World Music Fest guide
Now that the smartly programmed but poorly produced Chicago Jazz Festival has come to an end, listeners can check out a soiree of a very different -- and far superior -- kind.
For the World Music Festival, which opens Friday and runs through Thursday, spares listeners the unfortunate acoustics of the Petrillo Music Shell and the inferior aesthetics of Grant Park.
Instead, the 11th annual World Music Festival presents its attractions in settings carefully chosen to suit the music at hand, from the intimate Old Town School of Folk Music to the acoustically inviting Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. That's 57 artists from 32 countries in 21 venues.
Following is an annotated guide to highlights; for complete schedule, visit worldmusicalfestivalchicago.org.
Mostar Sevdah Reunion presents Ilijaz Delic,8 p.m. Friday at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.; $15; 773-728-6000. Though little known to Western ears, the traditional music of Bosnia and Herzegovina piques interest with its winding vocal lines, stirring choral passages and intricate instrumental flourishes. Mostar Sevdah Reunion brings this work vividly to life, as its stunning CD "A Secret Gate" (Snail Records) attests. Ilijaz Delic is the group's charismatic lead vocalist.
Cara Dillon,9 p.m. Friday at World Music Company, 1808 W. 103rd St.; $15; 773-779-7059. Dillon owns a softly angelic voice, which she applies to Irish folkloric music, old and new. But even her original material, written with husband Sam Lakeman, exudes age-old traditions. Also 1 p.m. Saturday at the Navy Pier Beer Garden, 600 E. Grand Ave.; free; 312-595-7437.
Guy Mendilow Band,3 p.m. Saturday at the Navy Pier Beer Garden, 600 E. Grand Ave.; free; 312-595-7437. The buoyant, life-affirming, sweetly acoustic music of Israeli-born Mendilow incorporates influences from across the Middle East, Africa, South America and beyond. It's a folk music of hope and affirmation, sophisticated in its delivery but easily accessible to listeners anywhere.
Orchestra of Tetouan and Al Sham Ensemble,7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave.; $15; 312-397-4010. Established in Morocco in 1944, the current septet from the city of Tetouan represents a direct link to the band's origins, in that some of the personnel studied with the orchestra's founders. The music dates back centuries, marking the intersection of ancient Muslim and Jewish cultures. The Al Sham Ensemble is based in Chicago and is led by Naeif Rafeh, a flutist who was born in Syria and has built an international reputation in Arabic classical music. Orchestra of Tetouan also plays at 8 p.m. Sunday at the University of Chicago's International House, 1414 E. 59th St.; $10; 773-753-2274.
Luminescent Orchestrii and Fishtank Ensemble,8 p.m. Sunday at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.; $15; 773-728-6000. Eastern European gypsy music, contemporary hip-hop, traditional Yiddish song, classic Afro-Cuban repertoire and other genres converge in the astonishingly free-ranging music of the Luminescent Orchestrii. What links them all? Superb musicianship and dramatically charged performances. The Fishtank Ensemble embraces gypsy and flamenco traditions.
Electric Junkyard Gamelan and the Guy Mendilow Band,8 p.m. Sunday at Uncommon Ground, 1401 W. Devon Ave.; $10 suggested donation; 773-465-9801. The magnificently (and appropriately) named Electric Junkyard Gamelan transcends eras and cultures in its fusion of far-flung percussion instruments. Electric Junkyard Gamelan also appears at noon Monday at the Daley Plaza, 50 W. Washington St.; free; 312-744-3370.
Mehter Ottoman Turkish Military Band, 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, near Michigan Avenue and Randolph Drive; free; 312-742-1168. When was the last time you heard a Turkish military band at Millennium Park -- or anywhere else? If the novelty and spectacle of this ensemble don't spark curiosity, the instrumentation surely will, with a staggering battery of percussion instruments, plus brass, revisiting centuries old marches.
Paulinho Garcia,9 p.m. Monday at Uncommon Ground, 1401 W. Devon Ave.; 773-465-9801. Though most of the World Music Festival spotlights visiting performers, Chicagoan Garcia richly merits attention. He has few contemporary peers as a vocalist-guitarist working in Brazilian music, and his recent original compositions distinguish him further.
Mikrokolektyw,5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave.; free; 312-397-4010. Even in experimental idioms, Polish music exudes lyricism, as in the work of Mikrokolektyw, staffed by drummer Kuba Suchar and trumpeter Artur Majewski. They'll be joined by two comparably adventurous Chicagoans: bassist Josh Abrams and vibist Jason Adasiewicz.
Blick Bassy and Kiko Klaus,6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Homan Square Park Field House, 3559 W. Arthington St.; 312-746-6650; free; 312-742-7547. Bassy, a seductive vocalist, brings a delicate, jazz-tinged undertone to music of Cameroon. The epic scale and lush instrumentation of Brazilian singer-songwriter Klaus' music provide a striking contrast.
Marta Gomez Quartet,7 p.m. Tuesday at Columbia College Conaway Center, 1104 S. Wabash Ave.; free; 312-369-7188. Her songs are original, but singer-guitarist Gomez embodies a range of Latin American and Caribbean music. Equally important, the softly imploring quality of her voice transcends barriers of language and musical custom.
Vlada Tomova's Balkan Tales,7 p.m. Wednesday at Columbia College Conaway Center, 1104 S. Wabash Ave.; free; 312-369-7188. Though she draws deeply on age-old Balkan traditions and instrumentation, vocalist-bandleader Tomova updates this music through an idiosyncratic, contemporary sensibility.
Rhythm of Rajasthan,8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.; free; 773-728-6000. Serene instrumental and vocals accompany traditional dance in traditional Indian repertoire.
"One World Under One Roof,"6 to 11 p.m. Thursday at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.; free; 312-744-6300. The grand finale of this year's World Music Festival features several bands. Here's the schedule:
Randolph Cafe: Mikrokolektyw, 6 p.m.; Momo, 7:30 p.m.; Idilio, 9 p.m.
Claudia Cassidy Theater: Klappa Lisnjak, 6:30 p.m.; Tambours Sans Frontieres, 7:45 p.m.; Vlada Tomova's Balkan Tales, 9:15 p.m.
Preston Bradley Hall: Rahim Alhaj, 7 p.m.; Aditya Prakash Ensemble, 8:15 p.m.; Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens, 9:30 p.m. ...
by Howard Reich
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