ALL AGES
Adonis Puentes and the Voice of Cuba Orchestra (Cuba/Canada)
Chicago SummerDance–Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park
601 S. Michigan Ave.
Dance Lesson: 6–7 p.m.; Live Music: 7:30–9:30 p.m.
ALL AGES
Nano Stern (Chile)
ÌFÉ (Puerto Rico)
Chop Shop & 1st Ward Events
2033 W. North Ave.
10 p.m. (doors open at 9 p.m.)
18+
Ragamala: A Celebration of Indian Classical Music
Chicago Cultural Center–Preston Bradley Hall
78 E. Washington St.
Sep. 9, 6 p.m.Sep. 10 9 a.m.
ALL AGES
6–7:15 p.m. Josh Feinberg (sitar) with Anindo Chatterjee (tabla)
7:30–8:45 p.m. GS Rajan (mandolin) with M.S. Sukh (mridangam)
9–10:15 p.m. Partho Sarodi (sarod) with Abhijit Banerjee (tabla)
10:30–11:45 p.m. Aditya Prakash (vocals), Salar Nader (tabla) with Shiva Ramamurthi (violin)
12–1:15 a.m. Shujaat Khan (sitar) with Manpreet Singh (tabla)
1:30–2:45 a.m. Anjna & Rajna Swaminathan (violin and mridangam)
3–4:15 a.m. Lyon Leifer (bansuri) with Subhasis Mukherjee (tabla)
4:30–5:45 a.m. David Trasoff (sarod) with Subhasis Mukherjee (tabla)
6–7:30 a.m. Sama Venkatesaiah Balakrishna Troupe (flute, vocal, mridangam and rhythm pad)
7:45–9:00 a.m. Satish Vyas (santoor) with Manpreet Singh (tabla)
Saturday, September 10
Special Percussion Workshop with ÌFÉ
Festival guests ÌFÉ introduce Cuban Rumba, Puerto Rican Bomba and a spirited Rumba.  Opera-Matic will also be making peace flags for The 606 Polyrhythmic Procession and Global Peace Picnic on Sept. 18.  All materials and instruments provided, free and open to the public.
Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center
4046 W. Armitage Ave.
11 a.m. –1 p.m.
ALL AGES
Mulatu Astatke (Ethiopia)
ÌFÉ (Puerto Rico)
DJ AfroQbano (Cuba/Chicago, USA)
Concord Music Hall
2047 N. Milwaukee Ave.
10 p.m. (doors open at 9 p.m.)
18+
OLA FRESCA (Brooklyn, USA))
Chicago SummerDance–Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park
601 S. Michigan Ave.
Dance Lesson: 6–7 p.m.; Live Music: 7:30–9:30 p.m.
ALL AGES
IMAN COMMUNITY CAFÉ + UCHICAGO ARTS PRESENTS
Alsarah & The Nubatones (Sudan/Brooklyn, USA) | J.A.S.S. Quartet (Chicago, USA)
University of Chicago Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts
915 E. 60th St.
7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.)
ALL AGES
Nano Stern (Chile)
Fémina (Argentina)
Martyrs’
3855 N. Lincoln Ave.
8 p.m.
21+
UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHTS!
ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat (Chicago, USA)
Uptown Lounge
1136 W. Lawrence Ave.
8 p.m.
21+
Sunday, September 11
Kalapriya Presents Bhangra Blowout with with DJ and live Dhol (Chicago, USA)
Chicago SummerDance–Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park
601 S. Michigan Ave.
Dance Lesson: 4–5 p.m.; Live Music: 5–7 p.m.
ALL AGES
Nano Stern (Chile)
Fémina (Argentina)
Goran Ivanovic (Chicago, USA)
Old Town School of Folk Music–Myron R. Szold Music & Dance Hall
4545 N. Lincoln Ave.
7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
ALL AGES

Thursday, September 15
Anda Union (Inner Mongolia, China)
Chicago Cultural Center–Preston Bradley Hall
78 E. Washington St.
6 p.m.
ALL AGES
A-WA (Yemen/Israel)
Maya Kamaty (Reunion Island)
Lincoln Hall
2424 N. Lincoln Ave
7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.)
21+
Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band (Nigeria)
Rocky Dawuni (Ghana/USA)
ANALOG AFRICA Soundsystem (Germany)
Metro
3730 N. Clark St.
9 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.)
18+
Friday, September 16
Tenores di Neoneli (Sardinia, Italy)
Chicago Cultural Center–Preston Bradley Hall
78 E. Washington St.
6 p.m.
ALL AGES
Maya Kamaty (Reunion Island) | Anda Union (Inner Mongolia, China)
Martyrs’
3855 N. Lincoln Ave.
9 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.)
21+
Saturday, September 17
Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band (Ghana)
Herencia de Timbiquí (Colombia)
Millennium Park–Jay Pritzker Pavilion
201 E. Randolph St.
3 p.m.
ALL AGES
Tenores di Neoneli (Sardinia, Italy)
DePaul University Concert Hall
800 W. Belden Ave.
8 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.)
ALL AGES
Sunday, September 18
THE 606 POLYRHYTHMIC PROCESSION AND GLOBAL PEACE PICNIC
A day of family-friendly activities in celebration of the International Day of Peace
11 a.m. –12:30 p.m. Instrument Making Stations 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 with Juicebox Concerts
Rocky Dawuni (Ghana/USA)
Herencia de Timbiquí (Colombia)
Rajab Suleiman & Kithara (Zanzibar, Tanzania)
Humboldt Park Boathouse
1301 N. Sacramento Ave.
ALL AGES

