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

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.