Celebrate Clark Street’s Edgy Global Beat in the Hood

by Gail Dee/We Want Music Without Borders

Celebrate Clark Street Festival is like the little engine that could—
this year proudly celebrating a 10 year anniversary. In a neighborhood once known as much for it’s crime as it’s diverse culture -it grew from a small community festival  to a much anticipated Chicago cultural event introducing musical headliners from around the world.

How did that happen?

My guess is that it is mostly due to the fortuitous influence of Chicago cultural couple Ana Bermudez and David Chavez.  Ana is Rogers Park Business Alliance’s Marketing and Communications director since 2009. RPBA is the host of the festival along with Alderman Joe Moore and Sound Culture. Her husband, David Chavez is Sound Culture and curates the festival for the past handful of years.   Sound Culture  programs, promotes and produces global music shows at different venues in Chicago–much of it  at Mayne Stage on Morse in Rogers Park.   In 2013 David was also hired as a full time staff member by Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events working on special projects like the recent Lake FX summit and Made in Chicago in SXSW .This summer he co curated the Downtown Sound series at Millennium Park. David is also a DJ and fan of the “Global Beat” and recently started broadcasting a weekly radio program “Future Rootz Radio” with a collective of other global beat enthusiasts.

The result? Festival goers at Celebrate Clark Street are the happy recipients of David’s good ear and connections with music from around the world.

Both nights of the festival the headliners are edgy, contemporary international artists reflecting David’s passion for both traditional music from around the world as well as the electronic global “beat”.  Sunday night Novalima is Afro Peruvian funky soulful electronica (Highly recommended)  and Centavrvs is a Mexican band that explores “traditional Mexican corrido genre with electronic rhythms”. Saturday Systema Solar at 9 p.m. is another Don’t MIss Act -a musical-visual collective from the Caribbean coast of Colombia –a veritable powerhouse from the tradition of “picos” sound systems.  African music represented by “Kinobe and the Wamu Spirit” from Uganda on Sat. at 5 pm.

CCS also presents hugely popular local acts like Funkadesi and Brazilian Bossa Tres; Sangre de Mochican traditional Mexican; Seneke West African Drumming Ensemble; Megitza Quartet; The Opposition Party and  intriguing acts like  Ensemble Surabhi playing “lush rustic soundscapes of flamenco music and Afro rhythms woven into the richsounds of Indian Classical ragas embellished” and a Hare Krishna parade too. In past years, this festival was one of the first to present Dos Santos Anti Beat Orquesta and Esso Afrobeat Funk. Both just recently played the huge Ruido Fest and DSAB is on tour across Southwest now.

Family fun is highlighted with Cumbia Sazo presenting a Tropical Beat kid’s program at 1 pm both days and other family fun activities planned.  Good eats and beer

Sat July 18 1 pm to 11 pm; Sun July 19 1 pm to 10 pm. The admission is $5 adults; $10 family.

Gail Dee also writes Global Sounds for Newcity Music-a 29 year old Chicago free cultural magazine available bimonthly on newstands and online

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