Wednesday, September 21
Rajab Suleiman & Kithara (Zanzibar, Tanzania)
Old Town School of Folk Music–Myron R. Szold Music & Dance Hall
4545 N. Lincoln Ave.
8:30 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.)
ALL AGES
Lautari (Poland)
Ensemble Surabhi (Chicago, USA)
Martyrs’
3855 N. Lincoln Ave.
8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.)
21+
Thursday, September 22
Lautari (Poland)
Daley Plaza
50 W. Washington St.
12 p.m.
ALL AGES
Solo & Indrė (Senegal + Lithuania)
SK Kakraba (Ghana/USA)
Chicago Cultural Center–Preston Bradley Hall
78 E. Washington St.
6 p.m.
ALL AGES
Dona Onete (Brazil)
Bossa Tres (Brazil/Chicago, USA)
The Promontory
5311 S. Lake Park Ave. W.
8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.)
21+
Friday, September 23
Dona Onete (Brazil)
Silvia+Luciano+Neusa (Brazil/Chicago, USA)
Old Town School of Folk Music–The Gary and Laura Maurer Hall
4544 N. Lincoln Ave.
8 p.m. (doors open at 7:30 p.m.)
ALL AGES
Solo & Indrė (Senegal + Lithuania)
SK Kakraba (Ghana/USA)
The Hideout
1354 W. Wabansia Ave
10 p.m. (doors open at 9 p.m.)
21+
Saturday, September 24
Sounds of China (China)
Ping Tom Memorial Park
300 W. 19th St.
3 p.m.
ALL AGES
Kaynak Pipers Band (Bulgaria) | Yves Lambert Trio (Québec, Canada)
Martyrs’
3855 N. Lincoln Ave.
8 p.m. (doors open at 7 p.m.)
21+
The Klezmatics (New York City, USA)
Alfonso Ponticelli & Swing Gitan (Chicago, USA)
Lincoln Hall
2424 N. Lincoln Ave
7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.)
21+
Sunday, September 25
Kaynak Pipers Band (Bulgaria)
Yves Lambert Trio (Quebec, Canada)
Sounds of China (China)
Chicago Cultural Center–Preston Bradley Hall
78 E. Washington St.
12–5:30 p.m.
ALL AGES
The FREE admission World Music Festival Chicago is presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and is sponsored by the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Tribune, Metra and Millennium Garages.”
Below is our interactive We Want Music Without Borders #deelight from last year’s festival –each icon includes the link to the musicians who appeared.  Be on the lookout for the 2016 WWWMB #deelights for the World Music Festival Chicago 2016! Sign up for our newsletter. Join our 2800+member FB group;  like our FB page; Twitter https://twitter.com/gaildeelights

 

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Millennium Park Music Series with Genre Defying Global, Jazz, Soul and More

Updated July 21, 2016

by Gail Dee/We Want Music Without Border

The lineup for the  2016 free Millennium Park Music Series at the Pritzker Pavilion includes fabulous shows for “world” music lovers this year as well as jazz, gospel and soul. The 18 free summer shows consolidate two successful series from previous summers — Downtown Sound and Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz.   The superb lineup includes Juju world music legend King Sunny Ade; Salsa & latin jazz maestro Eddie Palmieri; Afrobeat’s Femi Kuti as well as outstanding newcomers like Kinshasa’s Mbongwana Star.  Their first release 2015 album last year was chosen by many as one of the year’s best -including me. Local bands of which we are big fans will also be appearing such as Dos Santos Anti Beat Orquesta; Makayka McCraven; Kelan Phil Cohran and Ecos del Pacifico.

This news especially warms my heart because today (March 31) marks the We Want Music Without Borders 4 year anniversary!  The Facebook group began as a  protest to the cancellation of the concert series “Music Without Borders” in 2012 . WWMWB has since morphed into a community entertainment portal with over 2700+ members focusing on live music from around the world. During 2015 I branched out as a music journalist and contributed the “Global Sounds” column for Newcity Music for several issues.  Are you signed up for our upcoming newsletter?  . http://www.tinyurl.com/wwmwbnews

Below the complete lineup with emphasis on the artists of special interest to “music without borders” lovers. DCASE programmer David Chavez has reimagined the summer series to “feature a wider variety of genre-defying music from top local, national and international artists – both established and emerging.”  Many of the international acts are booked  on Monday as well as on Thursday nights from June thru July.  In August the series takes place only on Thursday nights. The concerts will begin at 6:30 p.m.  UPDATE: Headliner usually appears listed first BUT performs last.  ALSO new this year: Some shows are being livestreamed if artists approve.   Check links to livestream at ChicagoCultureEvents https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4fpYxFLGQeLXbmZnd0zpEQ

I’m especially excited to see Mbongwana Star for the first time!  Aug 11

June 6: Blonde Redhead and Ryley Walker.

June 9: Lee Fields & The Expressions and Makaya McCraven.

“With a catalogue that ranges from James Brown-style funk to lo-fi blues and contemporary Southern soul, Lee Fields has had a successful career spanning more than 43 years. Since the late sixties, the North Carolina native has amassed a prolific catalog of albums and has toured and played with such legends as Kool and the Gang, Sammy Gordon and the Hip-Huggers, and many others. Paris born Makaya McCraven pushes the boundaries of sound and rhythm to create categories of his own. He layers his extensive experience with hip-hop bands, African dance bands, Hungarian folk music, and indie rock on top of a deep history of “straight-ahead” jazz, improvisation and Avant-garde beats.”

