19th Annual World Music Festival Chicago Announces the Full Schedule of Diverse International Musicians Celebrating the Rich Cultural Diversity of Chicago September 8-24

July 19, 2017

Performances at 23 Venues include Seun Kuti & Egypt 80, Salif Keita, an all-night Ragamala, a special debut of the Bharath Symphony by Dr. L. Subramaniam to commemorate the 70th anniversary of India’s Independence in Millennium Park


The world will come together from September 8 to 24 at a variety of venues across the city for the 19th Annual World Music Festival Chicago. Celebrating diverse music from across the globe, this FREE festival is produced by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and is the largest festival of its kind in the United States.

In addition to the previously announced artists, a highlight of the 2017 festival includes a performance by singer and saxophonist Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 from Nigeria. A star in his own right, Seun Kuti is the son of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti and the inheritor of his band Egypt 80 along with their famous ultra-funky sound. They will perform on September 23 at FELABRATION! featuring Bitori of Cape Verde, and AFRICA HI-FI, a unique musical tribute to Africa created by DJ and producer Ron Trent and Sonia Hassan fusing music and social consciousness with art and dance. The performance will take place at the Concord Music Hall (2047 N. Milwaukee Ave.) at 8 p.m.

Recently announced performances include Salif Keita, the all night Ragamala: A Celebration of Indian Classical Music, opening-weekend collaboration with Chicago SummerDance in Grant Park, concerts in Millennium Park, the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts, DePaul University Concert Hall and several other venues throughout the city. The full schedule can be found online at worldmusicfestivalchicago.org.

In line with the One Chicago campaign recently launched by the City of Chicago, the World Music Festival reaffirms that Chicago welcomes everyone. One Chicago is a multimedia representation emphasizing that every Chicagoan has a story all their own, but the thread that connects us lives in the promise of this city. For details, visit onechi.org.

Opening the festival on Friday, September 8, the all-night Ragamala: A Celebration of Indian Classical Music starts at 6:30pm under the Tiffany stained glass dome of Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.). A tradition in India, the all-night classical concerts are rarely held publicly in the United States. Visitors have the rare opportunity to hear the ragas (traditional scales or modes) during the early morning and late night hours as they were meant to be played. The all-night concert features more than eight musical groups and artists.

Ragamala highlights include Priya Venkatraman & Troupe performingthe stories of “Ahimsa: Non-Violence” with music by Shiv Subramaniam. Dancer and choreographer Priya Venkatraman is one of the premier contemporary practitioners in the ancient art of Bharatanatyam, an important and very old classical dance tradition of India. Legendary tabla artist Anindo Chatterjee will perform a tabla duet with his son Anubrata Chatterjee. Anindo Chatterjee, a student of Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh, is widely regarded as one of the greatest living tabla practitioners. Alam Khan and Ambi Subramaniam will perform their first-ever jugalbandhi together as they pay tribute to the legendary Carnatic and Hindustani jugalbandhi collaboration that took place nearly 25 years ago between their respective, iconic fathers, the late Ali Akbar Khan and Dr. L. Subramaniam.

On Saturday, September 9, Salif Keita will perform at the Concord Music Hall (2047 N. Milwaukee Ave.) at 8pm. Salif Kieta is known as “the Golden Voice of Africa” and is one of the  greatest singers to emerge from modern Mali. He has towered as one of the most dominant stars of world music since launching a solo career in 1982 and has long been a pioneer experimenting with various pop hybrids to reach a larger audience without abandoning his deep footing in Mande tradition.

On Saturday, September 16, Venezuelan artist Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo will perform at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park at 3pm. The powerhouse singer Betsayda Machado brings the sound of Afro-Venezuelan culture to Chicago this year, introducing a rich, polyrhythmic sound as soulful as it is irresistible. She will perform with La Parranda El Clavo, a living link to the area’s musical heritage that’s been active for more than three decades. She launched her career with them back in the late 80s and the group performs songs about saints, dancing, slavery and the hard lives of the cocoa-plantation workers who originally sang parranda.

On Saturday, September 16, to commemorate Mexican Independence Day, World Music Festival Chicago will present the critically-acclaimed Mariachi Flor de Toloache from New York and Los Hijos de la Montaña at Thalia Hall (1807 S. Allport St.) at 9pm.

On Sunday, September 17, The 606 Walk + Global Peace Picnic at the Humboldt Park Boathouse (1301 N. Sacramento Ave.) from 2–6pm is a day of family-friendly activities that include instrument making, a peace procession and more. Highlights also include performances by: La Tribu de Abrante, a bomba group from Puerto Rico led by Hiram Abrante offering flavors of salsa, energetic vocals and the energy of reggaeton; Nigerian singer and guitarist Mdou Moctar and Veneualan artist Betsayda Machado y La Parranda El Clavo.

On Saturday, September 23, as part of the Hyde Park Jazz Festival featuring Nicole Mitchell and Ballake Sissoko: Bamako * Chicago Sound System will perform two shows at the University of Chicago’s Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts (915 E. 60th St.) at 3pm and 5:45pm.

World Music Festival is sponsored by Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, Chicago Sun-Times, and Millennium Garages. Grant support for World Music Festival provided by the Chicago Park District, Irish American Heritage Center, National Museum of Mexican Art, and Southern Exposure: Performing Arts of Latin America, a program of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts.

The full schedule with locations and times of each performance is included below. For more information and festival updates, visit worldmusicfestivalchicago.org and follow the festival on Facebook and on Twitter @WMFChicago #WorldMusicFestChi #ChicagoIsOne.


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