Video of Dance Flashmob at Novalima Concert in Chicago

We did it again! Our dance flashmob during Novalima’s concert at Clark Street Wold Music Festival  was a lot of fun and here is the video to prove it. Thanks to everyone who participated, and specially to Milagros Guerrero Ormeño, lead singer of the Peruvian dance band, Novalima, for being our accomplice!

Do you have any ideas for another flashmob? Leave your comment here. We want to hear it!

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Experience Live Big Band Cuban Style in Chicago

The first immigrants from Cuba began setting foot in Chicago during the 1950s, fleeing their country for economical or political reasons. Their port of entry was the Logan Square neighborhood. Many of them eventually progressed and left to move to the suburbs and, but sixty years later, you can still feel their presence in Logan Square. If you wander around its streets, you may find a Cuban corner store, a restaurant that serves Cuban food, and if you speak Spanish, you may even hear people talking with a distinct Cuban accent. One of these old Logan Square residents told me about a great anecdote that happened in the neighborhood involving the famous and beloved Cuban singer Celia Cruz. His neighbor almost ran her over on the corner of Sacramento and Palmer Square Blvd. Celia was in the neighborhood to participate in the baptism of her godchild and was probably crossing the street on her way to St. Sylvester Church. She had relatives living in the neighborhood at that time.

It seems only appropriate, given the significance of the 1950s era in the history of the Cuban community in Chicago, to pay tribute to the Cuban music of that period. Sylvia Hevia, from Sylvia Hevia Productions, had the brilliant idea of reviving the music of some of Cuba’s best artists, and thus honoring a timeless era in Latin Music. The show is tomorrow, Friday, December 12th at the Vittum Theater. It is the first one of its kind, and it will honor Cuban music legends such as Beny Moré, Celia Cruz, Buena Vista Social Club and Gloria Estefan. The whole band will be dressed in 1950’s attire, capturing the era, with tuxedos for the men and elegant long gowns for the women. The show will feature Chicago vocalists Ivelisse Diaz, Patricia Ortega, Edward Carpio and Fernando Quintero. This is a concert-style show, so there is no space to dance, but the show promises to be delightful.

Buy your tickets here

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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 claudia@chicagourbanite.com.  The winner will be selected randomly and notified via email.

GOOD LUCK!

Recommended: Cellist Ian Maksin New Album Release Performance September 20

It was love at first sound when cellist and composer Ian Maksin heard cello for the first time at age six:  “it instantly seemed to me like the sound came straight from the human soul, and I had to learn how to play whatever it would take”. Since then, he has gained international acclaim for his beautiful tone and distinct style as well as his uniquely charismatic way with the audience. Ian takes the cello well outside its conventional scope and blends together classical, jazz and world music.  He has collaborated with artists of many different genres including Andrea Bocelli, P. Diddy, Snoop Dogg and Gloria Estefan. He has also opened for such artists as Sting and his guitarist Dominic Miller. To Ian,  his main goal as an artist is “to close the gap between generations and societies through art, and make the beauty of cello music accessible to everyone”.

Ian is coming out with a new album titled Soul Companion. He will have a big Chicago release celebration performance this Saturday, September 20 at the Old Town School of Folk Music with some very special guests. The album has original music for solo cello inspired by  folk music from around the world as well as his own rendition of Sting’s all-time classic Fields of Gold. He will joined on stage by Joffrey Ballet dancer Lucas Segovia, members of the legendary flamenco ensemble Las Guitarras de España (Carlos Basile and Bob Garrett) as well as veena player from India Saraswathi Ranganathan for a unique jam blending music from every corner of the world.

IAN MAKSIN New Album  Release Performance at Old Town School of Folk Music SEPTEMBER 20, 8pm

General admission: $20
Advance purchase is highly recommended. Buy your ticket here:

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)

Free tickets for Playing for Change Concert tomorrow

I have tickets to give away for the Playing for Change concert this Saturday at 7pm at Old Town School (here is the event page).

To enter for a chance to win one pair of complimentary tickets, leave a comment below. The winner will be selected randomly and notified via email tomorrow June 7, 2014 in the morning

Playing for Change is a multimedia music project that seeks to inspire, connect, and bring peace to the world through music. Mark Johnson, the founder of the Playing for Change Movement was kind enough to answer some of my questions about it.

What is Playing for Change?

Playing For Change is a Movement uniting people all over the world through music.

A small crew travel the globe recording and filming musicians live outside creating Songs around the world such as “Stand By Me” and “What’s going on”.  As we travel we meet different musicians and assemble some of the best to be a part of the Playing For Change Band, a group of 10 or so musicians from 8 different countries who bring the power of music live to the stage and create a world with the audience where we are going to make it as a human race.  Playing For Change also created a separate Non-profit titled the PFC Foundation establishing music schools around the world in the communities we had met while traveling and recording.  Today there are 9 music programs in 6 countries.

 

How was this collective created?

The PFC Band was initially created to perform a benefit concert to fund and support the PFC Foundation’s first music school in Gugulethu, South Africa in 2009.  The idea was to combine on the stage many of the musicians from our songs around the world who had never met in person.  They had only met through the videos so when they finally got together on the stage there was so much love and talent we knew this musical group was destined to play together all over the world.  Five years later, the concerts are on Fire and audiences everywhere get to join in the global family through the music.

 

Any famous musicians involved in this collective?

As the project has grown more and more musicians have joined in, including Keith Richards, Bono, Sara Bareilles, Stephen and Ziggy Marley, Keb’ Mo’ and Jackson Browne and the list keeps on growing…

 

 

Any touching stories or outcomes as a result of this collaboration?

One great story features PFC Band member / singer Titi Tsira.  She is from Gugulethu Township, a very poor area outside of Capetown, South Africa.  While we where there to open the very first PFC Music school, Titi came to perform and I remember hearing her voice and falling out of my chair.  Titi reminded me of an South African Aretha Franklin!! She has been in the PFC Band ever since and she is also featured on our upcoming PFC 3 CD/DVD Songs around the world singing with Keith Richards and Sara Bareilles.  Titi has come a long way from home to bring the spirit and love of South Africa to the world.

 

Why should we go see your show?

People should come to see the PFC Band so they can join the world wide family using music to connect hearts across the globe. The band is filled with so much talent and soul and the concerts mix Blues, soul, Reggae, Salsa and Zulu Funk together into a performance you will never forget!! There is so much talent in this band from so many different countries and cultures and they unite to create something new and powerful, music for the poeple.

One Love, Mark Johnson

 

Mark Johnson, the founder of Play for Change, in Congo
Mark Johnson, the founder of Play for Change, in Congo

Save the date: Reggae band Black Uhuru is coming to Chicago November 23

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Grammy-award winning Jamaican group Black Uhuru is one of the most recognized and prolific reggae bands for over 50 years. Black Uhuru’s long success has allowed them to become ambassadors of reggae while earning several achievements in the music industry. With 14 full length albums, 7 instrumental dub albums, and 4 live albums they have the highest record sales in reggae music behind Bob Marley. The album Red was voted #23 for Rolling Stone’s list of “100 Greatest Albums of the 1980′s. Aside from winning the first reggae grammy they have been nominated 5 more times. They are the only reggae group to have won the Diamond Awards of Excellence in 1994.

The band is coming to Chicago on November 23 for an exclusive concert at Mayne Stage.

Tickets are for sale here:

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.

Photos of Femi Kuti Concert in Chicago

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.

GOOD LUCK!