Whoever said nothing happens on a Monday is wrong. After a crazy busy weekend of Lolla and neighborhood fests, Chicago is not ready to quit. Tonight is the kick off for the always popular Millennium Park Summer Music Series.— featuring a nearly all-Chicago lineup filled with debuts, new works, commissions and special collaborations.
The series which runs every Monday through September 13 (and some Thursdays) on the lawn and inside ionic Jay Pritzker Pavilion (201 E. Randolph St.), runs from 6pm to 8:30pm.
Guest can enjoy the sounds of Akenya & Friends, and Mermaid; Binta Diallo, Kayem, Tammy McCann, Rhymefest, Ronnie Malley, Maimouna “Mumu Fresh” Youssef, Drea d’Nur, and Rami Nashashibi; Andrew Sa; Natural Information Society + Drum Divas; and Afrodjia Social Club + Proximity — just to name a few.
Best of all it’s free–not a budget buster like many concerts. Free admission, millenniumpark.org
Here’s the lineup
Monday, August 2 at 6–8:30pm
I’m Every Woman: Divas Through the Decades with Akenya & Friends, and Mermaid
LGBTQ+ party institution Slo ‘Mo celebrates its tenth anniversary with a tribute to queer pride anthems under the musical direction of Akenya featuring an all-star list of Chicago musicians & vocalists covering women-powered R&B, house, disco & pop. Spanning hits from the seventies to today from Chaka Khan to Mariah Carey, the concert will journey through a soundtrack intrinsically connected to LGBTQ+ culture and resiliency. R&B and folk influenced couple/duo Mermaid open the show. All are welcome to join in the groove and uplift Chicago’s LGBTQ+ legacy and influence.
Monday, August 9 at 6–8:30pm
A Night of Healing, Truth & Restorative Love
Experience an eclectic, inspiring, and wide range of voices, sounds, and experiences that make up the unique Muslim diaspora. The sonic aesthetic, lyrical themes, and visual beauty of the evening will take you on a journey of healing, truth, and restorative love ultimately to inspire you towards action within yourself and your community. Performances by Binta Diallo, Kayem, Tammy McCann, Rhymefest, Ronnie Malley, Maimouna “Mumu Fresh” Youssef, Drea d’Nur, Rami Nashashibi, with master of ceremonies Jacinda Bullie.
Monday, August 16 at 6–8:30pm
Andrew in Anotherland
A voice bigger than the stage, Andrew Sa has been surprising audiences in small clubs for years but what he has planned for a Millennium Park debut is even larger. A rotating cast of musicians of different backgrounds and talents share a microphone with the city’s country crooner backed by an all-star band. This of course all leads up to the debut of a sprawling cinematic experience that utilizes many Chicago artists and filmmakers featuring dozens of musicians spanning generations and styles as an audience ventures through Sa’s subconscious in an otherworldly adventure: Andrew in Anotherland. The live performance accompanying this feat will be no less spectacular, drawing from a select group of the musicians featured in the film.
Monday, August 23 at 6–8:30pm
Preservation of Fire
“Preservation of Fire” with Natural Information Society + Drum Divas. Co-Curated with Alejandro Ayala aka King Hippo. For the past eleven years, Joshua Abrams has composed, recorded and toured as Natural Information Society (NIS) with a shifting ensemble of musicians. Grounded in Abrams’ interwoven & multi-layered compositions, the group’s long-form psychedelic environments have been described as ecstatic minimalism. NIS navigates forms that emphasize collective listening and simultaneous differences while building a space that is both meditative & propulsive. Harmoniumist Lisa Alvarado’s free-hanging paintings create a visual analog to the group’s music and recontextualize performance space. Her work appears on the covers of the group’s six lps on Eremite Records & their collaboration with Bichin’ Bajas on Drag City Records. Natural Information Society’s latest recording, descension (Out of Our Constrictions) was released in April of 2021.
Monday, August 30 at 6–8:30pm
Afrodjia Social Club + Proximity
Afrodjia Social Club: Underground art cool meets nightlife in an experiential multidisciplinary performance by DJ Sadie Woods and friends, exploring traditions of spacemaking through diasporic music and culture. This evening affair will feature an intoxicating blend of jazz fusion, tropical disco, deep house, musical accompaniment featuring a roster of musicians and special guest performances. Proximity: The Silver Room and Connect Gallery present Proximity — a sonic study of time and space and its relationship to influence. A performance by bassist Micah Collier & Electec explores the genres of House, footwork, bebop, and soul to show how their proximity helped influence and innovate new sounds and the approach to composition.
Thursday, September 2 at 6–8:30pm
On a spectacular musical journey of many thousands of miles — from her Chiapas home in Mexico to Chicago — young Zulema zigzags through the culturally diverse landscapes of her homeland and our fair city along the way. Exhilarating regional music and dance from the Grammy-nominated Sones de México Ensemble make a joyous event for the whole family.
Monday, September 6 at 6–8:30pm
Contemporary Indigenous Voices featuring Leonard Sumner, Lyla June and Tall Paul
“Contemporary Indigenous Voices” Representing different nations from the US and Canada, these contemporary Indigenous performers re-imagine what is possible for Indigenous music with a one-of-a-kind performance rooted in cultures and artistry that are older than America. Co-Curated with artist Frank Waln
Thursday, September 9 at 6–8:30pm
CIVL Summer Concert featuring Neal Francis and band with special guest headliner TBA
The CIVL Summer concerts at Millennium Park aims to showcase diverse local talent on showcase at the various stages around Chicago on any given night. Two nights of special guest collaborations will combine local acts, rarely on stage together, to create multi-sensory, original works.
Monday, September 13 at 6–8:30pm
Angel Meléndez & the 911 Mambo Orchestra — Homenaje a la Salsa Boricua de Chicago + ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat
Angel Melendez is a GRAMMY nominated Chicago composer, arranger, instructor, and trombonist. Inspired by Chicago record label Numero Group’s 2011 release of Cult Cargo: La Salsa Boricua de Chicago, this special DCASE commission pays homage to the golden era of Chicago’s emerging Salsa scene of the late 60’s and 70’s centered around the period’s Puerto Rican Congress of Mutual Aid and Carlos Ruiz’s Ebirac records from which young bands like Orquesta La Justicia, La Solución, La Típica, and others emerged. ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat will open the show.
Thursday, September 16 at 6–8:30pm
Grammy Legacies — Eighth Blackbird with special guests to be announced
Jay Pritzker Pavilion events will not be limited capacity (beyond normal venue capacity) and will not require advance registration for the seating bowl or lawn. All summer events will adhere to the latest public health and safety guidelines, with mobile vaccinations at many City-sponsored events. Plan your visit at millenniumpark.org.
Filed under: Chicago events