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World Music Festival Chicago 2004

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Last year the Chicago World Music Festival halved its schedule, cutting down to five days after 2002's blockbuster ten-day run. The fest has rebounded this year with a full week of music, but it's still clearly suffering from the sagging economy: unlike festivals booked by the Mayor's Office of Special Events (jazz, blues, gospel, Celtic music), which have more or less fixed annual budgets, the World Music Festival depends on whatever funding Mike Orlove and the Department of Cultural Affairs can scare up--sometimes the city kicks in a portion of the money, but organizers have to chase sponsors and grants for the rest. Early in its history the festival frequently brought international artists into the country, kick-starting their American tours, but for the past two years financial constraints have forced Orlove and company to rely primarily on acts that already had stateside tours booked.

That's not necessarily a bad thing: Boban Markovic and his Serbian brass band, who put on the best shows of the fest in 2002, are one such act, and they're returning for an encore between a gig in California and another in New York. But instead of the U.S. debut of Zanzibar's Culture Musical Club--a taarab orchestra more than 20 members strong, whose visit Orlove couldn't find the money to cover--we're getting another performance by the Irish jam band Kila, which was here less than a year ago. The relatively high number of U.S.-based international artists--tango singer Katie Viqueira, griot Mamadou Diabate, and Irish singer Susan McKeown, to name a few--is a direct consequence of the need to trim travel expenses, as is the complete absence of acts from southeast Asia. At press time visa problems had forced only one cancellation--Mamar Kassey, a great band from Niger that played here in 2002--but there's no telling how many potential festival artists didn't consider the trip in the first place, discouraged by the extra attention they knew they'd receive from the INS. Unsurprisingly no musicians are visiting from Cuba, Syria, Iran, North Korea, or Sudan--all nations deemed sponsors of terrorism by our government.

As usual the festival takes place at numerous venues; events are free and all-ages unless otherwise noted. Advance tickets to shows with an admission fee are normally available from the venues; for more information call the city's World Music Festival hotline (312-742-1938) or visit cityofchicago.org/WorldMusic. The weekday performances at the Cultural Center's Claudia Cassidy Theater will be broadcast live on local radio: Loyola's WLUW (88.7 FM) will air the 11 AM concerts, and the 12:30 PM shows will be heard as part of Continental Drift on Northwestern University's WNUR (89.3 FM).

* = highly recommended

Fri17

11 AM, Claudia Cassidy Theater

Song of the Lakes

This long-lived acoustic quartet from Traverse City, Michigan, writes original folk songs indebted to Celtic, Scandinavian, and North American maritime traditions, flavoring its strummed guitars with dashes of bouzouki, flute, and bodhran. The group's self-released third album, Live Bait, is clearly the work of proficient musicians, but it's tainted by a whiff of coffeehouse quaintness. Song of the Lakes also plays Celtic Fest Chicago on September 18.

12:30 PM, Claudia Cassidy Theater

Joe Vasconcellos

This Chilean singer and percussionist grew up in Italy--which might explain his taste for sentimental ballads--and then spent time in Brazil, Ecuador, and Japan before returning to his homeland. Though he played in a fusion band called Congreso in the late 70s and cites Jethro Tull as an influence, these days he doesn't sound all that different from any other South American pop star: on last year's En paz (Batuke/EMI) he mixes reggae, salsa, rock, jazz, various Latin American folk idioms, and even a bit of hip-hop scratching into his romantic music. This is his first appearance in the States.

Balik Ayhan

Turkish darbouka player Balik Ayhan is a busy studio percussionist in Istanbul, and with his own group he claims to want to introduce his country's music to an international audience. But judging from the sound of his 2002 album Bab'i Istanbul (ADA Musik), he thinks the best way to reach that audience is to smother the music in slick, synth-heavy arrangements and to cover tunes like "New York, New York" and the bossa nova standard "How Insensitive." The lineup includes violin, a hammer dulcimer called the kanun, and klarnet, a variety of metal clarinet with a distinctive pinched tone--played on several tracks by Gypsy virtuoso Husnu Senlendirici from the group Laco Tayfa. Everyone involved is a superb musician, but ultimately the album is tarted-up tourist fare, better suited for a cruise ship than a world music festival. Let's hope the band tears off the plastic wrap onstage.

