Win Tickets to Ed Motta Concert in Chicago this Thursday

$25 in advance | $30 day of | $35 preferred seating 

Ed Motta is a Brazilian musician of musica popular brasileira, rock, soul, funk and jazz. At the end of the 80´s, Ed Motta burst upon the music scene as a major singer and one of Conexão Japeri´s composers and producers. He was an instant success on the carioca show circuit and his 1988 debut album, “Conexão Japeri” (Warner), confirmed it. Songs like “Manuel”, “Vamos dançar”, “Baixo Rio” and “Um love” became big hits. The songs were marked by lavish musicality and introduced strong soul and funk components into the pop-rock scene that was the rage in Brazil at the time. It was soon clear that at age 16, Ed Motta had arrived and was making plans to soar much higher.

Two decades later, not even the most optimistic of optimists could have foreseen he would get this far. Today he is a singer and composer, plays several instruments, makes arrangements and produces music in many different countries. In his own style, while remaining loyal to funk-soul, he mixes influences that vary from jazz to popular Brazilian music, from Hollywood film soundtracks to rock, from classical music to American standards, from bossa nova to reggae. The result of this melting pot of references has already been recognized all over the world and acknowledged in recent tours across Europe, Japan, the United States and South America. Inside studios or on stage, Ed has also played with names such as Roy Ayers, Chucho Valdés, Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick (leader of Incógnito), Ryuichi Sakamoto, Paul Griffin, Bernard Purdie, Bo Diddley, Ed Lincoln, Miltinho, Mondo Grosso, Marcos Valle, João Donato, Dom Salvador, among many others.

Besides music and the stage, Ed has always kept up an online column in “Veja” magazine and presents the weekly radio show “Empoeirado” (on Monday nights, at 8 PM), when he plays rarities from his vast collection of rare vinyl records on São Paulo´s Rádio Eldorado FM (that can also be heard on his site).

Ed’s newest album AOR has been one of the most intricate records he’s ever made. In his own words:

“The mixing rate, for instance, was of one week per song. On most records, especially in Brazil, one day is set aside for each song. I used to work with 2, 3 days. One of the greatest talents that I’ve ever encountered in sound engineering, MarioLeo, was the technician in charge. A shining sound is what you want in AOR culture, just like an extremely low bass is in a reggae recording. In the world of pop music, politeness is wrongly taken for coldness, mannerism. In AOR, technical perfection is a virtue, as in jazz and classical music. I am very lucky to have had great musicians by my side, each one’s signature and accent is indispensable so that my arrangements can take on the life and shape I imagine for them. All of them are outstanding musicians, with personality and their own sound and style. And I got lucky: Chico Pinheiro, the bluesy leader of Incognito took part, as well as legendary guitarist David T.Walker, who has recorded just about everything and a little more of North-American music from the 70’s to the present day.”

Ed Motta will be appearing at Mayne Stage this Thursday October 16 and if you are a Chicago Urbanite follower via this blog, Facebook or Twitter, you can win a pair of tickets!

Just  send an email to  The winner will be selected randomly and notified via email.


Indian Bhangra Meets Celtic Irish tonight at Dehli 2 Dublin Concert!

How does a fusion of Indian and Irish rhythms sound? Like mixing mangoes with onions? Well, let me tell you: add a little bit of electronica to it and this fusion is da bomb! So, if you are free tonight come check out Delhi 2 Dublin, a Canadian world music group that plays an energetic mix of Indian Bhangra and Celtic music. I saw them perform live a few years ago and had lots of fun at their concert. Tonight’s show is at SPACE in Evanston at 7:30. Click here for more details of the show and to buy tickets.

If you want to learn more about the band, keep on reading. The band was kind enough to answer to some of my questions:

Please tell us about the band’s background: How did you come up with the idea of mixing Indian Bhangra and Irish music? What have you learned from this collaboration?
Basically, the band started as a happy accident in 2006 when the then programmer of Vancouver’s Celtic Festival asked Tarun (one of the band members) to “put something together.” The result was a 15 minute piece that mashed up Irish dancing with fiddle over electronic beats with a dose of Punjabi lyrics and Indian percussion and funny enough it was also a representation of Tarun’s heritage – half Punjabi and half Irish/Scottish. It’s hard to generalize what our music is about since the topics change from song to song but we do like to keep things on the electronic party tip, we find the energy created at our shows can do more than our most meaningful song. I feel the most important thing we have learned is how much work has to go into a project for it to be remotely successful and also how far a little lucky break can take you. I guess we have also learned how to be incredibly honest with each other. Oh and also how difficult it can be to write something simple and catchy!

