Interview: video of Novalima concert in Chicago

Novalima brought the house down during their fourth concert in Chicago! Here is a video of their last concert with some interviews before and after the show. The first two interviews are in Spanish. If you don’t speak Spanish, here is a summary:  Cotito, one of the percussionists of the band and the ambassador of Peruvian cajon, talks about their latest Novalima CD: Diabolic. I ask him about the origin of this name and he doesn’t know the answer, so I suggest one: it must be due to the diabolic sounds of his cajon that gets everybody crazy. Then it is Ramon Perez Prieto’s turn, one of the co-founders of Novalima, talking about the beauty of Chicago and expressing his interest in exploring bars here. He also explains that Novalima music is a fusion of rhythms from around the world but with strong Afro-Peruvian roots, which includes the use of traditional Afro-Peruvian musical instruments.

Afro-Peruvian Dance Flashmob Video

I always liked the idea of being part of a dance flashmob. So last week, when I saw a video of TACA Airlines doing a dance flashmob with live music on a plane, I said to myself: If they can do it, we can do it here too!

I decided to do a flashmob that would pay tribute to the Day of Peruvian Criolla Music (Día de la Canción Criolla), which is celebrated in Peru every October 31st. With less than one week to organize it, I reached out to my network of friends in the dance and music community. And they responded! People from Peru and other nationalities like Serbia, Romania, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the United States, all collaborated. It was wonderful to see the enthusiasm and joy of all who participated. For many, it was their first time learning about Afro-Peruvian rhythms. It showed again the power of music and dance to unite us all.

So, here are the results of our collaboration. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. In fact, we liked it so much that we are thinking of repeating it very soon.  If you want to join us and be part of future dance flashmobs,  just leave a comment here.

Be part of an Afro-Peruvian percussion and dance flash mob in Chicago

Wanna learn a little of Afro-Peruvian dance? Then come to a FREE mini dance flash mob rehearsal tomorrow Sunday October 28 at Africaribe Cultural Center (2547 W Division) between 11am and 1pm. Easy steps and tons of fun. We will do the dance flash mob at a place nearby immediately after rehearsal.
If you can, bring the following:
Casual, comfortable, street clothes (bright-colored tops are preferred)
An empty glass bottle and a metal spoon to be used as musical instrument.

Hope to see you there!

The Afrodiaspora of Susana Baca

A delightful musical journey through the diaspora of the African community in the Americas was experienced last Saturday evening at Susana Baca’s concert at Mayne Stage. The celebrated Afro-Peruvian music singer came to Chicago to present her latest album titled Afrodiaspora. This album celebrates the African presence in the Americas through a compilation of songs that go from New Orleans to Peru. This compilation is the result of Susana’s numerous trips to different parts of this continent. During these trips, she found that the music of these countries had something in common: the sound of African rhythms.A barefooted Susana in a long flowing white dress took the stage and got our entire attention with her soft movements and ethereal voice. She was the perfect guide to embark us on this musical journey in time and space. What a wonderful journey we had! We heard from Colombian Cumbia, to Flamenco mixed with Tango and Panalivio, and Funk from New Orleans mixed with Peruvian Festejo. My favorite song from this album is Yana Runa, a beautiful mix of Afro Peruvian and Andean rhythms. Susana, as a good travel guide, took the time to explain the story behind each of the songs she interpreted. She explained, for example, that the song titled Ay mi Palomita (which actually belongs to a previous album), is a song that the Black Slaves and Peruvian Indians used to sing during the sugar cane harvest in the Northern Coast Region of Peru.Susana has recently been named the Minister of Culture of Peru. She is the first Afro-Peruvian woman appointed to that post. Fernando Hoyle, her tour manager, says that she is trying to be “una ministra cantante” (a singer minister), and hopefully keep touring while she is fulfilling her government duties. I hope she is able to do it. Susana radiates so much light and soul during her live performances that I never get tired to go to her concerts. It is always a pleasure to see her perform. If you have not had the chance to see her live, here is a sample of her performance at Mayne Stage:
To listen to the songs of Susana Baca’s new album Afrodiaspora, and to buy the CD, visit susanabaca.com

Don’t Miss Chicago Folk and Roots Festival This Weekend

Summer is now in full swing in Chicago and there are  many world music and dance activities going on in the city. My pick for this weekend is the Chicago Folk and Roots Festival.  This festival is a two-day celebration organized by the Old Town School of Folk Music, an institution committed to teach and celebrate music and cultural expressions rooted in the tradition of diverse American and global communities. The festival attracts 30,000 people for a spectacular array of music and dance performances from around the world. The festival also offers dance workshops,  children’s activities, food, drink, and retail vendors. This year, I will have the pleasure to participate in this great celebration as a dancer with Peruvian Folk Dance Center.  If you are interested in seeing this performance, come by  3:30 pm today. There is a $10 donation to get in the festival ($5 for seniors, 65 and over, and $5 for kids). For more information about other performances and dance workshops, go to http://www.chicagofolkandroots.org/. Hope to see you there!



Chicago World Music Events for the weekend of June 17-19

Hello there!

Here is your world music  itinerary for this weekend in Chicago. Click on the links below or on the calendar link in the right column of this page for more information. I hope you can attend one or more of these events. And if you do, please share your comments/pics/videos with me. I would love to hear about your experiences exploring the city. Thanks!

June 17:

Peace Fest Chicago

Los Vicios de Papa and Middle Eastern Musicians at a Celebration of Freedom

Rudresh Mahanthappa & The Indo-Pak Coalition

Luciano Antonio CD Release

LA NOCHE: live afro-latin music and dance

Greek Night with Sounds of Greece

June 18:

Peace Fest Chicago

Puerto Rican Parade in downtown Chicago

Peace and healing arts festival

Afro-Peruvian music and dance at Kurrulao-Afro Culture Festival: Peruvian Folk Dance Center will perform Afro-Peruvian music and Dance at this festival at 4pm. There will also be dance performances from other countries. Here is the schedule:

Kurrulao Festival

Pineapple Haifa Students show

Rudresh Mahanthappa & The Indo-Pak Coalition

June 19:

Peace Fest Chicago

Rudresh Mahanthappa & The Indo-Pak Coalition