12:30 PM, Borders Books & Music (Michigan)

Abdelli

The violent struggle between Islamic fundamentalists and the secular government has dominated what little news we've heard from Algeria in the past decade. Buried in the reportage has been the plight of the Berbers--the original inhabitants of North Africa--who've been caught in the cross fire. The Berbers have also been left out as Algerian music has emerged on the global market: mostly what we hear is rai, the largely hedonistic pop music of Algerian youth. One of the few Berber musicians to gain international recognition was singer Matoub Lounes, who like most successful rai artists left the country; on a visit home in 1998 he was killed by unidentified gunmen. Another is Abderrahmane Abdelli, from the mountainous region of Kabylia in northern Algeria; he too left his homeland long ago, and now presents his music in a multicultural setting. For his 1995 debut, New Moon, Abdelli recorded his vocals and mandola--a steel-stringed lute--alone in Belgium, then handed the reins to producer Thierry Van Roy, who brought in a raft of European and Chilean musicians as well as a player of the bandura (a Ukrainian zither with nearly 50 strings) to flesh out the tunes. He finally released a follow-up in 2003, Among Brothers (Real World), again produced by Van Roy, and it extends the music's global reach even further: Abdelli cut his tracks in Cape Verde with a slew of locals as well as musicians from the Maghreb, Chile, and Argentina, and then Van Roy recorded more overdubs with native musicians in Azerbaijan and Burkina Faso. The album's polyglot arrangements sound less forced this time out, despite their ambition, and leave plenty of room for Abdelli's beautiful, understated singing: the imported instruments, from the breezy cavaquinho and accordion on "Asiram" to the snaky Azerbaijani spike fiddle, or kemantcha, that snakes through "Svar," add subtle colors and textures rather than overwhelming the music's basic Berber flavor.

12:30 PM, Borders Books & Music (State)

Genticorum

Quebecois folk often sounds like a cross between Celtic and Cajun music, and this bilingual trio commands an impressive repertoire of such traditional material, both popular and obscure, sprinkled with pithy original tunes. Many Quebecois artists play the spoons or bones to bring out the music's jaunty dance rhythms, but Genticorum sticks to the most old-fashioned percussion of all: underneath the acoustic guitar, fiddle, wooden flute, electric bass, and impressive three-part vocal harmonies you can hear the sound of stamping feet. The group also plays Celtic Fest Chicago on September 18.

6 PM, Pritzker Pavilion

*Chicago Immigrant Orchestra

This 23-piece orchestra, composed of musicians who've immigrated to Chicago from all over the world--China, Brazil, Poland, Mexico, Senegal, India--made its debut at the first World Music Festival back in 1999, then lay dormant until July, when it gave an enthusiastically received performance during the opening festivities for Millennium Park. For this well-deserved encore, organizer, conductor, and multi-instrumentalist Willy Schwarz returns from his home in Bremen, Germany, and the orchestra will again be joined by the Chicago Children's Choir for several pieces. (The choir will also open the show with a short set of its own.) In July Schwarz did a hell of a job leading the band through traditional tunes from around the globe, roping together all the different tuning systems and instrumental approaches--the lineup includes Betty Xiang on erhu, Alex Udvary on cimbalom, Mwata Bowden on saxophones, and Morikeba Kouyate on kora--and creating a surprisingly unified sound. We're lucky to have two chances to hear such an ambitious and extraordinary ensemble in only three months--I don't expect this band will manage to convene again anytime soon.

7 PM, Chicago Cultural Center

Mary Jane Campbell

This lecturer on Gaelic arts and the Gaelic language at Sabhal mor Ostaig in Scotland hasn't made any recordings, but her command of Gaelic and Scottish folk songs earned her a gold medal in traditional singing at the Royal National Mod in Oban back in 1992. Campbell also plays Celtic Fest Chicago on September 19.

Genticorum

See above.

7:30 PM, Museum of Contemporary Art $12

*Rafael de Utrera & Company

This young flamenco singer from Seville, Spain, got his start as a ten-year-old hanging out at his father's bar, soaking up the music and sometimes jumping into the fray. He has a soulful tenor and a stunning expressive range, and when he soars into his upper register his honeyed tone develops a beautiful burr. He's supported a number of dance companies and performed with guitar heavies like Tomatito and Paco de Lucia, but now he's leading his own group: here he'll be accompanied by a pair of guitarists, a percussionist, and a dancer.