The band has performed in Chicago before. Is there anything new you are bringing to Chicago this year?
Our set is continuously changing and so is the way we perform the older material, we’re constantly changing arrangements and stuff plus, we’ve got a bunch of new material. We’re also touring with Jaron Freeman Fox on the fiddle and guitar and his energy and playing style are sick to hear and watch.

Do you see any difference about the way cultural diversity is perceived in Canada versus the United States?
Yes, definitely, but with so many factors to consider it makes a direct comparison between the two countries very difficult, especially since there are such big regional differences within each respective country. This is a conversation on its own that could be discussed in great length.

Why should we go see your show?
Good old fashioned sweat-up-a-storm kinda good vibes!

Photo credit: Josli Rockafella The Commodore, Vancouver, BC (2011)
Photo credit: Josli Rockafella The Commodore, Vancouver, BC (2011)

The Day I Fell in Love with House Music – Chicago Pays Tribute to Frankie Knuckles

“I think dancing is one of the best things anyone can do for themselves. And it doesn’t cost anything,” Frankie Knuckles.

Honestly, I have heard of House music before and paid an occasional visit to Smart Bar, but never really connect with it…until a couple of days ago, when I attended this epic dance party that the city of Chicago threw to celebrate the life of the Godfather of House music, Frankie Knuckles, who recently passed away. Chicago got together, danced and partied in peace. People from all ages and walks of life were present and created a happy, captivating energy! Check a little bit of the party’s awesomeness in this video:

This type of events make me love this beautiful city even more (yes, I love you Chicago – can you tell by all the bragging I do about you?), AND they also awaken my curiosity. So, I talked to David Chavez from Sound Culture, to get some answers about the House music culture in Chicago. He is also a Music Program Coordinator for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events of the City of Chicago and was one of the brains behind this historic tribute. Here he is sharing his perspective about the House music phenomenon:

What is House music to you?
From a sociological perspective, House music to me is the product of a cultural and socio-economic time in the city, reflective of what was going on in Chicago during the 70’s and early 80’s. An alternative to the stranglehold of a segregated city, the height of 1970’s white flight and economic decay, and the backlash of black popular dance music, Disco.

From a human experience perspective, it was and still is Church for a lot of people, whatever that means to you. A safe space of acceptance to come as you are and celebrate life together without regard to race, class, or sexual orientation. It’s a release of energy and a spiritual recharge all at once. It’s a community that became a culture.

Off the top of my head I can’t really explain it another way, and any Chicago House head would agree, and expand on what I’m trying to say here.

What is the significance of House Music in Chicago?
House Music was born and developed here in Chicago and revolutionized electronic dance music globally. It’s part of our Chicago musical heritage next to Jazz, Blues, and Gospel.

Who was Frankie Knuckles and why did the City of Chicago host a dance party in his honor?
Frankie Knuckles was a DJ and producer who, in the mid to late 70’s, developed the sound that we call House Music today. His continued innovations and influence on DJ’s and producers around the world cemented the House sound. He is the “Godfather of House” and an ambassador for our city.

What places would you recommend visiting to immerse in the House music culture in Chicago?
Go to Gramophone Records, pick up 5 Magazine and read about the scene and various daily club events happening, attend the Chosen Few Picnic 4th of July weekend, and listen to mixes on

I hope the City of Chicago realizes that there is a need to have an event celebrating House music every year. After all, as David Chavez said, it is part of our musical heritage, and it is a global musical phenomenon that originated in Chicago. Events such as the dance party tribute to Frankie Knuckles – being held in public spaces at no charge – encourage integration and help promote the city as a global cultural destination. Kudos Chicago, you scored big with this one!




Come to the Puerto Rican Day Parade and Learn How to Dance Bomba!