June 13:  Rodrigo Amarante and Leyla MaCalla.

“One of the masterminds behind the Brazilian band Los Hermanos and founding member of the samba super group Orquestra Imperial, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rodrigo Amarante is an inescapable musical figure in his native South American home. In 2015 he wrote the popular song “Tuyo”(Yours), which serves as the opening theme for the Netflix series “Narcos.” Leyla McCalla is a New York-born Haitian-American living in New Orleans, who sings in four languages and plays cello, tenor banjo and guitar. Deeply influenced by traditional Creole, Cajun and Haitian music, as well as by American jazz and folk, her music is at once earthy, elegant, soulful and witty.”

 

UPDATE:  June 16: PHOX   (from Baraboo, Wis) and Gina Chavez.

Gina Chavez is “a bilingual Latin-folk singer-songwriter from Austin, Texas who expertly blends the sounds of the Americas with tension and grace. Her most recent album Up.Rooted has won critical acclaim from NPR, USA Today and more.  Her latest independent release, Up.Rooted, is a passionate collection of bilingual songs traversing cumbia, bossa nova, vintage pop, reggaeton, and folk combined with dynamic vocals and sharp social commentary.”

(Nneka cancelled–replaced by PHOX an alternate folk/indie pop band from Wisconsin area)

Award-winning, Nigerian singer-songwriter Nneka is known for her captivating blend of reggae, hip-hop and soul sounds. She was quickly established as one of Africa’s most powerful voices as her politically charged lyrics examine a myriad of social issues, including maternal love, heartbreak and the quest for justice. Gina Chavez is a bilingual Latin-folk singer-songwriter from Austin, Texas who expertly blends the sounds of the Americas with tension and grace. Her most recent album Up.Rooted has won critical acclaim from NPR, USA Today and more.

June 20: DJ Spooky and Kelan Phil Cohran’s Summer Solstice Ensemble.

Washington, D.C.-born Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky is a composer, multimedia artist and writer whose work immerses audiences in a blend of genres, global culture, and environmental and social issues. Rebirth of a Nation was his first large-scale multimedia performance piece, which has been performed more than 50 times in venues around the world, from the Sydney Festival to the Herod Atticus Amphitheater in Athens, Greece. Kelan Phil Cohran is a Chicago improvised jazz legend known for his contributions in the Sun Ra Arkestra in Chicago and for his involvement in the foundation of the AACM.

June 23: Maceo Parker and Marrow.

June 27: Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra and Ecos del Pacifico.

Eddie Palmieri is one of the foremost Latin jazz pianists in the world and has had a musical career that spans over 50 years. Born in the Spanish Harlem of New York City, Palmieiri has won nine Grammy awards throughout his career as a bandleader of several critically acclaimed Salsa and Latin jazz orchestras. Ecos del Pacifico is a Chicago-based group formed in 2006 by Julio Cesar Montaño Montenegro and is steeped in the Afro-Colombian music and dance traditions of the pacific coast of Colombia.

UPDATE June 30: Givers and Lower Dens. Givers indie pop group from Lafayette, Louisiana whose diverse sound stems from the improvisational and dance-fueled atmosphere of their hometown’s zydeco, cajun and jazz cultures mixed with an affection for new wave, funk and world music

July 11: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force and ProbCause.  UPDATE: Show will be livestreamed. Here is the link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NI3rHwBwMv0

Femi Kuti is a Grammy-nominated, high energy Afrobeat artist born in London and raised in Nigeria. Kuti is the eldest son of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti and grandchild of Nigerian aristocrat, political and women’s rights activist Funmilayo Ransome Kuti

July 14: Azymuth and Sidewalk Chalk.  Update: Azymuth due to visa issues has been cancelled. In their  place “iLe” will be performing.”Since the age of 16, iLe has toured with her brothers Residente and Visitante of Calle 13 and played on five albums with them in her native Puerto Rico. Her first solo album iLevitable was released in June.

 

 

Sidewalk Chalk.

 Sidewalk Chalk is an eight-member Chicago-based band that is leading the contemporary evolution of hip-hop, soul, and jazz. The group’s unique arrangement allows them to incorporate numerous styles seamlessly: an MC and female vocalist; a trio of keys, bass, and drums; a horn section with trombone and trumpet; and a tap-dancer.

July 18: King Sunny Ade and Ugochi and A.S.E.

King Sunny Ade is the undisputed king of juju music, the dance-inspiring hybrid of western pop and traditional African music with roots in the guitar tradition of Nigeria. Ade launched his own record label in 1974 and has released more than 100 of his own recordings in Nigeria. Born in Chicago to Nigerian parents, Ugochi is an Afro-soul singer, songwriter and poet who is known for her extremely versatile and creative music and performances. She will appear with The Afro Soul Ensemble (A.S.E.).

July 21: Heritage Blues Orchestra and Toshi Reagon.

Known for their traditional blues material bolstered by a New Orleans-like horn section and a good dose of both jazz and gospel sensibilities, New York City-based Heritage Blues Orchestra has found a way to make traditional material sound fresh and new.