9 PM, HotHouse $12, 21+

Kepa Junkera

Spain's Kepa Junkera is a master of the trikitrixa, a diatonic accordion nicknamed "the devil's bellows" that's one of the primary instruments in traditional Basque music. He's a tireless explorer, and for his monumental two-CD set Bilbao 00:00h (Alula), released in 1999, he collaborated with prominent musicians from Quebec, Madagascar, Sweden, Ireland, Portugal, even Nashville--two tracks featured prog-bluegrass banjo star Bela Fleck. In the early 80s, Junkera played frequently with the politically charged Basque roots group Oskorri, and since the 90s he's worked as a solo artist in countless settings, including a recording session with the Bilbao Symphony Orchestra. Here he'll set aside his fondness for cross-cultural experimentation, leading a sextet that will focus on relatively traditional sounds: aside from Junkera himself, the lineup consists of a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, and two txalapartaris, who together play a Basque percussion instrument called the txalaparta. Made of wood, stone, or metal and similar to a large xylophone, in its early forms it was used to alert villagers of everything from imminent invasions to wedding celebrations; the instrument was nearly extinct when Basque folklorists brought it back into use in the 50s.

Joe Vasconcellos

See above.

Nelson Sosa

Nelson Sosa, a Chicagoan born in Chile, is an educator at the Old Town School of Folk Music and Urban Gateways, among other institutions, using traditional Latin American song to teach children history, culture, and language. He's also a singer and guitarist, and most evenings works as a strolling troubadour in local Latino restaurants.

9 PM, the Vic $15, 18+

Balik Ayhan

See above.

Abdelli

See above.

10 PM, Sonotheque $12, 21+

DJ Ron Trent

Chicago native Ron Trent is one of the most in-demand house DJs in the world, and in more and more of his recent work he's carefully matched international sounds to the traditional club beats. A few years ago he collaborated with Groove Collective reedist Jay Rodriguez to make Olajope (Six Degrees), a smooth and soulful addition to the Nuyorican house canon that features cameos by Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes and New York percussionist Eddie Bobe. African-tinged dance records are a regular part of his DJ sets, and this summer he teamed up with Sonotheque's Sonia Hassan to launch a monthly series called "Africa Hi-Fi," which explores the African roots of modern pop and dance music. This program is the second installment of the series.

*Miles Cleret

On a trip to Ghana in 2000, British DJ Miles Cleret discovered that some of the music that'd been made there 20 or 30 years ago had a lot in common with the old-school funk, soul, and jazz he'd been spinning in his sets. He began collecting Afro-funk obscurities and in 2002 launched Soundway Records to give those lost tunes a new lease on life. So far he's released two compilations of killer 70s cuts, Ghana Soundz and a parallel Nigerian collection called Afro Baby, and Ghana Soundz Volume 2 is due this fall; later in the year Cleret plans to release a collection of material by T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo, a great 70s big band from Benin. In this DJ set he'll give us a taste of his enviable record collection through the top-notch Sonotheque sound system.

*Mbira Masters of Zimbabwe: Cosmas Magaya and Ambuya Beauler Dyoko

Another artist from Chicago's first World Music Festival in 1999, Cosmas Magaya was among the group of Shona musicians captured in the famous field recordings made by Northwestern University musicologist Paul Berliner in Zimbabwe in 1972. The ceremonial music they played--dominated by the sound of the mbira, a thumb piano of reed or metal keys mounted over a resonator, often a gourd--had existed for perhaps a thousand years, but Berliner's tapes were the first chance most people had to hear it. The two albums drawn from those tapes were reissued in 2002 by the Nonesuch Explorer Series, and their earthy melodies, calming harmonies, and circling grooves haven't aged a day; this timeless style is one of the deep taproots that feeds the hypnotic electronic music that people surrender to in nightclubs worldwide. Zimbabwean musicians like Thomas Mapfumo and Stella Chiweshe have since updated and electrified the mbira's sound, and it's all over African music today; this is a rare chance to hear it raw and uncut. Magaya will be joined by Ambuya Beauler Dyoko, one of the few female masters of the instrument.

