Global Rhythms Chicago starts tomorrow

Hello Urbanites!

How have you been? I am back after a long absence from this blog. I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving Day. And in the spirit of this holiday, I want to invite you attend an event that benefits the local artistic community  and other charitable organizations in Chicago. The Chicago Human Rhythms Project is presenting Global Rhythms, a concert series dedicated to American tap and contemporary percussive arts companies. Just by attending Global Rhythms – November 26 & 27 – you, your friends and family can make a difference in Chicago by designating 50% of your ticket price to worthy non-profit organizations around Chicago. Just pick the organization you want to support from this list and mention their promo code when you order your ticket. When you mention a code, you will also receive 10% off the ticket price .

This weekend, Chicago will rock with the following earth-shaking percussive arts ensembles from around the nation:

Step Afrika from Washington, D.C. is the first professional company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping. Founded in December 1994, the company is critically-acclaimed for its efforts to promote an understanding of and appreciation for stepping and the dance tradition’s use as an educational tool for young people worldwide. Step Afrika reaches tens of thousands of Americans each year and has performed on many stages in North & South America, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean.

Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater under the artistic leadership of Founder, Dame Libby Komaiko and Associate Artistic Director, Irma Suarez Ruiz, is the premier Spanish dance company and center in the United States to have in-residence status at a university, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago.  The Company, under the auspices of the Department of Music & the Dance Program, is chartered to share the rich traditions of the dance, music, literature, and culture of Spain in the classical, folkloric and Flamenco styles, with all communities, and to be a center which encourages new artistic creativity within the framework of the Ibero-Hispanic experience.  The Ensemble Espanol, founded in 1976 by Dame Libby, is comprised of forty dancers, singers, musicians and guest artists.

The Mexican Folkloric Dance Company of Chicago was founded in 1982 by José Luis and Matie Ovalle, its present artistic directors and choreographers. As Chicago’s oldest Mexican dance institution, MFDC has received countless recognitions and awards, has performed for three presidents and represented Mexico in the 1994 USA World Cup opening ceremony, as well as numerous national television performances, most recently at the 2009 Latin Grammy Awards. MFDC will welcome their special guests, the Grammy nominated music sensation – Sones de Mexico!

Sones de Mexico is a unique ensemble of seasoned Mexican folk musicians and educators that hails from Chicago, a city that boasts a Mexican community that is quickly nearing one million people. The group formed in 1994 to keep the tradition of Mexican son alive in its many regional forms, true to its roots and old masters, and current and fresh at the same time.
Chicago Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts was founded by tap legend Tommy Sutton and under the direction of Peggy Sutton. Performing only Sunday evening is the Mayfair Performing Company, under the direction of Maria A. Lanier-Ware, in an original step dance created by Jarkari Sherman. Mayfair celebrates 54 years of dance excellence and community service.
Hope to see you there!

The Chicago Music Without Borders Experience with Diogo Nogueira

I have to share with you an amazing world music experience that I had last night. Coincidentally, it happened during the severe thunderstorm that affected Chicago (for some reason, the best Summer memories that I have of this beautiful city have always happened under the rain). I went to see Brazilian musician Diogo Nogueira at  the Music Without Borders series at Millenium Park.  The Music Without Borders is a series of free outdoor concerts that explore music from cultures spanning the entire globe. The music was great and Diogo was able to connect with the audience really well, but what I most enjoyed about last night was the spirit of the people who attended the event. Many of them were familiar faces, locals from different parts of the world that love Brazilian music as well as musicians and dancers that tend to frequent Barra N on Tuesday nights. Despite the bad weather, we managed to have a fabulous time. We were dancing and cheering for Chicago even at the worst moment of the storm, when wind gusts were reaching 81 mph. Chicago definitely has the coolest people in the world! Here is a visual report of what happened last night. And if you have not experienced going to a Music Without Borders concert, I highly recommend you doing it. Gather some friends, bring a picnic blanket and some food, sit on the grass, and enjoy the performances of some incredible world musicians at one of the most beautiful places that we have here.

Today: Positive Chicago Hip Hop Culture Block Party at Millenium Park

Good morning Urbanites!

Today I have an excellent free show for you to check out. If you are looking for options on how to spend your afternoon, go to the Pritzker Pavillion at Millenium park at 6:30pm for the Hip Hop Chicago show that my good friend and excellent B-boy dancer Kid Jungle from T.A.F. dance is directing. This is a free and family friendly event that is built on the hit show that blew audiences away at the Shanghai World Expo 2010.

Hip Hop Chicago is an hour and a half long music and dance show that brings together 26 local artists to celebrate the best of Chicago hip hop culture with a showcase of authentic beats, rhymes, and moves that blend signature hip hop elements with American and international influences. The theme of the show is the portrayal of POSITIVE Hip Hop Culture and includes Breakdancing, Popping, Locking, African, and Capoeira dancers. African and Capoeira have been added to show some of the roots of Hip Hop dance. There will be musical pieces performed by Hip Hop Bands Sidewalk Chalk and St. Bagu.

This is a production of the Center for Asian Arts and Media at Columbia College Chicago,in conjunction with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

You can find more information about this show at www.hiphopchicago.org.

World Music & Dance Agenda for Tonight

Hello  Urbanites!

Tonight we have many good world music options to explore in Chicago. These are:

Music Without Borders – Dandana: A Celebration of Muslim Voices featuring Hakim + Alim Qasimov Ensemble

Ensemble Espanol’s Duende Flamenco Music and Dance Concerts,

Colombia Vive Chicago 10th Anniversary and 3rd Annual Fundraiser, and

Las BomPleneras Debut @ Fiestas Patronales Puertorriqueñas Chicago.

Click on the  Calendar link on the right column of this page for further information.

Happy world music adventures!