The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is pleased to announce the full lineup for the 16th Annual World Music Festival Chicago taking place September 11-21 in various locations throughout the city. The 11-day, 20-venue festival features 62 artists and groups representing 33 countries from around the world.
“World Music Festival Chicago will offer residents and visitors a diverse, international lineup of celebrated musicians to be enjoyed at venues and clubs downtown and throughout our neighborhoods, said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Since it began in 1999, the internationally acclaimed music festival has presented more than 700 artists from over 80 countries, making it the largest world music festival in the United States.”
This year’s striking lineup includes a four night concert series at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, an all-night celebration of Indian classical music at the Chicago Cultural Center, the best brass band out of the Balkans – Boban & Marko Markovic Orchestra, and former Official Harpist for the Prince of Wales, Catrin Finch along with Senegalese griot, Seckou Keita.
In 2014, World Music Festival Chicago performances at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion return in a big way, with four nights of concerts by some of international music’s biggest names. Opening the festival on Thursday, September 11, at 6pm, Vieux Farka Toure and Bombino provide powerful guitar riffs from the Western Sahara. Friday, September 12 at 6pm brings Pablo Menendez & Mezcla’s Latin jazz sound rooted in rumba and Yoruba along with the joyful and boisterous Québecois folk group, La Bottine Souriante.
After the concert at Millennium Park on September 12, audiences can walk across the street to the Chicago Cultural Center for Ragamala: A Celebration of Indian Classical Music at 9pm. A tradition in India, all-night classical concerts are rarely held in the United States. This is a wonderful opportunity to hear ragas (traditional scales or modes) that are rarely performed in public and are only performed early in the morning or late at night. This unique experience will continue through 9am and will feature eleven different groups and artists.
On Saturday, September 13 at 3pm at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park audiences will enjoy the disparate sounds of Africa from Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, son of Fela Kuti, who continues to champion the Afrobeat sound pioneered by his legendary father. Opening for them will be, Aurelio, the iconic ambassador of Garifuna music and the first black person to become a deputy in the National Congress of Honduras. He is currently on tour promoting his new album on the critically-acclaimed record label, Real World, founded by Peter Gabriel.
The Millennium Park concerts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion come to a close on Sunday, September 14 at 3pm with Chicago’s own master of the cimbalom, Nicolae Feraru, a recent recipient of the NEA’s
National Heritage Fellowship, who will perform the Romani music of his native Romania with his band. Opening for them will be Calypso Rose bringing her high-energy soca and calypso vocals from Trinidad & Tobago, backed by the emerging Trinidadian-Canadian group, Kobo Town.
One of the leading Balkan brass bands in Serbia over the last 17 years, Boban & Marko Markovic Orchestra, will perform at this year’s festival. Songlines Magazine named Boban the only trumpet player on their list of 50 all-time best instrumentalists. His son, Marko, appears to be following in his footsteps by becoming the main soloist of the thirteen-piece orchestra. Audiences will have multiple opportunities to catch a performance beginning Thursday, September 18 at Thalia Hall starting at 7:30pm, Friday, September 19 at Constellation starting at 8pm and Saturday, September 20 at Mayne Stage at 9pm.
Performing Saturday, September 20 at University of Chicago Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts at 7pm and Sunday, September 21 at 7:15pm at the Chicago Cultural Center is Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita. Finch, the “Queen of Harps”, was once the Official Harpist for the Prince of Wales, the first in over a century. Both a member of the royal Keita dynasty from Mali and a griot, a traditional West African praise singer, Keita has become a master of the kora – a West African harp. Finch and Keita blur the lines of classical, world, folk, and traditional music creating a truly unique experience.
The festival will close with “One World Under One Roof”, an open house at the Chicago Cultural Center on Sunday, September 21 beginning at 2:30pm–9pm. Catrin Finch & Seckou Keita and Nicolae Feraru & His Gypsy Band will return along with Soñes de México, Paulinho Garcia featuring Rogerio Souza and many more. The grand finale performances will include performances throughout the building, kicking it off in Randolph Square, continuing in Preston Bradley Hall and the Claudia Cassidy Theater.
A number of venues throughout the city will play host to World Music Festival artists and all performances are free admission. They include: Beverly Arts Center, Chicago Cultural Center, Chop Shop, Constellation Chicago, City Winery, DePaul University Concert Hall, Humboldt Park Boathouse, Indian Boundary Park, Jay Pritzker Pavilion-Millennium Park, Martyrs’, Mayne Stage, National Museum of Mexican Art, Northeastern Illinois University, Old Town School of Folk Music, Reva and Logan Arts Center at University of Chicago, Schubas, Chicago SummerDance - Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park, Thalia Hall, The Hideout and Willye White Park.
The FREE admission World Music Festival Chicago is presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and sponsored by the Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Tribune, Metra and Millennium Garages. The appearance of La Bottine Souriante is supported by the Québec Government Office and Tourisme Québec, Chicago. Grant support for the Millennium Park performances provided by: Lloyd A. Fry Foundation Endowment, managed by The Millennium Park Foundation. For complete details, visit worldmusicfestivalchicago.org.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This include fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors.
The full schedule with locations and times of each performance is included below, and may also be viewed at worldmusicfestivalchicago.org. For updates and festival information, join us on Facebook at facebook.com/WorldMusicFestivalChicago and on Twitter @WMFChicago #WorldMusicChicago.
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