Sat18

1 PM, Garfield Park Conservatory

Farafina Kan

Based in Washington, D.C., this 12-member Guinean percussion and dance troupe is led by Mahiri Fadjimba Keita, son of djembe master Mamady Keita, who will join the group later today at the Humboldt Park Boathouse (see below). The drummers move with poetic grace, pounding out constantly shifting polyrhythms, and the four dancers, all women, add synchronized choreography and chanted vocals that lift the energy level even higher.

1 PM, Borders Books & Music (Uptown)

*Rafael de Utrera & Company

See September 17 entry.

1 PM, South Shore Cultural Center

*Roswell Rudd's Malicool

Two weeks ago trombonist Roswell Rudd appeared at the Jazz Festival in a memorial set for the late soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, leading the Monksieland Band, a group he'd founded with Lacy to pay tribute to Dixieland and Thelonious Monk. And in 2003 he released one of the most beautiful and original albums of the year, Malicool (Sunnyside), a blend of jazz and Malian music that didn't water down either tradition. In 2000 Rudd traveled to Mali to meet his stellar cast of forward-looking collaborators, which included master kora player Toumani Diabate; they took their time getting to know one another and working out the arrangements, finally recording the disc a year later. Accustomed to building pieces around cyclical riffs--a technique common to much African music--the Malians found the unfamiliar extended forms of jazz difficult to inhabit at first. Mande music also uses an octave with fewer steps than the Western scale, so the Malians had to improvise ways to reach all the sharps and flats of a tune like Monk's "Jackie-ing." But despite these technical hurdles, the end product sounds relaxed and buoyant. The lineup on the recording includes balafon (a relative of the xylophone), n'goni (an African lute), guitar, djembe, and electric bass, as well as a few guest vocalists; each musician tosses bluesy accents and thrilling counterpoint spirals into the beguiling layers of interlocking riffs. Rudd applies an elegant restraint to his usually brassy and extroverted tone, so that the muted blues phrasing on his tune "Bamako" is at once garrulous and sorrowful. He's also provided the group with arrangements of a short Beethoven piece, an old Welsh folk song, and even Gershwin's "Summertime," reworked here as "Sena et Mariam"; Diabate has contributed several wonderfully elastic originals that leave plenty of room for extended improvisation. Filling in for him at the group's Chicago debut (and its subsequent festival performances) is his cousin Mamadou Diabate (see September 19 entry), who's worked extensively in Peace Pipe, a Mande-jazz fusion group led by New York bassist Ben Allison.

3 PM, Garfield Park Conservatory

*Mbira Masters of Zimbabwe: Cosmas Magaya and Ambuya Beauler Dyoko

See September 17 entry.

6 PM, Humboldt Park Boathouse

Farafina Kan with Mamady Keita

One of the most important percussionists to emerge from Guinea, Mamady Keita is a master of the djembe, a single-headed goblet-shaped hand drum that produces a sharp, high-pitched tone. Born in 1950, Keita was drumming seriously at age 7, and at 14 he appeared in the Harry Belafonte film Africa Dance. By the mid-80s Keita had started his own group, and in 1991 he established a school of Guinean drumming, Tam Tam Mandingue, that now has 18 different locations, including branches in the U.S., Germany, Spain, Japan, and Israel. Keita also continues to perform and record music of uncommon rigor: on the 1996 disc Hamanah (Fonti Musicali) the percussionists deftly drop accents into spaces in the throbbing grooves and dice up the beats with crosscutting patterns. If you can't appreciate the music's ceremonial roots, Keita's group can start to sound like a drum circle--but these folks are to your average knot of hippies with dumbeks what King Crimson is to a bar band. See above for more on Farafina Kan.

Grupo Okokan

Led by Juan Fuentes, this local troupe of 12 percussionists, singers, and dancers plays exuberant, stripped-down Afro-Cuban rumba and Puerto Rican bomba.

7:30 PM, Museum of Contemporary Art $12

*Roswell Rudd's Malicool

See above.

*Mbira Masters of Zimbabwe: Cosmas Magaya and Ambuya Beauler Dyoko

See September 17 entry.

