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!



Today is World Dance Day!

Since 1982, UNESCO has designated today, April 29, as International Dance Day (World Dance Day). This day was created to increase awareness of the importance of dance among the general public, as well as to persuade governments all over the world to provide a proper place for dance in all systems of education.  Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO declares that “Dance, being a central part of every culture, constitutes the ideal means for bringing together people from different countries….For vividly illustrating cultural diversity, for embodying rapprochement, there is no better means than dance”.  I cannot agree with her more.

Dance has the power to bring people from different cultures and backgrounds together. I see it every time I dance. My current Tango class, for example, has students from different countries and ages. Despite all of our apparent differences, we all have something in common: our love for dancing. To me, dancing is a way to express myself and to connect with others through music. It allows me to communicate beyond spoken languages.  One word that describes the way I feel when I dance is JOY. I have also seen that joy in others, and many times I have  felt compelled to learn from them. So, today, I would like to thank those who inspire me to keep dancing: Wendy Clinard , Edo Sie and Azucena Vega for Flamenco;  Jenny Avellaneda, Pierr Padilla, Ruben Pachas, and Jessica Loyaga for Peruvian Folk Dance; Ariel Yanovsky, Shafqat Manzur, and Maria ArTango for Tango, and all the other impromptu teachers that I have encountered throughout my life. I also want to acknowledge my dear friend and fellow dancer Hector Bustamante for sharing his love and commitment to dancing with me and for encouraging me to keep improving my dance skills.

Tonight, I am planning on spending the night away dancing some Bhangra. I hope you can also feel the beauty and joy of dancing tonight. And remember:

This weekend is all about Latin America and good intentions

The weekend is approaching and is dominated by great options for excellent live Latin American music and for good intentions. Here is my itinerary for your weekend:

FRIDAY

Los Guitarristas – Free Lunchtime Concert
If you work downtown, plan on coming tomorrow by the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington) at your lunch hour for a free concert with Los Guitarristas! This is a quartet of guitarists formed by maestro Alfonso Chacon who wish to bring the traditionaof Latin American guitar esembles to a new generation in Chicago. A teacher as well as performer, Mr. Chacón enjoyed a long career in music in South America, performing with some of the greatest artists of the 20th Century, including Lucho Gatica, Chabuca Granda, Cholo Aguirre, Raúl Shaw and el Dúo Rey-Silva. Los Guitarristas is more than a concert group, it is an organization dedicated to teaching these styles and all guitarists are welcome to study with Alfonso.  The show runs from 12 to 1pm and is part of the Friday Music Without Borders series.

Earth Wine & Fire Festival
In honor of tomorrow’s Earth Day, the Collective Consciousness Movement and Earth, Wine & Fire are hosting  an Earth Day Benefit Festival to benefit The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (one of my favorite places in Chicago because of its beautiful Butterfly Haven). This is  a family-friendly festival that intends to enlighten consciousness through music, food, wine and green conversation. Headlining the night is The Collective Consciousness Movement (CCM), a group that uses music and performance to bring awareness of reality, individuality, and spirituality. The group breaks the mold of musical genres by letting their concept drive their musical direction and distinct style.  Entertainment will also include fire breathers, fire spinners and dancers, belly dancers, live musicians, capoeira dancing, massage therapists, live painters, photography galleries, wellness and meditation therapists, readers, Reiki practitioners and vendors. For $25 an attendee will receive appetizers, dinner, drinks, full access to museum, music and lots of entertainment. Children 12 and under are free.

Location: The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (2430 N. Cannon Dr.Chicago) 6:30pm-11:00pm

Pre-Sale – $25  www.earthwineandfire.com  Door – $35

Globe Sonico at D’Noche 

If after going to the Earth Wine and Fire Festival you feel like you still want to groove the night out, then head to D’Noche in the Logan Square neighborhood (2710 N. Milwaukee). Agúzate and Sound Culture present a new DJ night with the best in global beats and international grooves.

D’Noche is an intimate lounge that serves up fantastic cocktails and pan american cuisine with a late night menu. No Cover.

Gozamos 1 Year Anniv. Party w/ ZZK + Sonorama

ZZK (Chancha via Circuito & El G) with SONORAMA will perform  tomorrow as part April 22 as part of the Gozamos 1-Year Anniversary celebration.ZZK is a record company from Buenos Aires, Argentina dedicated to the experimentation withdifferent latin rhythms like cumbia, reggaeton and folklore sounds from the Andes. ZZK is born out of a Buenos Aires club called Zizek, where genres clash and cross over, making you dance, while still providing fresh and innovative sounds rarely heard before.

