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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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 deephousepage.com.

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!

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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.

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Free Tickets to Lila Downs concert tomorrow October 12

Enter for a chance to win a FREE TICKET to this concert! If you are a blog subscriber, leave a comment on this post to participate. If you are not,  enter your email address where it says “follow blog via email” on this page and then leave a comment.  We will announce two winners here tomorrow Friday October 12 at noon.

Good luck! 

Singer Lila Downs grew up with the culture of her father, a professor from the United States, but eventually turned her back on it to explore the tradition of her mother, a Mixteca Indian from Mexico. In doing so, she has created a very individual strain of song that has indigenous Mexican roots and North American sonorities. Her musical vision is anthropological in nature and as varied as the ancient and earthy cultures that continue to nurture and inspire her. Embracing and highlighting indigenous origins, whether in the U.S. or Mexico, has always been an important aspect of her music, as well as the topics of political and social justice, immigration, and transformation, all rooted in the human condition. She strives to make a meaningful connection with her diverse audiences through her music and performances. “I’m so lucky,” remarks Downs. “People who follow our music are from all walks of life, and they want to scratch the surface to know the whys and hows. Every day we get to connect in so many ways.” For over a decade, Lila Downs has traversed the planet, bringing her dramatic and highly unique reinvention of traditional Mexican music and original compositions fused with blues, jazz, soul, African root, and even klezmer music, all supporting her soaring voice. Some would classify Lila as a Mexican artist, but there is no real way to categorize her music except to say that it is a unique and exciting fusion of international sounds. A musical journey with Lila Downs is always a fascinating one, simultaneously edgy and powerful, yet sumptuous and graceful. Here is the video of her latest single “Zapata Se Queda”:

Lila will perform tomorrow with HURAKAN, a Chicago band that creates experimental-ambient music based on traditional rhythmic danzas (ceremonial dances), combining contemporary beats, poetry and songs with reference to ancient Mexican culture, and social consciousness. Incorporating and preserving native musical instruments such as “panhuehuetl” (Mexican drum), “teponaztli” (wood percussion),electronic synthetizers , along with instruments made of natural elements like stones, shells, clay and wooden flutes.  As the guys from HURAKAN stated, they will be sharing the stage with Lila Downs  on  October 12 (observed as Columbus Day in the United States) “celebrating cultural diversity in the day of the race and resistance!”

Concert information:

LILA DOWNS 

Olympic Theatre
6134 W. Cermak Cicero, IL 60804

Friday October 12, 2012

Doors at 7PM/ Show at 8PM

Ticket price: $40-$65

More info at:

www.rebentonpromotions.com/web/lila-downs/

2/10: Party in a serious way

Soulphonetic’s Christian Vera is turning 30 this month.  Soulphonetics is a DJ collective that spins the soulful sounds of House, Jazz and all forms of Afro-Latin and Electronic rhythms.   I have been to some of their Dance Syndrome parties and have always had a blast. Christian will be celebrating with some of Chicago’s best DJs such as Sound Culture and DJ New Life, up and coming hip-hop crew PRESTON & JOEY PURPS, and international carioca bass queen Zuzuka Poderosa.
Zuzuka Poderosa drops Brazilian bred, BK-based swagger like no other. A stylistic blend of Funk Carioca Bass and NYC rumble add a breath of fresh air to today’s international music scene.

When

Friday, February 10, 2012
9:00 pm – 2:00 am

Where

BEAUTY BAR
1444 West Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60642
Get Directions

Cost

$5 cover (21+)

Me gustas tu, Manu Chao

An electrifying energy was felt last night at Congress Theater. The reason? Franco-Spanish world musician Manu Chao performed in Chicago as part of his US Tour titled “La Ventura”. “La Ventura” has several meanings in Spanish. It could mean happiness, luck, fortune, risk or danger. The combination of all these meanings sums up very well what many felt at Manu’s concert: an overwhelming feeling of happiness for having the good fortune of being there at the risk of ending up hyperventilated after 2 hours of non-stop jumping and screaming. It was a dangerous but very lucky affair being at the Congress last night.