 

Toshi Reagon is a versatile singer-songwriter-guitarist from Atlanta with a unique hold-nothing-back approach to rock, blues, R&B, country, folk, spirituals and funk. Pete Seeger’s goddaughter named after his wife, Toshi and daughter of Bernice Reagon Johnson founder of Sweet Honey in The Rock and co founder of Freedom Singers –Toshi grew up surrounded by folk and blues and civil rights activism which continues to inform her music.

 

July 25: Jones Family Singers and Apostolic Church of God Sanctuary Choir.

The Jones Family Singers are a Texas-based gospel powerhouse consisting of five sisters, two brothers and their father who infuse joyful and reverent songs with vintage soul, funk and R&B.

Under the direction of Brother Ray Nuckolls and Dr. Willetta Greene-Johnson, Chicago’s Apostolic Church of God Sanctuary Choir includes more than 300 voices.

Aug. 1: Jose Gonzalez and Tall Heights.

Aug. 4: Sinkane and Mark de Clive-Lowe

Sinkane is solo recording artist who sings and plays numerous instruments blending krautrock, free jazz and funk rock with Sudanense pop. Although born in London, Sinkane spent his early childhood in Sudan followed by Ohio after his family fled to the United States.

 

 

Mark de Clive-Lowe is a musician, composer and producer originally from New Zealand, and now based in Los Angeles, after living for ten years in London. He is a veteran of the UK’s broken beat movement, blending jazz, electronic dance music, funk and percussion heavy world music into a unique sound.

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Aug. 11: Mbongwana Star + Dos Santos Antibeat Orchestra

Mbongwana Star is a psychedelic African dance band from Kinshasa, the capital city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Chicago-based Dos Santos: Anti-Beat Orchestra rocks the sounds of popular pan-Latin American dance genres—from cumbia to salsa.

Aug. 18: Elephant Revival and Mandolin Orange.

Aug. 25: Tortoise and Homme.

You can subscribe to our newsletter for special discounts and offers to shows www.tinyurl.com/wwmwbnews

Join the conversation on our fb group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/wewantmusicwithoutborders/

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Twitter me at Gail Dee @gaildeelights

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Jazz Dominates Chicago Music Heading into Holiday

by Gail Dee/We Want Music Without Border

Jazz is the focus of the We Want Music Without Borders Recommend list this week in Chicago– from Belgium comes the exciting big band “Flat Earth Society“; from NYC -the Vijay Iyer Trio; and from Chicago – Makaya McCraven Quintet.  All three bands have influences from other cultures spicing up the mix.

Wednesday June 29 at 8:30 pm at Constellation ChicagoHothouse Presents Flat Earth Society— big band from Belgium. Tickets only $10.   Sounds like this band might give my friends Brian O’Hern and the Model Citizens Big Band some competition (the Model Citizens play Chicago Jazz Fest Friday Sept. 2 at the Pritzker Pavilion at 5 p.m.)   “Flat Earth Society, a tight 15-piece band led by clarinettist and composer Peter Vermeersch, late of X-Legged Sally. Two brilliant sets confirmed how accomplished they are, twisting rapidly from theatrical bombast to tenderness, collective improv, mad movie-chase music and back to swinging anthems such as Gulls & Buoys and, er, Anthem 2004. Wet is Wet presented jazz as envisaged by Goebbels. Vermeersch grins impishly, like a young Daniel Libeskind, as he directs his close-knit ensemble. He is a monster talent, with an outrageously original band.” – John L Walters, Guardian

 

Also Wednesday June 29  6 to 9 pm (free)  Makaya McCraven (drummer) with Junius Paul – Bass, Justefan – Vibes, Matt Gold – Guitar, Marquis Hill – Trumpet is at the Harper Court Music Series   (presented by the Silver Room and Harper Court ). Makaya is a drummer just chosen by Chicago reader as the “Best Jazz Musician”.  Strangely  I was first introduced to Makaya  as the drummer for the Occidental Brothers Dance Band which focuses on African highlife music.  It was later I discovered what a hot jazz musician he is as well.   Makaya’s  recent live digital recording released in January “In the Moment E and F sides”  made LA Times “Best of” list and recently got raves for the vinyl release in the NY Times.

Friday July 1 Vijay Iyer Trio at Constellation Chicago with two shows will be exciting with tickets $25.  Vijay recently chosen by Downbeat Magazine again the  top Jazz Artist in their Critics Poll, marking the third time he has won the honor, following wins in 2012 and 2015.  He’s Grammy nominated with a huge list of accomplishment from MacArthur Fellow to Doris Duke Performing Artist.  Only limited seating still available.

 

Other suggested shows include:

Juan Pastor’s Chinchano at 10 pm at California Clipper Wed. June 29 Cover only $5. “Chinchano is Juan Pastor’s modern instrumental jazz group that fuses the traditional North American jazz harmonic palette with exciting rhythmic concepts drawn from Central and South America.”

Hyde Park Jazz presenting pianist  Willie Pickens  for Jazz in the Courtyard on July 1 from noon to 2 pm. FREE  Courtyard Shops at Hyde Park Shopping Center at 55th Street and Lake Park Avenue.  See ret of great line up of 1st and 3rd Fridays at hpjazz.com. Victor Goines, Bossa Tres, Eric Schneider and Ari Brown are all scheduled to perform this summer.

Thursdays at Andy’s Jazz Club –Saxophonists Eric Schneider / Pat Mallinger with their Quintet take a summer residency for the later shows at the place to wear ‘your jazz slacks”;-) This Thursday NYC drummer Tony Pinciotti joins them.

More to come on the weekend choices for music lovers! 