7:30 PM, Old Town School of Folk Music $12

Jamesie & the All-Stars

Scratch band music, or quelbe, evolved in the U.S. Virgin Islands during slavery--like the earliest forms of the blues, it doubled as a way for displaced and oppressed Africans to communicate covertly. Jamesie Brewster's style of quelbe makes plain the roots it shares with the calypso that developed on the nearby Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago. The music is distinguished by jumping rhythms sketched out on triangle, conga, and a scratched gourd; guitar and banjo provide a harmonic skeleton, and other instruments like saxophone pitch in the occasional melodic ornament. As a youngster the 75-year-old Brewster made his own banjo using twine from a flour sack as strings and a flat tin can as a resonator, but these days he plays an electric guitar. A picturesque front man in his crisp straw hat, he sings with an avuncular, laid-back charm; this is the kind of pleasant, old-fashioned music you'd expect to hear wafting out of a local bar on your Caribbean vacation.

Kwame Bediako

A native of Ghana, Kwame Bediako has long been a fixture on the local reggae scene with his band Wan Afrika. His old-school roots reggae bears more than a little resemblance to the music of Bob Marley & the Wailers--his most recent recording, O.A.U. (Wan Afrika Productions), even features former Wailer Junior Marvin playing guitar on a few tracks.

9:30 PM, HotHouse $12, 21+

Susan McKeown

On her recent Sweet Liberty (World Village) Susan McKeown, a transplanted Dubliner, threads her pretty voice through songs that split the difference between traditional Irish folk and contemporary singer-songwriter fare. The album begins with the usual acoustic guitar, fiddle, and flute, but it doesn't take long for things to get more interesting: the traditional Irish tune "Oro Mhile Gra" gets an unexpected boost from the all-female Malian Tuareg group Ensemble Tartit, whose hypnotic hand claps and call-and-response chants merge beautifully with McKeown's crystal-clear Gaelic singing, and the gentle ballad "Eggs in Her Basket" is gilded with sorrowful mariachi horns. McKeown accompanies herself on bodhran, and her band includes a pair of guitarists, a fiddler, a percussionist, and jazz bassist Lindsey Horner, who doubles on tin whistle. She also plays Celtic Fest Chicago on September 19.

*Kiran Ahluwalia

Born in Bihar, India, and raised in New Zealand and Toronto--home to one of North America's largest Indian immigrant populations--Kiran Ahluwalia has spent long stretches in her native land learning Punjabi folk music and the art of ghazal, an antique Persian style of love song that's widely revered in India today. Her recent second album, Beyond Boundaries (Kiran Music), is dominated by original ghazals, and for lyrics she uses poems by Toronto writers working in Urdu and Punjabi. Almost all the music and arrangements are Ahluwalia's, and despite the traditional Indian and Pakistani styles and instrumentation--tabla, harmonium, sarangi, dhol--she doesn't veer away from North American pop influences. She spices up traditional song structures by adding pop and rock flavors to her elegant, elaborate melodies, and "Saaqiya" even opens with a well-deployed dash of flamenco guitar.

10 PM, Schubas $10, 21+

*Rafael de Utrera & Company

See September 17 entry.

10 PM, Martyrs' $10, 21+

*Warsaw Village Band

This young Polish sextet brings a modern urban perspective to the vanishing rural traditions of its native land--hence its name. The band has built its repertoire by traveling into Poland's countryside and interviewing people old enough to remember the folk music that flourished before the communist government's attempts to erase ethnic identity. While the group's two violins, upright bass, and suka--an ancient Polish fiddle whose strings are stopped not with the fingertips but with the nails--saw through rapid-fire riffs, simmering drones, and acrobatic melodies, a pair of drummers propel the songs with a pounding ferocity that's unmistakably rooted in modern dance music. The three women in the band all sing in an arresting style called bialy glos ("white voice"), a piercing scream once used by mountain-dwelling shepherds to communicate over long distances, and a host of guests embroider the stomping tunes with dulcimer, hurdy-gurdy, and trumpet. For an all-acoustic act, the Warsaw Village Band kicks up an amazing ruckus--I've never heard folk revivalists tear it up like this. Though they don't use electronics onstage, they're not afraid of them: their album People's Spring (World Village), released in the States this year, contains a pair of impressive dance remixes, one Indian flavored, the other pure tribal techno.

