Where to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Chicago

It has been a while since I last posted, but I am back to tell you where to celebrate the next big holiday in Chicago. Historically, Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday that commemorates the victory of Mexico over France in the battle of Puebla in 1862. This holiday, however, is more popular in the United States than in Mexico. Why? Changing demographics and the enormous repercussion this victory had on the outcome of the U. S. Civil War. Some historians state that had Mexico not defeated the French in Puebla, France would have gone to the aid of the Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War and the United States’ destiny would have been different. Nowadays, Cinco de Mayo’s historical significance got lost in time and the holiday is more of a cultural celebration of everything Mexican and and an excuse to party than anything else. 

Chicago holds one of the largest Mexican-American communities in the country and the city offers many choices to celebrate on May 5. However, out of all those options, my recommendation is to network and socialize with a great organization that will be hosting a huge Mexican-American celebration in Chicago: the Cinco de Mayo event put on by HispanicPro at the Godfrey Hotel. HispanicPro is the premier networking organization for Hispanic professionals in Illinois and the largest producer of networking events targeting the Hispanic professional community in Chicago. It’s free to join, you get access to some of the coolest venues in Chicago and meet interesting people from different professions. I was invited to their April event at Ronero, and while enjoying some light food and beverages, I had an interesting conversation with the president of the Chicago Symphony Latino Alliance (CSLA). CSLA is another great organization that hosts pre Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert networking events with special guest artists who give insights into the evening’s concert. I learned a lot about their membership (it’s free!) and some of the interesting events they offer. If HispanicPro hadn’t invited me to their professional event, I would never have learned about this unique experience from CSLA. HispanicPro functions are not only great for networking, professional tips, and discovering unique opportunities, they’re also festive events to attend. The music and the conga player at the end of the event I attended had many of us going to the networking floor and turning it into a dance floor. This organization definitely strikes the perfect balance between function and fun. If you want to find out more about them and their upcoming Cinco de Mayo event, visit their website.

A couple of days later, on May 7 at noon, head to the Cinco de Mayo Parade in Little Village, one of the signature Mexican neighborhoods in Chicago and home to more people of Mexican ancestry than any other community in the Midwest. It is one of the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the city. The parade goes from Cermak Rd. and Damen Ave to Marshall Blvd. By the way, did you know that Little Village retail strip is the second highest grossing shopping district in Chicago after glamourous Michigan Avenue? Now that you know, on Cinco de Mayo, let’s raise our Margaritas and make a toast for the brave Mexican and Mexican-American people who contributed and keep contributing to the greatness of the United States of America.



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.


Chicago Symphony Orchestra Imports Cuban Goods

The other night, I was at the Orchestra Hall of  Symphony Center,  waiting for the start of a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert. While waiting,  I was admiring all the beauty that this place beholds. I felt grateful for living in a city that has such an amazing space for music and such a magnificent orchestra. Did you know that the Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center was designated a National Historic Landmark and that Chicago Symphony Orchestra is one of the five American orchestras commonly referred to as the “Big Five“? The CSO does not only hold classical music concerts, but also world music events. This year, I had the pleasure of  seeing the Sowetto Gospel Choir from South Africa and Flamenco guitar virtuoso Paco de Lucia from Spain there.

This Friday, it is Cuba’s turn. Vibraphonist Stefon Harris, saxophonist David Sánchez and trumpeter Nicholas Payton cross the 90-mile divide between Cuba and the United States in a session that blends traditional Cuban rhythms with jazz. Not only do these three virtuosos combine to generate a unique musical force, they create a true Cuban-American musical collaboration that defies political borders. Kicking off this double bill is Grammy® Award-winning Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba with an extraordinary solo set.  You can buy tickets for this show here. And if you want to see a panoramic view of the Orchestra Hall, just double click the picture below. You will feel as if you are sitting there!


Free World Music Fest, Carmina Burana, Villapalooza and more!

Summer must be over but events in Chicago are still heating up! 

Here are my picks for this weekend:

Chicago World Music Fest

September 21-27

Multiple locations

The awaited World Music Fest is starting tomorrow and runs until September 27. We are very excited about this year’s version because it will be the first time that all performances are free. This year’s festival also has a marked preference for showcasing local world music bands. This is the largest and longest running festival of international music in the US. Click here to see the full schedule and participating venues.


Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs Carmina Burana at Millennium Park

Friday September 21st at 6:30pm

In September 2010, Riccardo Muti launched his tenure as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with an unforgettable concert in Millennium Park. With an audience of 25,000, this monumental “Concert for Chicago” was praised for its thrilling physical impact, elegance and staggering power by the Chicago Tribune. This fall, Muti and the CSO return to Millennium Park to perform Carl Orff’s choral blockbuster, Carmina Burana. Don’t miss what is sure to be another landmark in CSO and Chicago history. You can find more information about this event here


Saturday, September 22nd starting at 12:00pm  

3724 W. 26th St.

Presented by the SurCul Collective, a group of community organizers and educators, Villapalooza is an all-day outdoor music festival based in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood, and back for its second year on September 22.

Among this year’s musical acts will be my band NuBambu and electro-cumbia giants Cumbia Machin from San Diego, CA, local favorites MalafachaSangre MichoacanaSchemeSin OrdenPopulation, and Vicios De Papa.

$5 suggested donation gets you access to all three stages and a full day of great music! 

Click here for full schedule

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