Funkadesi at City Winery July 1 is also a recommended show.

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20th Chicago Summerdance 2016 Season Announced

by Gail Dee/We Want Music Without Borders

Update June 7

Chicago Summerdance begins June 24 with Swing and culminates Sept. 11 iwith Cuban Son and Salsa.  Dancers will enjoy themselves on Friday and Saturday evenings  and Sunday afternoons to tango, country, Romanian  West African music, Steppin’,  House and more.  On August 20 a Tribute to Prince.  Thursday nights is no longer part of the schedule which in the past offered mainly international selections.  Correction: While Thursdays do not take place downtown at the Spirit of Music Garden –DCASE & Chicago Parks District together are presenting Summerdance in the Parks from July 9 thru Aug.    Another change is Sunday late afternoon and early evening is no longer reserved to mainly “ballroom” dancing type orchestras as it was for several years.

The several  recommended shows for WWMWB music loving fans will be during the Taste of Chicago –Brooklyn’s Las Hacheras (revives folkloric styles like son montuno, guaracha and salsa with Bomba, the fiery rhythm from the mountains of Puerto Rico July 9; Bahto Delo Delo (Lautaresc music of Clejani, Romania) July 10 ; Sierra Leona Refugee All Stars on July 11 and the following weekend Jeffery Broussard and The Creole Cowboys  July 17. In August- Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca (Soukous and Rumba, Cuban Son and Salsa) Aug 12 and in September- Adonis Puentes and the Voice of Cuba Orchestra (Cuban Son and Salsa) Sept 9 and Ola Fresca (Cuban Son, Salsa, Timba and Funk) on Sept. 10 open the World Music Festival Chicago (Sept.9-24).

Quality local favorite bands fill the majority of the evenings such as Flat Cats (swing) ; Angel Melendez and 911 Mambo Orchestra (salsa); Alan Gesik’s Swing Band; Hoyle Brothers (country); Sones de Mexico and Carpacho y Su Super Combo (salsa) and others.  Wired Fridays returns once a month as well as Steppin’ DJ’s too and a couple evenings of Indian music and dance Bollywood Bhangra.

Friday and Saturdays dance lessons at 6:00 to 7:00 pm.  Bands start at 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm.  Sunday dance lesson from 4:00 to 5:00 pm; Bands start at 5:00 to 7:00 pm.  In the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park (Balboa & Michigan).  FREE to the PUBLIC.   Seating available on perimeter lawn and refreshments too.  Updates and announcements (including weather-related announcements) will be shared on Facebook and on Twitter @SummerDanceChi. For more information, visit chicagosummerdance.org or call the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events at 312.744.3316.

Friday, June 24, 2016 – Swing The Flat Cats (Jump Blues, Swing)  /

Saturday, June 25, 2016 – Salsa Carpacho y Su Super Combo (Colombian, Salsa)

Sunday, June 26, 2016 – Tango and Milonga KAIA String Quartet and Richard Scofano (Argentine Tango)

Friday, July 1, 2016 – House Wired Fridays – Mario Smokin Diaz (6-9pm) soundcloud.com/mario-smokin-diaz / www.facebook.com

Saturday, July 2, 2016 – Steppin’ DJ Eric “ET” Taylor (Chicago Steppin’) www.facebook.com / instagram.com/djerictaylor/ Dawud and Lura Shareef (Chicago Steppin’)

Sunday, July 3, 2016 – Country Al Scorch and The Country Soul Ensemble (Two-Step, Western Swing)Jeffrey Cannon and Meg Kindelin (Country Two-Step, Waltz)

Friday, July 8, 2016 – Hustle and Western Swing Chicago Catz (R&B/Top 40) May I Have This Dance (Hustle & Western Swing)

Saturday, July 9, 2016 – Salsa and Cha-Cha Los Hacheros (Son Montuno, Guaracha and Salsa with Bomba) www.loshacheros.com / www.youtube.com / www.facebook.com/loshacheros /  Dance Academy of Salsa (Salsa and Cha-Cha) www.danceacademyofsalsa.com

Sunday, July 10, 2016 – Romanian Music & Dance Bahto Delo Delo (Lautaresc music of Clejani) Balanski Igri (Romanian Folk Dances)

Friday, July 15, 2016 – Baskeda and West African Dance Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars (Baskeda)www.youtube.com/user/slrefugeeallstars / www.facebook.com / twitter.com/refugeeallstars Idy Ciss (Traditional West African Dances)

Saturday, July 16 2016 – Mambo and Cha-Cha Angel Melendez and The 911 Mambo Orchestra (Big Band Mambo)www.facebook.com/AngelMelendezAndThe911MamboOrchestra Mixed Motion Art (Mambo, Cha-Cha) www.mixedmotionart.com

Sunday, July 17, 2016 – Zydeco Jeffery Broussard and The Creole Cowboys (Zydeco) www.jefferybroussard.com Buddy Bates and Monica Vachlon (Zydeco)

Friday, July 22, 2016 – Swing DJ Mellow Khris (Steppin’)www.youtube.com / soundcloud.com/dj-mellow-khris

Saturday, July 23, 2016 – Swing Joel Paterson and the Modern Sounds (’30s and ’40s Swing) www.joelpaterson.comwww.youtube.com / www.facebook.com/thejoelpatersonBig City Swing (East Coast Swing) www.bigcityswing.com /