Location: 8fifty8, 858 W. Lake. 9pm- 2am

$5 in advance with code “gozamos” and $15 at the door.
Ticket link: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/157764

SATURDAY

Unieros Fundraiser event for Japan

The people from Unieros is asking for your help to make 1,000 origami cranes to symbolize their wish for Japan’s recovery after the devastating earthquake and tsunami.They are asking for Ladies to wear shades of pink or red; and for men to wear green to symbolize colors of hope that comes from sakura – the blooming of Japanese cherry blossoms in Spring.You will also get a mini Japanese language lesson with Kazumi.
Location: Multilingual Chicago, 2934 N. Milwaukee Ave., Suite C, Chicago. 7pm-11pm
Admission: $5 or more donation at door. They will have computers so you can make your donation online to the American Red Cross.
100% of proceeds will go to the American Red Cross.Light refreshments served. BYOB.RSVP: Emailevents@unieros.com

SUNDAY

Traditional Peruvian Music with JORGE PARDO

Finish the weekend by joining me in this wonderful cultural event of Traditional Peruvian Music that I am organizing. The star of this event is Jorge Pardo, a young Peruvian singer who won the 2005 Viña del Mar International Song Festival and was nominated to the Latin Grammy Awards. Jorge is on a U.S. Tour promoting his latest CD titled MUSICA TRADICIONAL PERUANA, a tribute to Arturo Zambo Cavero & Oscar Aviles. Cavero and Aviles are two of the most emblematic and beloved figures of the Peruvian criolla music genre, and Jorge has collected their most popular songs in this CD, giving a fresh sound to these songs without diverting from the classic style to sing criolla music. The show will also have the participation of Peruvian Folk Dance Center (performing Afro-Peruvian rhythms), Dayan Aldan(next generation musica criolla singer) and best guitarists from Peru Ales Vela (from Elenco Nacional del Folclore) and Yuri Juarez (from Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet and elected 2009 Latin Jazz Guitarist of the Year by Latin Jazz Corner).

Location: Rios D’Sudamerica, the finest Peruvian restaurant in the Midwest, located in the Bucktown neighborhood (2010 W Armitage Chicago) Doors open at 7pm. Show starts at 7:30pm.

Admission: $15 donation

Tickets will be available at the door but is highly recommended to buy them in advance.
Those who buy tickets online will be automatically entered to a raffle to win two tickets for NOVALIMA concert in Chicago on July 12 (must be present to win prize).

Visit https://chicagourbanite.wordpress.com/featured-concert-traditional-peruvian-music-with-jorge-pardo/ to get your tickets online

Tango, Afro-Peruvian, Salsa, Ethiopian, and Brazilian in one weekend.

You gotta love Chicago! This past weekend I had the chance to attend amazing live music and dance performances. My weekend started with a Tango lesson and a  milonga (a tango dance party) at ArTango. Lucky for me, I just happened to attend the milonga where they had a live performance by legendary instructors Oliver Kolker and Silvina Valz. Their elegant interpretation of tango can be appreciated in this video:

On Saturday, I participated in an Afro-Peruvian performance with Peruvian Folk Dance Center at Loyola University. If you ever feel curious about Peruvian folk dances,  this is the  group to contact in Chicago. Peru is a multicultural country, and as such, its music and dances has influences from different cultures. Right now we are working on Afro-Peruvian dances, so we performed a Festejo, which is one of the most joyous of Afro-Peruvian music styles.  I couldn’t take a video of me dancing but here is pic of our group. Can you guess which one is me?

During that same event, I had the opportunity to dance to the music of a fabulous local salsa band called Carpacho y su Super Combo. They played songs that I classify as “salsa dura” style. Here is a little video of their music.I’m sorry  I couldn’t I record more of them but I had to leave the camera and start dancing!

 

That same night I was invited by my musician friend Ryan Mayer from Magic Carpet to attend a concert of his band with super talented Ethiopian singer Abonesh Adinew. It was truly a magical night. Her powerful and intriguing voice took me to a trip in time and space. Abonesh told me that she grew up in the rural side of  Ethiopia and that when she was little, she learned to sing by going to the cliffs and listening to the echo of her voice. How amazing is that! Later, she was chosen by her school to participate in a singing competition. She obviously won the competition, and her singing career hasn’t stopped since then. Abonesh can sing in over a dozen of the 80 plus languages of Ethiopia. She has appeared on film about the life style and culture of rural Ethiopia although her music and song are contemporary and based upon the works of many of the best known stars of Ethiopian music. Here is a video of her performance at Ras Dashen restaurant. The place was dark so you cannot see much of her, but this will allow you to appreciate the quality of her voice. 

My weekend ended to the rhythms of Brazilian music by an impromptu performance at a house party of two wonderful Chicago-based musicians: Luciano Antonio and Luiz Ewerling. We are so lucky to have them here!  Watch this dynamic duo in action here:

 

As you can see, Chicago is truly a cosmopolitan city. Take advantage of it and travel around the world without leaving the city.