Chicago, Tuesday, June 7, 2011. Seven International concerts will showcase the music from Europe, Asia, Africa and North and South America when Music Without Borders returns for another season at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The free concert series, featuring traditional, folk and pop music, kicks off this Thursday, June 9 at 6:30p.m. with a double bill of Hanggai + Aurelio Martines from Inner Mongolia and the Honduras. Concerts continue every Thursday at 6:30p.m. through July 21, 2011. Here’s the complete line-up:
Thursday, June 9 at 6:30p.m.
Hanggai + Aurelio Martinez
From Inner Mongolia, via Beijing, come six-piece Hanggai, bringing their unique sounds of Mongolian folk music to the stage. Adapted from local songs of the inner Mongolian grasslands, lead singer Ilchi uses the extraordinary art of growled overtone technique (throat singing) alongside traditional instrumentation, providing audiences with an evening of otherworldly music and Asian crossover music at its best.
With a sound as warm and unpretentious as his Honduran upbringing, Aurelio Martinez has spent almost his entire life transforming the sights, sounds, and smells of West Africa and the Caribbean into a carefully crafted sonic art form. The current pinnacle of the Garifuna music scene, Martinez is known for his innate ability to respectably honor the genre’s extensive lineage while subtly innovating it with every new song.
Thursday, June 16 at 6:30p.m.
Dandana: A Celebration of Muslim Voices featuring Hakim + Alim Qasimov Ensemble.
Recognized worldwide as a leader of the movement to popularize music of the younger generation (jeel), Hakim is an innovator who has revolutionized the genre of sha’bi (indigenous Egyptian music). His songs fuse traditional melodies with urban dance beats, and his lyrics chronicle daily life through the rhythm of street slang. A major figure in the international music scene, Hakim has played to sell-out crowds throughout the world.
The evening opens with the six member Alim Qasimov Ensemble of Azerbaijan. One of the foremost mugham singers of classical Azerbaijan song, Qasimov is a recipient of the International Music Council–UNESCO Music Prize in 1999, one of the highest accolades for music worldwide. Accompanied by the daf (drums), balaban (woodwinds) and kamancha (strings), audiences will be transported by the sounds of his vocal technique along with his passion and devotion.
Dandana: A Celebration of Muslim Voices is presented in collaboration with Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) and the Aga Khan Music Initiative, a program of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
Thursday, June 23 at 6:30p.m.
RAM + Sexteto Tabala TWO CHICAGO DEBUTS.
Standing for the initials of its founder Richard A. Morse, RAM champions the mizik rasin musical movement, an art form originating in Haiti in the late 1980s, combining Voodoo culture with rock and roll. Internationally renowned for their effortless intermingling of these two starkly different musical forms, RAM is also known for their outspoken, strong political stand found in their lyrics.
Afro-fusion can take many forms, and in the case of Sexteto Tabala, it materializes in the shape of an Afrobeat body with a Columbian soul. Merging strong Spanish influences with classic African undertones, Sexteto Tabala creates a distinctive, and truly intoxicating blended genre that is all their own.
Thursday, June 30 at 6:30pm
Diogo Nogueira + Freshlyground TWO CHICAGO DEBUTS.
30 year old Diogo Nogueira is one of Brazil’s rising stars of samba and a 2008 Latin Grammy Award-nominee for Best New Artist. A native of Rio de Janiero, Nogueira performs the samba-canção, a more melodic variation of the samba, full of romantic lyrics that wax poetic about love, music, soccer, and an endless infatuation with Rio.
With band members hailing from South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe, Freshlyground makes their Chicago debut in Millennium Park, seamlessly blending folk, jazz, blues, and indie-rock with traditional African beats. With four celebrated albums, an MTV Award and a collaboration with Shakira in the 2010 World Cup, Freshlyground has established their place on the international music map.
Thursday, July 7 at 6:30pm
Caravan Palace + Baloji TWO CHICAGO DEBUTS.
Paris-based Caravan Palace brings its own unique brand of electroswing–a mix of gypsy jazz, American swing and a high energy electronic beat–to Millennium Park. With influences ranging from Django Reinhardt to Daft Punk, the dancing sounds of Caravan Palace will be one not to miss.
A Belgian rapper of Congolese decent, Baloji comes to Millennium Park bringing a seamless blend of Afrobeat crossed with Hip Hop sounds. His two albums, Hotel Impala and last year’s stunning Kinshasa Succursale, show off Baloji’s diversity of styles and unique vocal sounds–a mix of Congolese dance music (soukous), 60s soul and the lyrical edge of Hip Hop’s pioneers.
Thursday, July 14 at 6:30p.m.
Sierra Maestra + Susheela Raman.
Originally founded at the University of Havana in 1976, Sierra Maestra has spent the last 35 years revitalizing, reinventing, and preserving the Cuban son music tradition. They have played their infectious dance music around the world, redefining this style for new generations and reintroducing it into the Cuban mainstream.
British musician Susheela Raman exploded onto the music scene in 2001 with her debut album, Salt Rain, garnering meteoric success and earning the UK’s coveted Mercury Prize. She keeps her tamil heritage alive in her music–a mix of South Indian classical music crossed with jazz, folk and pop influences and makes her Chicago debut in Millennium Park this summer as part of “Eye on India.”
Thursday, July 21 at 6:30p.m.
Yemen Blues + Etran Finatawa.
Growing up in Israel to a Yemenite family, Ravid Kahalani quickly learned to appreciate the artistic undertones of his cultures’ traditional chants. Wanting to further that appreciation into a tangible art form, Kahalani created Yemen Blues, a hybrid musical experience that combines strong Yemenite melodies with the world of blues, jazz and funk. This event is supported by the Israeli Consulate of Chicago.
Niger’s Etran Finatawa’s hypnotic musical groove evokes the breathless heat and shimmering horizon of the Sahara. Literally meaning “stars of tradition,” the band of Wodaabe and Touareg nomads bring their laid back guitars, driving rhythms and compelling voices to the stage for a night of highly innovative sound and rich performances.
Millennium Park is bordered by Michigan Ave. to the west, Columbus Dr. to the east, Randolph St. to the north and Monroe St. to the south. Convenient parking is located in the Millennium Park Garage (entrance on Columbus at Monroe or Randolph) and at the Grant Park North and East Monroe Garages, all located within a short walking distance of Millennium Park.
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