Sunday, July 24, 2016 – Bollywood DJ Krush (Bollywood) shaadientertainment.com / www.facebook.com/shaadientBollywood Groove (Bollywood) www.bollygroove.com / www.youtube.com

Friday, August 5, 2016 – House Wired Fridays – Mickey Oliver www.mickeyoliver.com

Saturday, August 6, 2016 – Swing Sons of Susan (Jazz, Blues, Swing, Western Swing and Hokum) Dance Center Chicago (East Coast Swing)www.dancecenterchicago.com

Sunday, August 7, 2015 – Ballroom and Big Band Alan Gresik Swing Orchestra (Ballroom and Big Band) Kasper Dance Studio (Fox-Trot)

Friday, August 12, 2016 – Salsa Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca (Soukous and Rumba, Cuban Son and Salsa) www.makinaloca.com Arthur Murray Dance Center (Salsa) chicagoarthurmurray.com /

Saturday, August 13, 2016 – Steppin’ DJ Calvin (Steppin’) www.steppersusa.com Dawud and Lura Shareef (Steppin’)

Sunday, August 14, 2016 – Country The Hoyle Brothers (Honky-Tonk Country) www.hoylebrothers.com Jeffrey Cannon and Meg Kindelin (Country Two-Step, Waltz)

Friday, August 19, 2016 – Tamburitza Music and Dance KGB Band (Tamburitza Music) Ethnic Dance Chicago (Southern and Central European Folk Dances) www.ethnicdance.net / www.facebook.com/ethnicdance / twitter.com/ethnicdanceguru

Saturday, August 20, 2016 – A Purple Party: Tribute to Prince (6-9pm) Kwest_on

Sunday, August 21, 2016 – Tango and Milonga Maldito Tango Duo (Argentine Tango) www.facebook.com/malditotangoduo Tango 21 (Argentine Tango) www.tango21chicago.com

Friday, August 26, 2016 – Salsa Nabori with Yoko (Salsa) www.naborisalsa.com Latin Rhythms – Academy of Dance and Performance (Salsa) www.latinrhythmsdance.com / www.youtube.com

Saturday, August 27, 2016 – Mexican Son Sones de Mexico Ensemble (Regional Mexican Folk Dance Music) www.sonesdemexico.com / www.youtube.com/user/sonesdemexico /Lorena Iniguez (Veracruz Folk Dancing and Mexican Polkas)

Sunday, August 28, 2016 – Ballroom Teddy Lee Orchestra (Ballroom)www.teddyleeorchestra.com / http://www.youtube.com Fred Astaire Dance Studio – West Loop (Waltz, Rumba)

Friday, September 2, 2016 – House (6-9pm)Wired Fridays – Paul Johnson www.agencysounds.com/Artist/PaulJohnson /

Saturday, September 3, 2016 – Swing The Fat Babies (’20s and ’30s Jazz and Swing) www.thefatbabies.com / www.youtube.com Big City Swing (East Coast Swing)

Sunday, September 4, 2016 – Contra and Square Dance Golden Horse Ranch Band (Country and Square Dance) goldenhorseranch.com / www.youtube.com Annie Coleman (Square and Contra Dancing, Line Dancing, Polka, Waltz)

Friday, September 9, 2016 – Salsa Adonis Puentes and the Voice of Cuba Orchestra (Cuban Son and Salsa) Fred Astaire Dance Studio – West Loop (Salsa)

Saturday, September 10, 2016 – Salsa Ola Fresca (Cuban Son, Salsa, Timba and Funk) www.olafresca.com / www.youtube.com / soundcloud.com/pipikirecords Chicago Dance (Salsa) www.chicagodance.com

Sunday, September 11, 2016 – Bhangra Kalapriya presents Bhangra Blowout with DJ and live Dhol (Bhangra)

See more here; http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_summerdance.html

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Johnny Clegg Delivers South African Joy & Driving Rhythms

by Gail Dee/We Want Music Without Borders

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Johnny Clegg, the passionate and articulate South African singer/songwriter/ musician/dancer/human rights activist won a new fan —this writer- at the April 14 performance at City Winery Chicago.

Although I had watched and shared several of his videos over the past couple years, I didn’t know what to expect in a live performance at this stage of his 40 year-long career.  Having been an ethnic dancer myself, I was especially fond of watching him pound the earth in the warrior Zulu dancing as a young man in those older videos.  But I wondered how would he translate today? I knew he had been bold when it mattered. In the years of apartheid in South Africa he had created his music with an interracial band and he had broken ground by combining both English language/rock music with South African native Zulu. However those  moves were decades ago and many of his hits are from the mid 80’s had a pop vibe about them.  I sort of half expected a Phil Collins of South Africa.   My assumption was totally wrong.

To my delight, I discovered why the French, British and South Africans as well as many others around the world love him. His songs are thoughtful, heart-felt and intelligent. From the beginning of his career when he imaginatively combined English rock/pop and Zulu musical language in his songs, he has made the difficult look easy. The intertwining of the two cultures is so seamless, the fusion is taken for granted as he sings and  his tight-knit band rock the audience with bright rhythms and interesting phrasing.