Title: 31st Fiestas Puertorriqueñas Location: Humboldt Park Dates: June 13-16, 2013
Puerto Ricans are the second biggest Latino community in Chicago (more than 113 000 according to the 2000 census). This community, whose presence in the Windy City dates back to the 1940s, is celebrating the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade and Festival this weekend. This event takes place along Paseo Boricua on Division Street (between California and Western Ave) in Humboldt Park, a neighborhood considered as the heart of all things Puerto Rican in Chicago. The festival honors the nearly 4 million inhabitants of Puerto Rico and all people of Puerto Rican birth or heritage residing in the mainland U.S. This celebration has become the largest attended Latino festival in the city of Chicago and in the Midwest. It features four days of fun, food, and festivities.
Also, tomorrow Saturday June 15, the fest will be the epicenter of the Puerto Rican People’s Parade, which starts at noon at Division and Western Avenue. if you go to he People’s parade tomorrow, stop by Africaribe Open House between 11am and 3pm on Paseo Boricua. Get a quick tour, stay for their free workshop and join them for a Bombazo! Bring your drums, chairs, and Bomba skirts. You don’t know about Bomba? Then click here. It is music that will make your body dance. You will have a great time trying it! Here is the link with more information about this event: And here is the schedule for the festival entertainment:

Festival Entertainment
2:00PM – Open Cut Ribbon Ceremony
3:00PM – Welcome & Pastors Presentation
3:30PM – House Music by DJ Rafy
4:30PM – Tito Vega (Christian)
5:30PM – Orquesta Nissi (Christian)
6:30PM – Freddy Kenton
8:00PM – Willie Garcia y su Orq. Sabor

5:00PM – Omi Kennedy “El mas Completo”
6:00PM – Plena Libre
7:30PM – Luisito Carrion

1:00PM – House Music by DJ Rafy
2:00PM – Anthem & Speeches
3:15PM – Carlitos Rey celebrando 40 años
4:30PM – Asi Somos
6:00PM – Duelo de Soneros
(Kayvan Vega, Sammy Gonzalez & Cano de Sabana Seca)
7:30PM – Orquesta Mulenze

11:00AM – Misa (Mass)
12:30PM – Show Jibaro
1:30PM – BomPleneras
2:45PM – Mambo Seven
4:00PM – The Juke Box (Beatles tribute)
5:45PM – Grupo KARIS
7:30PM – NG2

Watch me on TV tonight for Perspectivas Latinas on CAN TV

Some of you know that I collaborate with CAN TV on the production and hosting of a bilingual forum called Perspectivas Latinas. The forum focuses on issues and concerns of Chicago nonprofit organizations in areas of health care, economic development, arts, education, immigration, labor, domestic violence, and other community concerns.

Interviewing Africaribe for  CAN TV's Perspectivas Latinas
Interviewing Africaribe for CAN TV’s Perspectivas Latinas

For those of you who live in Chicago and are not familiar with CAN TV, you should fix that ASAP.  CAN TV is an independent, nonprofit community media resource on cable devoted to giving every Chicagoan a voice on cable television. It is an excellent source of information about issues affecting Chicago residents and it gives you the opportunity to connect with local resources, interact with local politicians, and experience a diversity of viewpoints.

Tonight at 7:30pm, cable channel CAN TV 21  will be airing a funny interview I taped for Perspectivas Latinas with the cool guys from Sal Sation’s “Los Improviachis!”, a Latino sketch comedy group that sings improvised mariachi songs based on audience suggestions. We did one for Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and  they even created a song for me.  Hope you can tune in and if you have any suggestions or ideas for the show, please feel free to share them with me. CAN TV is available to all Chicago subscribers of Comcast, WOW and RCN.

Happy Saturday!

Tomorrow: Latino Networking Event at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Just a quick note to let you know of a great Latino networking event happening at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra tomorrow starting at 6:30 pm. It includes a performance by conductor Jose Mena featuring Brazilian composer Villa-Lobos work titled Amazonas, the story of a beautiful girl who bathes in the Amazon river only to be swallowed by a monster.
Prime seating starts at $35. Call 312-294-300 and mention the promo code NETWORK.


My TV interview with Chota Madre for CAN TV

Do you know there is a TV channel that belongs to the people of Chicago and gives every Chicagoan a voice on cable television? Did you know that it provides video training, facilities and channel time?  I am talking about Chicago Access Network Television, or CAN TV. This is an independent nonprofit organization that administers and promotes the use of Chicago’s public access channels. CAN TV’s five local, non-commercial channels reach one million viewers in the city of Chicago and is recognized as one of the finest access centers in the country. Cable companies provide support for CAN TV as part of franchise commitments in the City of Chicago. Its programs are over 90% local, helping viewers find jobs, locate HIV/AIDS and domestic violence counseling, access art and educational resources, interact with local public officials, and experience a diversity of viewpoints.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of hosting my first episode of CAN TV’s show Perspectivas Latinas, a weekly English/Spanish-language forum. My guests were the Director of Pachacamak Folk Foundation, Carmen Edith Freeze, an enthusiastic promoter of Ecuadorian culture in Chicago,  and New York band Chota Madre, a band that promotes Afro-Ecuadorian music out of Ecuador.  Here is the English version of the show:

If you want to see more of this awesome band, don’t miss their last show in Chicago tonight at Multikulti. You can find more information about this show here. Also,  if you are a Chicagoan, I would highly recommend connecting to  CAN TV as  a viewer, as a producer, or as someone who believes in the right of free expression. This channel is true democracy in action!