The house was full for Manu, and the crowd that came to see him was – like his lyrics – diverse and multilingual.  A big Mexican flag dominated the sea of people located in front of the stage, which was acknowledged by the singer in multiple occasions by screaming “Viva la Raza!”( which literally means “long live the race,” a phrase used mostly by Mexicans to show pride in their race).  But not only Mexicans attended the concert . The place was packed with people from Central and South America, Europe, and of course, the United States. This was a very receptive audience who got turned on very easily by anything that Manu played, which was a continuous output of reggae and ska rhythms. The connection between the singer and the crowd was intensely ecstatic, and together they created an unforgettable show of pure raw energy.

Wearing his trademark green hat, Manu faced the audience “descamisado” (shirtless), maybe because he knew it was going to get really hot or maybe because he was subliminally expressing his identification with the poor and underprivileged which are the theme of many of his songs such as “Clandestino”. The stage also followed this theme: it did not have big screens, special props or flashing lights. It was very simple, showing just Manu, his band members, and the musical instruments. But he did not need anything else to turn the crowd into its frenetic state.Manu was a passionate performer throughout the two hours of his show, pounding the mic against his bare chest, making monkey noises, screaming “You are crazy Chicago!” and letting fans get on the stage with him. The audience became a mirror of the man. One local musician mentioned that before coming to the show he had felt depressed, but after attending the concert he felt pumped up and ready to roll. Another audience member said that “the show felt like it was always ending,” because on four occasions the band left the stage only to return and do encores, making the crowd go crazier and only deepen its euphoric trance.

Manu Chao’s concert in Chicago proved to be entertaining and highly energetic. It also showed that  there is no need to have an expensive production to  have a successful concert. Instead, it is important to know how to connect with the audience. And Manu certainly knows how to do it. He made the audience  feel as an active participant of the show: he was the lead singer and them his back-up singers and dancers. He made them love him. As his song goes, everyone who attended this concert can joyfully say:  Me gustas tu, Manu Chao!

 

 

La Ventura Tour

La Ventura Tour

Photos by Mark Hetzel

Tonight: SinFest 2011

Hey Urbanites! Sinnerman Ensemble, a local Chicago theater company of 12 young actors, is inviting us to join them in celebrating their fifth anniversary season at SinFest, Sunday, Sept. 4 at The Den, 1333 N Milwaukee Ave. (2nd Floor). The party,will start at 7pm and will include: Food, drinks, a raffle, live music (Jon Drake & the Shakes, Sad Brad Smith, Dick Wolf, DJ Josie Bush) party photography and more. Click here for more information about the ensemble, the party, and to buy tickets.

This weekend: Chicago’s Blues Festival and more

The Chicago Blues Festival and CUBE: Chicago Underground Blues Experience

The Chicago Blues Festival, the largest free blues festival in the world and  the largest of Chicago’s Music Festivals is in full swing right now. The local Blues dance community is organizing an event called CUBE: Chicago Underground Blues Experience 2011 in which they serve as guides to all the best our fine city has to offer in live music, local blues joints, evening dances and all-out fun. More information at http://chicagobluesdance.com/CUBE/2011/ andhttp://www.explorechicago.org/city/en/things_see_do/event_landing/special_events/mose/chicago_blues_festival.html.

GLOBE SONICO @ Cafe D’Noche
2710 N. Milwaukee Ave. 10pm-3am
Join Aguzate & Sound Culture on Fridays and Saturdays as they remix the world!
They’ll be hanging out and playing the best in Afro Latin, Tropical Bass, Global beats and International grooves in the heart of Logan Square.
D’Noche is an intimate lounge that serves up cocktails and pan-latin cuisine. (Kitchen is open until 11 pm). Patio is open.Free Parking in the Rear.
See menu and drink selection: dnochechicago.com 
No Cover, Drink Specials, Friends, Family, and Global Grooves.