His sincerity and musical activism completely charmed me above all else. His deep appreciation for the native people and culture of South Africa very evident throughout the show. I especially enjoyed seeing him  using  instruments like the “remastered”concertina fitted to play Zulu music and traditional mouth bow.  A wonderful storyteller he related stories about what had motivated some of his songs. “Digging for Some Words” he told us, sprang from the ritual of hunters and gatherers digging a hole in the ground and leaving an “offering” to nature for having possibly disturbed the balance of the world when they hunted and killed an animal.  He explained their belief that they lived “inside” Nature consequently they also believed that social discord and imbalance within the community caused severe weather like drought and floods. The clincher to his story is that South Africa had been in the midst of a 7 year drought during the apartheid when he wrote the song. Part of the lyrics asks “Who can send an emissary to speak to the seasons?” (to intercede for balance and harmony).  I could only think of the Climate change denying Republicans. Another song reminded me of Bernie Sanders and his young followers when he fervently reminded us to keep on dreaming our dreams  in “Your Time Will Come” using the collapse of the Berlin wall and Mandela being freed from prison after 30+ years as striking examples that social justice can prevail.   Love songs also had their due as he sang “I burn for you”. “Spirit” figured prominently as a theme in several songs and I found myself along with the rest of the audience being uplifted.  My friend who attended the show said “South African music is joyful” a good way to sum up the evening which also included hits like the Crossing, Scaterlings of Africa and Asimbonanga.

 

The show opened with a set by Jesse Clegg; Johnny’s son.  Unfortunately I missed most of the set but the audience seemed happy.  One of the songs I did catch, Jesse’s voice has much of his Dad’s beauty and he was doing original material.  He told us his new album had just been released.

April 15, Friday night at City Winery Chicago is already sold out.  However he’s coming to Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota April 16; then on to Colorado followed by California.  Maybe City Winery Chicago can squeeze you in tonight. www.citywinery.com

More on his tour at www.johnnyclegg.com

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Twenty Years of Tunes: Brian O’Hern & the Model Citizens Big Band Anniversary at Martyrs’ and Chicago Jazz Festival

by Gail Dee/We Want Music Without Borders

Sunday March 20 at 8 pm is the 20th Anniversary show for Brian O’Hern and the Model Citizens– Chicago’s swingin’ funky fun big band. Although their regular monthly home is at the Gallery Cabaret in Bucktown (every 3rd Monday) this show will be at Martyrs‘ where their journey began in 1996. The really BIG NEWS is after 20 years of “hangs” at Chicago’s smaller venues, the band finally gets the spotlight it deserves. They will be the opening act on the Pritzker Pavilion at the upcoming 2016 Chicago Jazz Festival.

Model Citizens Christmas show

Photo by Harvey Tillis

Not to imply that this is the first time at the Jazz Festival for the Model Citizens. In 2011 they played the smaller Jackson stage and many of the stellar band members (such as Mike Allemana, the guitarist; Matt Ferguson, the bassist; Pat Mallinger, tenor sax; Dan Trudell, the accomplished pianist who plays tuba for the MC) have headlined or been featured performers on the Pritzker for “Made in Chicago: Jazz” or the Chicago Jazz Festival. This year, however, will be the first time, Brian O’Hern, the Model Citizens’ quirky band leader and composer, appears on the Millennium Park stage with his big band.

The band performs original compositions by O’Hern as well as his arrangements for songs from Jimmy Webb to Queen. O’Hern throws a lot of musical curves at his versatile band. Brian says “We play straight jazz, out jazz, boogaloos, rock covers, waltzes, marches, church music, hora, bolero, rumba, calypso, corals, and anthems.”

Having been a mega fan of the band since 2001 (I actually received the “honored” mega fan button), I greeted the news of their upcoming Jazz Festival performance with a jubilant shout of glee and a bit of smug vindication. For years I have figuratively grabbed the ears of friends and strangers with my enthusiastic “You got to come and see this crazy big band. The music is a blast!”

Nobody puts Brian O’Hern and the Model Citizens Big Band in a “corner”.  It’s not like the cookie cutter “jazz orchestras” coming out of the “college tradition”. Every show is a surprise. After 15 years of attending the monthly shows religiously, I still don’t know what to expect when I go to a show.  While some of the songs have become familiar classics like “Helen’s Waltz Medley” with its’ sardonic lyrics “So put on your jazz slacks and go have a beer, ’cause Andy’s is the place for Jazz” and “Frugal Tall Hag” an exhilarating instrumental groove based vaguely on a reproduction of an old WW2 big band classic “Bugle Call Rag”, Brian is always experimenting with new material.  I actually attribute part of my breast cancer cure many years ago to these monthly sessions of funky guitar, blaring brass and sexy soulful saxes combined with hearty laughter. Who wouldn’t feel healed at the end of night hearing “Party like a Rockstar” (not the shop boyz) morphing into a rousing rendition of Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” as the band does a second line thru the narrow bar’s audience?

Educated at Berklee College of Music, Brian says he wasn’t interested at all in “big bands” until he toured with Arty Shaw and Glenn Miller bands. Brian plays the keyboards, piano, B-3 organ and accordion. (He also likes the kazoo;-))   At 48 years old, he still has a baby face and a boyish charm in front of the audience.   As well as being a serious composer, he’s also a comedian and in the intimate club setting does hilariously outrageous things –like stripping down to his briefs to put on tights and a cape as perform “We Are the Champions” as a rockstar. (ok–i guess you had to be there;-).