Win Free Tickets to Femi Kuti Concert on January 21st!

Femi Kuti

Monday January 21, 2013 9:30 PM

18 & Over. Valid State/Federal ID required for entry.
Doors open at 8:00 PM.
Also appearing: DJ Warp.

Advanced tickets: $24

Metro Chicago

3730 N. Clark St., Chicago, Illinois 60613

View Map · Get Directions

Femi Kuti is a Nigerian musician and the eldest son of afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti.  Anyone familiar with Femi’s career quickly realizes that he is simply not content coasting in the shadows. This refusal to fade from the limelight pushed him to break free from his father’s legacy and form his own band, The Positive Force. Femi Kuti became an artist in his own right in the ‘90s with his soulful delivery and balance between world influences and enthralling delivery.

A prominent member of the world music scene since the early ‘80s, Femi Kuti has melded afrobeat and jazz with soulful his unique sound embellishments unlike any other figure in world music. Inheriting his father’s social conscience, Femi Kuti is a social and political activist, as well. More than a musician or artist, Femi Kuti has become the artistic embodiment of his home country in the fullest sense.

Femi Kuti & The Positive Force will be appearing at Metro on January 21 and we have tickets to give away!

It couldn’t be easier to enter:

  • Enter your email on the upper right side of this page to subscribe to our blog or join our mailing list!
  • Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @urbclau
  • Leave a comment on this post and  tell us which is your favorite Femi Kuti’s song or why do you like his music.



Let’s Dance at the Chicago Cultural Center

As winter takes hold, swing into the new year with Winter Dance 2013 on January 4, 5, and 6 at the Chicago Cultural Center. It’s Winter’s version of SummerDance! Winter Dance will bring people of all ages and skill levels together in the Yates Gallery with free, introductory one-hour dance lessons by professional instructors followed by music and dancing. The diverse musical lineup showcases popular dance styles.

Friday, January 4, 2013
Swing Band: The Flat Cats
Dance Studio: Big City Swing – East Coast Swing

Saturday, January 5, 2013
Salsa Band: Carpacho y Su Super Combo
Dance Studio: Latin Rhythms – Salsa

Sunday, January 6, 2013
Ballroom Band: Teddy Lee Orchestra
Dance Studio: Fox Trot

Also at the CCC: Wired Fridays with Chicago Djs

Wired Fridays is a series of LunchBreak concerts featuring DJs and electronic music. From ambient to dance, the world of DJs and soundscape artists will be uncovered each Friday through May. The LunchBreak Series will also continue to feature music of all genres on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Click here for more information.

January 7-13: Free Dance Lessons with the American Rhythm Center

The American Rhythm Center (ARC), located in the Fine Arts Building on 410 S. Michigan Ave, 3rd Floor, is a collaborative, nonprofit space providing dance and movement/fitness classes to the public. A free week of dance classes is being offered at the ARC starting Monday, January 7. The ARC will host a “Tour the ARC” promotion, allowing the public to take one (1) free class from each of the different organizations from 1/7-1/13. The ARC is host to a variety of dance styles from Bollywood to hip hop to Chicago-style footwork to tap and contemporary jazz to NIA (a mind/body awareness movement class) to flamenco! Click here for more information.

Check out the American Rhythm Center website at The center opened this past October as a program of the Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) and is supported by  a partnership among seven (7) Chicago dance companies and arts organizations, including the Giordano Dance, Kalapriya, Cerqua Rivera, and Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute, to offer classes for the first time to the public. 