T-Rroma

Formerly known as Tamburitza Roma, this group of Croatian-Americans plays the Gypsy music of the Balkans and Hungary.

10 PM, Kitty O'Shea's $10

Llan de Cubel & guests

This mostly instrumental sextet plays the music of Spain's northwestern Asturias region, a Celtic foothold that became something of a backwater as the Inquisition spread south. Flute, fiddle, and bagpipes play the elaborate melodies while hand drums, acoustic guitar, and bouzouki lay down the delicate and detailed rhythms. The guests will include singers Mary Jane Campbell (see September 17 entry) and Susan McKeown (see above) and members of Ronsed-Mor-Kevrenn Alre, a pipe band from Brittany in France. Llan de Cubel also plays Celtic Fest Chicago earlier today.

Sun19

10 AM, Rhythm $12, 21+

Mamady Keita djembe workshop

See September 18 entry.

1 PM, Eli's Cheesecake World

*Mamadou Diabate Ensemble

Mamadou Diabate, a Malian kora master and jali, or griot, made his first trip to the U.S. with a group of Manding musicians in 1996, at age 21, and never went home. Since then he's added colors from his adopted country to his palette, working with blues musicians and jazzmen--including Randy Weston, Donald Byrd, and bassist Ben Allison, with whom he formed a terrific group called Peace Pipe. His own ensemble also tweaks the tropes of traditional Malian music: "Dounuya," on his sole album, Tunga (Alula, 2000), sounds like a lost John Lee Hooker tune, though instead of electric guitar it features his kora, the traditional 21-string harp of the Mande, cascading over the terse groove. Elsewhere he unfurls sweet-toned melodic improvisations over the loose ostinatos of jazz bassist Ira Coleman and a gauzy lattice of resonant n'goni and balafon. Diabate's group here includes Balla Kouyate on balafon, Noah Jarrett on bass, and Djkorya Kante on guitar; he's also filling in for his cousin Toumani in Roswell Rudd's Malicool (see September 18 entry).

2 PM, Borders Books & Music (Michigan)

*Warsaw Village Band

See September 18 entry.

2 PM, Clarke House

Farafina Kan

See September 18 entry.

2 PM, Rogers Park

Jamesie & the All-Stars

See September 18 entry.

*Kiran Ahluwalia

See September 18 entry.

3 PM, Chicago Cultural Center

*Brij Bhushan Kabra & Kadar Khan

Younger players like V.M. Bhatt and Debashish Bhattacharya have helped popularize Hindustani classical guitar in the U.S., but Brij Bhushan Kabra is undeniably the master of the discipline--and arguably its inventor. Born in Jodhpur in 1937, at 21 he startled his father, a committed patron of classical music, when he bought a guitar and insisted he was serious about using it to play the classical repertoire. After a year of study with sarod legend Ali Akbar Khan he gave his first public performance, beginning a career that would transform the guitar from a freak Western novelty into a widely accepted concert instrument. He plays with a slide, inspired by Hawaiian guitar, applying the instrument's eerie sustain and malleable pitch--it sounds like a sitar with a softer, plusher tone--to the highly ornamented language of Hindustani music. Guitar whiz Henry Kaiser has called him the greatest slide guitarist in the world: in 1983, when he produced a Kabra album for Celluloid Records, he wrote in the liner notes that Kabra "is an innovator on a par with Charlie Christian, Jimi Hendrix, Django Reinhardt, or Andres Segovia." Kabra has made more than 50 recordings, most of them hard to find in the States, but one of his most influential works, Call of the Valley (EMI Hemisphere)--a collection of ragas recorded in 1968 with two other titans of Indian classical music, santoor player Shivkumar Sharma and flutist Hariprasad Chaurasia--remains in print. For this rare U.S. performance Kabra is joined by tabla player Kadar Khan, a young master who's worked with the likes of Chaurasia, Sultan Khan, Parvez Khan, and Lakshmi Shankar. The duo also plays September 18 at 8 PM at Yoga Now, 5852 N. Broadway; call 773-561-9642 for ticket info.

3 PM, Humboldt Park Boathouse

Kepa Junkera

See September 17 entry.

3:30 PM, Clarke House

Rhythm Revolution's Community Drum Circle

Audience members are welcome to join in at this drum circle, led by John Yost of Rhythm Revolution, which in addition to running events like these is also "the leading professional facilitation service in the Midwest." I believe I'll pass.