Sonic Diaspora at Butterfly Social Club

722 W Grand Chicago 9pm-3am

On the second Saturdays of each month, Brotha Onaci and guest selectahs play the best music of Africa and the African Diaspora, including Afrobeat, High Life, Soukous, Afro-House, Afro-Latin, and much more. This month DJs AfroQbano, Sherwin O and David Nallah Marques will be holding down rhythmic sets to keep you dancing all night long. No Cover

Red Rat (Jamaican Dance Hall Reggae)

Cubby Bear (1059 W Addison St. Chicago) $10-20

Also featuring Chicagos own “Kofi” & DJ Slacky J

Andersonville Midsommarfest 

Clark St. betwen Foster and Balmoral)
Midsommarfest is one of Chicago’s most unique street fairs. Born out of Andersonville’s Swedish heritage, Midsommarfest retains its quaint, international flavor. Old-world Swedish traditions, including a festive dance around the Maypole, are incorporated into an unrivaled array of entertainment for families and adults. Click here for the list of world music performances at this fest, which include Funkadesi , Chicago Afrobeat Project, and Chicago Samba

Chiara Mangiamelli Ensemble
“A spectacular ensemble! Captivating and inspiring… With every move, Chiara Mangiameli brings vitality to the stage. Her performance was spectacular in every regard – from the circle of her wrist to her rhythmic footwork, Ms. Mangiameli captivated every member of our audience!”- Christina Salerno, Director for Salt Creek Ballet.
Uncommon Ground on Devon 9.30pm $15
1401 W. Devon Ave, Chicago

Balkan Sounds Party

DJ Romasoul(Balkan beats via Chicago house) and DJ MG (“Turkish remix master”), two of the most famous Deejays of Balkan origin in the Greater Chicago area are coming together at the Stone Lotus downstairs lounge for one of the most attractive summer kick-off parties of the year.
Stone Lotus 10pm password “balkan” $5 before 11, and $10 thereafter.
873 N. Orleans Street, Chicago

Latin and World music tonight at  ñ

The people at  ñ invite us to another wonderful musical evening with Mauro Frosio trio ( old world music and tango ) and DJ Charrua ( Electronic and Latin beats )They promise a  great atmosphere, authentic Latin food and exotic cocktails along with great Latin music that includes salsa, bachata, merengue, mambo, cumbia and electronic music. No cover

Show starts at 9pm, party until 2am.

World music agenda for tonight


Nomadic Fridays with Ode and Eyes Manouche

Nomadic Fridays is a monthly event on the first Friday of every month at Morseland. It features Ode, and indie band that just released their new album “Peephole” and Eyes Manouche, a gypsy dance band that has its own take on music from the Balkans. If you haven’t been to one of these parties you are missing out. It’s a night of great music, energy, friends, and dancing.
With: DJ RomaSoul Balkan Beats-World House Electro
Morseland 10pm $7
1218 W.Morse, Chicago

Tonight and tomorrow: Latin Rock Weekend in Chicago 

Have one or two evenings of Latin Rock at Congress Theater (2135 N. Milwaukee, Chicago) with US State Department Cultural Ambassadors from Los Angeles Ozomatli (their music takes you around the world by taking you around L.A.) and Mexican Ska group Panteon Rococo. For only $20.00 you get entrance to both dates. Or if you would only like to attend 1 concert each ticket is $10. Proceeds from ticket sales will be going to Immaculate Conception Elementary School. Click here for more information about the event.

Doors open at 7pm. Show starts at 8pm

Globe Sonico at Cafe D’Noche

2710 N. Milwaukee Ave.

World music DJs from Aguzate and Soundculture will be hanging out and playing the best in Afro Latin, Tropical Bass, Global beats and International grooves in the heart of Logan Square.

D’Noche is an intimate lounge that serves up fantastic cocktails and pan-latin cuisine.
(Kitchen is open until 11 pm).

Patio is open! Free Parking in the Rear!

Global Fridays & Bombay Wraps presents MagMahal w/ DJ Kuki at NV Penthouse Lounge

116 W Hubbard Chicago 9pm

DJ Kuki fuses Indian Beats with Hip-Hop and Top 40! Hookahs for rent on the Outdoor Patio! Wristband and Bottle Packages too!

No cover

Deep Rooted : “Sounds from the Underground”

Every 1st and 3rd Friday, resident DJs SEAN HALEY  and SEANO play deep house, afro beath, broken beat and disco. Organic drinks, awesome beer list, and weekly drink specials will be available.

Butterfly Social Club (722 W. Grand Ave Chicago)

No cover. 9PM-2AM