January 11: Rumba Reggae Party with my band Nu Bambu 

We are taking over the stage of Underground Wonder Bar once more for some live and original Chicago Rumba-Reggae music.  Nu Bambu will perform at 8pm. $5 Cover and good drink specials. Get ready to dance and have a great time! RSVP here

January 20: Join Chicago Urbanite at the Peruvian Young Professional Network

3856 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60613

Socialize and mix business with pleasure at this fun Peruvian Young Professionals Networking event. Make new friends, expand your list of business contacts and learn about Peruvian culture. We will celebrating the Anniversary of the City of Lima. Admission includes complimentary appetizers, one drink, a special performance of traditional music from Lima by Peruvian Tenor Javier Bernardo (member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago), and a mini class of marinera limeña, a traditional dance from Lima. $10 in advance/$15 at the door. It is recommended to buy tickets in advance. Limited space available. Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

January 25: Afro-Latino Drum Circle and Concert with Chota Madre 

1000 N. Milwaukee Ave (top floor), Chicago, Illinois 60642

Join us for a drum circle session and concert with Chota Madre, the only Ecuadorian band outside of Ecuador that promotes Afro-Ecuadorian bomba music. They will be visiting Chicago for the first time and will share their cultural movement with us. Bomba was born and flourished from the cultural exchange between the indigenous, mestizo and African communities living in proximity in the Carchi and Imbabura provinces of Ecuador. Bomba is characterized by the percussion bomba drum, handmade by the African descendants living in the area. Together the requinto guitar, the guiro, and male and female voices transmit color, feeling and passion to the people. It is suggested to bring a percussion instrument or anything that can be used as a percussion instrument such as cans, buckets, pipes, etc. You can also bring any other musical instrument.
One need not possess or purchase a drum or be a musician to participate. The participants make up the music as they go along, using their listening and playing skills to make musical connections and express themselves in any way that feels right. Participation is voluntary and often includes drumming, singing or chanting, dancing, and listening. $7. Click here for more information.

Lyric Opera and The Second City put the fun in dysfunctional!

So you probably watched the CBS’ Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show a couple of nights ago and thought it was very glamorous huh? Well, do you know that there is a Chicago institution that produces shows that are more fabulous and whose productions have such racy subjects as  sex, revenge and betrayal? No, it is not the Jerry Springer Show. No, it is not Oprah. I am talking about the Chicago Lyric Opera, one of the leading opera companies in the United States.  The Lyric Opera is a thrilling live entertainment option that takes audiences where no screen can. I had the fortune to be casted as a supernumerary for the production of Aida this last season (see picture and video below):

Me as Amneris attendant for Aida
Me as Amneris attendant for Aida

The experience of being part of  such glamorous productions is so thrilling that people keep doing it for years, even decades.  The Opera is certainly a passionate affair! However, many think of the Opera as boring and elitist. The Lyric Opera wanted to change these perceptions and asked themselves: How can we convey the excitement of the opera experience in a way that removes perceptual barriers? Enter Second City, the world’s premier comedy club/theatre and school of improvisation. This other Chicago institution is partnering with the Lyric Opera in a production that will present Opera in a more contemporary, accessible, and inclusive way. Their debut collaboration is a production titled The Second City Guide to the Opera, a mash-up of improv comedy and music. The January 5, 2013 event will feature the celebrated soprano Renée Fleming, along with performers from the fabled comedy troupe. It will be a funny, fabulous evening that will delight both opera aficionados and those who thought an opera house is the last place they’d ever come to be entertained. Unfortunately, the show is sold out as of now, but here is a couple of videos that resulted from this collaboration.  The first one is a parody of Hansel and Gretel, the opera production that opens tomorrow.

By the way, there is an exclusive offer for young professionals (21-45) to get tickets this production at up to 65% OFF and help hungry kids at the same time. If you become a member of the Lyric Young Professionals group, you can attend Hansel and Gretel at special reduced prices! Enjoy great entertainment and join Lyric in helping the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Choose Friday, December 7 or Tuesday, January 8. Then, bring a bag of non-perishable groceries to the Civic Opera House for your performance. Complimentary reception begins at 6pm. Performance at 7:30pm. Click here and use promo code GRETEL to order tickets. $39, $59, OR $79. Up to 65% OFF regular prices!

The second video is about another production that will open later this season: La Bohème.

Are you interested in participating in these productions? On Monday, December 10th at 7:00pm, the Lyric Opera of Chicago will audition male and female adult supernumeraries (extras) for La Bohème.  To obtain an information packet about becoming a supernumerary please send your information to Bill Walters, super captain, at  or call the Supernumerary Hotline at (312) 827-3538.

Also, if you are a full-time college student, you can get discounted tickets (as low as $20) through the NExT ticket program.  Click here to learn more.

I hope you get the chance to experience all the glamour and excitement that the Opera has to offer. Long Live Passion!

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