4 PM, Borders Books & Music (Uptown)

Dzihan & Kamien

Sarajevo's Vlado Dzihan and Switzerland's Mario Kamien met as students in Vienna in 1994, and in '96, working as MC Sultan, they created a club sensation with the track "Der Bauch." That same year they rechristened themselves Dzihan & Kamien, and since then they've made their interest in Turkish music--only hinted at in their original name--much more explicit. Both Freaks & Icons and Gran Riserva complemented the duo's sleek house beats with street and studio recordings by Turkish musicians, and on the brand-new Live in Vienna (Six Degrees) a 22-member group called the Dzihan & Kamien Orchestra, featuring many of the same players from the earlier albums, plays the electronics-heavy pieces onstage. Unfortunately such a large ensemble can't render the music with the proper snap, and it turns out gloppy and glib--but for their festival dates Dzihan & Kamien will be traveling alone and strutting their stuff on the decks.

6 PM, South Shore Cultural Center

*Mamadou Diabate Ensemble

See above.

Samite

Samite Mulondo, a native of Uganda, has lived in Ithaca, New York, since 1987, and it's not doing him any good. In the liner notes to his most recent album, Tunula Eno (Triloka/Artemis), he explains that in New York, if you intend to marry a woman, you have to impress her by "showing your ability to identify sprouts and tofu"--whereas back in Africa you only had to promise to bring home meat for the table each night. His approach to music seems to be guided by a similar level of cultural insight--maybe he thinks Americans are clamoring for stuff that's watered down beyond redemption. Samite is a strong, sweet-voiced singer and a nimble kalimba player, but the arrangements on Tunula Eno are dominated by polite, toothless folk rock, and there's little characteristically Ugandan in his bland pan-African stew. He may yet attract a broader audience this way, but I doubt it'll be the one he wants.

6:30 PM, Borders Books & Music (Lincoln Village)

*Kiran Ahluwalia

See September 18 entry.

7 PM, Old Town School of Folk Music $12

*Mari Boine

Norwegian singer Mari Boine belongs to a people usually called the Sami, or Lapps, who are thought to have arrived in the far northern regions of Scandinavia and western Russia more than 2,000 years ago. Primarily reindeer herders in earlier times, these days most Sami have been assimilated by the dominant cultures of the countries where they live, though around 30,000 still speak Sami languages. Boine, a former schoolteacher, was self-conscious about her ethnicity for years, but since embracing it she's become one of the most progressive popularizers of traditional Sami songs. Her latest, the 2002 album Eight Seasons (Northside), was produced by Bugge Wesseltoft, a leading figure in what's been dubbed "nu jazz," an icy Nordic fusion of electric-era Miles Davis and house music. His own recordings are usually little more than sonic wallpaper, but here the sumptuous settings--electronic beats and gauzy synths combined with acoustic instruments like guitars, saxophones, and flutes--nicely complement the sparse Sami melodies and Boine's piercing vocals. She doesn't sing in the joik style--an improvised song form that may be the Sami's most famous musical legacy--but she's influenced by it, delivering chantlike passages with honeyed lyricism and a sharp vibrato that recalls the twangy articulation of Tuvan singers.

PM, HotHouse $12, 21+

Chicago Meets Brazil

A showcase of working Brazilian musicians who live in Chicago: Chicago Samba, Dois no Choro, and Two for Brazil--bossa nova guitarist Paulinho Garcia and jazz saxophonist Greg Fishman.

PM, Abbey Pub $10, 21+

*Warsaw Village Band

See September 18 entry.

Phonix

This young Danish quartet's sound is dominated by the accordion, like so much of the folk music from Denmark's northern neighbors. Bass clarinetist Anja PrĀ¾st Mikkelsen adds jaunty bass lines to Jesper Falch's quirky percussion, and accordionist Jesper Vinther Petersen plays zigzagging melodies that intertwine with Karen Mose's throaty, nuanced vocals.

10 PM, Sonotheque $12, 21+

DJ Rikshaw

Richard Smith, aka DJ Rikshaw, has one of the finest collections of vintage Jamaican music in town--hard-core ska, rocksteady, roots reggae, mind-bending dub plates--and he's been sharing it with Chicagoans since 1995, when he formed the Deadly Dragon Sound System DJ crew to soften up Wicker Park indie-rock types and get them onto the dance floor. These days he's the resident Sunday-night DJ at Sonotheque.