Besides Brian’s brilliant and humorous compositions, the other reason for the success of the band is the top notch musicians who are the “Model Citizens”. Mike Allemana, Matt Ferguson (Von Freeman’s sidemen) Pat Mallinger (Sabertooth) are part of the original core of the band for 20 years. This Sunday the rest of the Model Citizens will be Natalie Scharf, Tim McNamera, Mark Hiebert, BJ Levy, BJ Cord, Scott Anderson, Raphael Crawford, Dylan Rehm, Gerald Dowd. Some MIA’s Model Citizens on Sunday are Dan Trudell; Dave Creighton; Anthony Bruno; and Dan Nicholson. Former notable members of the band include Andy Baker, Matt Wifler, Aras Biskas,Jim Pacelt and Carol Kagy (special vocalist).

Brian OHern Dec. 2015 poster The monthly Monday nights at the intimate Gallery Cabaret are an informal affair- sort of like studio sessions. Frequently the musicians are looking at charts for the first time which they attack fearlessly. It is part of the thrill for the regular audience members to be privy to the organic process of hearing how a composition develops. They hear an original song performed and a couple months later the song may appear again—maybe the arrangement has changed or the melodic line is repeated in another song. And it’s always brings a smile to hear the band members break into song calling on the Gallery Cabaret’s owner to serve them more beer “We’re the Model Citizens and YES, we are thirsty. Kenny can we have more beer?”

Brian says, “Our shows are loose, crazy and sometimes blue in humor. But underneath all that is a tight deepness performed by the highest caliber of players. I like to make it look as though it’s all happening at random when the truth is I spend hundreds of hours preparing the charts and putting all the parts together to make the whole. So by the time the show is on I just sit back and listen. My work is pretty much done.”

You can see for yourself Sunday at Martyrs‘ . 8 pm $20 cover–a dollar a year is a bargain for this BIG Band. Tickets http://martyrslive.com/  Since Sir Georg retired, the greatest band in Chicago. Celebrate their return to Martyrs’ where it all began 20 years ago.” –Ray Quinn

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Andalusia’s Music Comes to Chicago in March: Part One. Ronnie Malley and Las Guitarras de Espana

by Gail Dee/We Want Music Without Borders

Andalusia. For decades my heart has swooned to its music.  Maybe you too!  In March two very different live shows focusing on the music of Andalusia are being performed in Chicago. Tonight, March 7 Chicago’s Ronnie Malley & Las Guitarras de Espana present “The Roots of Flamenco: Andaluz and Arabic Music and Dance” at City Winery and March 20 “La Banda Morisca” direct from Andalusia, Spain at Old Town School of Folk Music.

Andalusia is the southern tip of Spain. It is where Flamenco was born. Prior to its birth, the music of the region was already a cultural melange filled with heady rhythms and wailing soulful melody. It is only 7.7 nautical miles through the Straits of Gilbrator from Spain to Morocco and the horn of Africa.  From the 7th to the 15th century, the Iberian Peninsula was part of the Muslim empire and a golden age of civilization flourished under Islamic rulers marked by  Christian,Jews and Muslim living in harmony.  Andaluz’s music was influenced by North African Berbers (Morocco), the Middle East (the oud traveled from Iraq to Spain). The Roma gypsies of India also came there later and influenced the development of flamenco. In 1492 Muslims and Jews were forced to exile Spain or convert to Christianity. The Muslim people who “converted” in order to save their lives became the Moriscos. They spoke their own language ( a mix of Spanish and Arabic) and played their music. All this music preceded “flamenco”.

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Ronnie Malley, a multi instumentalist leads the Las Guitarras concert with the oud exploring music from this shared cultural history of the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain. He is a Palestinian American who began playing music with his family as a boy.  He became fascinated with the history of Andalusia and Islam and traveled there to explore and learn about its roots.  This concert is a reflection of his musical journey and exploration as well as a stage play he recently performed and wrote called “Ziryab: The Songbird of Andalusia”  He told me in an interview that the oud orginally came from Iraq with Ziryab who is considered the father of Andaluz music. Here’s a look at Ronnie Malley’s Journey to Andalusia upon which he based his concert.

surabhi-groupCarlo Basile classically trained Spanish and flamenco guitarist created “Las Guitarras de Espana”  over 15 years ago and has many devoted fans. He told me that this concert will vary somewhat  from other  programs because this concert features the traditional music of Andalusia. He said, “Although no two shows are ever the same we usually perform mostly original material based on traditional elements with a focus on flamenco and classical Spanish music.” Following Las Guitarras, music lovers will also enjoy seeing Surabhi, a global fusion group with Indian, African, Arabic, and Spanish flamenco influences.  This ensemble came about as a collaboration of artists featuring Carlo Basile and Saraswathi Ranganathan, a powerful Veenaan Indian veena player and also includes other members of Las Guitarras.  Surabhi does original material as well as traditional.  For this performance Carlo is debuting an original piece he wrote with Chihsuan Yang (Violin/Erhu) while on tour in S. E Asia this winter called “Hanai Pho.” It  is quite lovely. https://soundcloud.com/las-guitarras-de-espana/hanoi-pho

Both Indian dancer Kinnari  Vora and flamenco dancer, Wendy Clinard will also be part of the ensemble for the evening as well as flamenco dancer Andrea Peterson. Dhananjay Kunte ( Tabla);Greg Nergaard – Bass;Bob Garrett – Percussion round out the concert’s ensemble. Special guests may join the show as well.

Please be certain to secure tickets in advance.  Only a few seats may still be available for purchase at http://www.citywinery.com $18-$26 Doors open 6 pm for 8 pm show .

Update: a sneak peak at La Banda Moriscas coming to Old Town School of Folk Music  March 20 (look for Part two coming soon)

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