World Music Fest and People of Chicago Videos

If you still have not gone to any of the free Chicago World Music Fest concerts, you should definitely do it soon.  I went to see Dehli 2 Dublin, this Canadian band that mixes  Bhangra and Celtic music,  and it was quite energizing and unique. I mean, where have you seen an Asian dude wearing a kilt and playing the sitar? Check some of their performance here:

Tonight I am checking out Slavic Soul Party, a BalkanSoulGypsyFunk Brass band from New York. and tomorrow I will see Magic Carpet, a local band that blends Jazz, Reggae, and Funk with the traditions of Africa, the Middle East, and India.  I saw these cats at SummerDance Fest a few weeks ago and I can tell you that you run the risk to get hypnotized with their music:

Note aside: I want to pay homage to the people of Chicago, who can be fearless and strong supporters of music and dance. I went to Millennium Park for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra‘s Carmina Burana concert last Friday, thinking that very few people would attend due to the rainy weather. To my surprise, the place was packed! We stood in the rain for the duration of what was an epic concert.

In addition to overcome uncomfortable weather conditions, some of us are fearless enough to express our passion for dance and music in unorthodox ways. I saw some of that happening at Chicago SummerDance Fest during Magic Carpet’s concert. This  free outdoors festival allows Chicagoans from all backgrounds and ages to get together and dance. Gotta love the power of music and dance to break any kind of barriers!

So in case you fancy to join me, these are my recommendations for tonight and tomorrow (I also accept suggestions, so post a comment with your favorite bands or pics/videos of the festival):

Tonight:  Slavic Soul Party,

Tomorrow: Magic Carpet and Spain’s flamenco/latin/rock band Canteca de Macao

Click here for information about location and times of concerts. Hope to see you there!

Cycling in Chicago and SummerDance Fest

Who knew I was going to enjoy cycling in the city so much? How did this happen? Well, my friend Ezra, an expert in fixing and customizing bikes,  recently got me this beauty of a bike:

It is a 1970s Schwinn Le Tour Tourist . This beauty is just what I needed: It is light so I can easily lift it, with curvy handles so I don’t have to lean too much when riding, and it has a nice and comfy seat. I have been using this little bike as much as I can since I got it and I am having so much fun. I feel so free when I am riding it : I enjoy the sensation of the warm summer breeze caressing my face, the sound of the birds chirping, and the sight of the scenery around me. I know, it sounds cheesy, but I feel so much more relaxed when I bike  than when I drive that I am now trying to go everywhere on it!  So far, I have used it to go to Pitchfork Fest and to Montrose Beach this weekend and it has been a blessing. No more wasting time looking for parking or dealing with traffic! (I deliberately choose the quietest routes). What’s more, everybody has been cordial and yields at the sight of my bike (!). I guess they are aware of the laws that protect cyclists’ safety in this city.  The bike lanes located on  main roads also help make the experience safer and enjoyable. My favorite bike route so far is the Lakefront Trail and I cannot wait to explore the rest of the city’s trails!

Because of this bike fever that I have, I am discovering interesting facts about biking in this city. For example, did you know that Chicago has been distinguished as one of the premier cycling locations in the United States? In fact, according to Matador Network, a travel website,  Chicago is one of the 15 world’s most bike-friendly cities. If you want to find out why, then visit the City of Chicago website  to get facts and information about biking in this city.

Anyway, I hope my experience entice you to start biking more often. It is not only good for the environment, but it is also good for your soul, your body, and your pocket. In fact, why not try to bike to SummerDance Fest for its opening show at Grant Park tonight? For those of you unfamiliar with this festival, it is the largest annual outdoor dancing series in the United States, and one of my favorites festivals of the summer. The series offers free, introductory one-hour dance lessons by professional instructors followed by music and dancing. The diverse musical lineup showcases dance styles from all corners of the globe.

However, if you need to get  a bike or fix/customize the one you already have, then send a message to my buddy Ezra and mention that you saw his information on Chicago Urbanite to get a discount for being my follower. He does a superb job!

Oh! One last thing: I am new to this biking thing. So please feel free to leave any recommendations in the comments section for this post. Thanks!