Dzihan & Kamien

See above.

Mon20

11 AM, Claudia Cassidy Theater

*Brij Bhushan Kabra

See September 19 entry.

Samite

See September 19 entry.

Noon, Instituto Cervantes

Kepa Junkera

See September 17 entry.

12:30 PM, Claudia Cassidy Theater

Phonix

See September 19 entry.

Jamesie

See September 18 entry.

6:30 PM, Pritzker Pavilion

*Tortoise

Tortoise supported Tom Ze on his 1999 North American tour and has incorporated Brazilian and African elements into its polyglot sound, but despite the band's voracious appetite for new styles, it'd be silly to claim these locals play "world music." On the recent It's All Around You (Thrill Jockey) they refine their approach rather than making a quantum leap; Kelly Hogan's airy, wordless vocals on "The Lithium Stiffs" are something new, but for the most part they seem to have focused on tightening their songwriting and execution, curing themselves of the tendency to spin their wheels over an empty vamp. The group's live shows have also improved enormously over the years, acquiring a quicksilver energy that belies their reputation as chilly mood technicians. Guitar and bass trace harmonically rich melodic filigree across a constantly changing background of live and electronic beats, synthesizers, vibraphone, and marimba--and at this show Tortoise will be joined by locals Josh Berman on cornet, Geof Bradfield on tenor sax and bass clarinet, Greg Ward on alto sax and clarinet, and Jeb Bishop on trombone.

Dzihan & Kamien

See September 19 entry.

7 PM, Chicago Cultural Center

Samite

See September 19 entry.

PM, HotHouse $12, 21+

Abdelli

See September 17 entry.

*Mamadou Diabate Ensemble

See September 19 entry.

PM, Martyrs' 21+

Kieran O'Hare & Liz Knowles

This local duo plays the Celtic music of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Cape Breton. Kieran O'Hare plays uilleann pipes, concert flute, and tin whistle; fiddler Liz Knowles has toured with Riverdance.

Phonix

See September 19 entry.

PM, Abbey Pub $8, 21+

Margot Leverett & the Klezmer Mountain Boys

*Back in 1985, New York clarinetist Margot Leverett was an original member of the city's most progressive klezmer revival group, the Klezmatics, and in 1999 she cofounded the all-female quintet Mikveh. On her 2001 solo album, The Art of Klezmer Clarinet, she salutes some of the most important and distinctive clarinetists in the tradition: Dave Tarras, Naftule Brandwein, and Shloimke Beckerman. Her current project, which tackles both traditional klezmer material and bluegrass tunes associated with Bill Monroe, may seem like a bit of a novelty act, but she approaches it with the same respect, creativity, and technical rigor that's marked her previous work. On their self-titled debut album for Traditional Crossroads the Klezmer Mountain Boys don't attempt to fuse the two genres but instead shift smoothly between them, often within the same tune, which works because at bottom both are vehicles for high-octane improvisation. Leverett's band of progressive bluegrass stalwarts includes mandolinist Barry Mitterhoff, who's collaborated with Tony Trischka and Hazel Dickens, guitarist Joe Selly, whose credits include work with the Guy Lombardo Orchestra and Vassar Clements, fiddler Kenny Kosek, and bassist Marty Confurious, who's particularly well suited for this project--in addition to playing with Bela Fleck and Jerry Douglas, he's spent time on the klezmer side of the fence, backing both Tarras and his protege Andy Statman.

Devil in a Woodpile

This local trio, best known from its long-running Tuesday-night residency at the Hideout, plays a raucous mixture of Delta blues, ragtime, and old-timey country. Front man Rick "Cookin'" Sherry sings and plays washboard or harmonica, Joel Paterson plays guitar, and Tom Ray plays upright bass--at least when he's not touring with Neko Case. He'll be replaced here by Gary Elvis Schepers on tuba.

Tues21

11 AM, Claudia Cassidy Theater

Ruben Rodriguez

The popular Argentinean folk style known as chamame is built around the accordion, like tango, but its sound is worlds away. Waltzes and tangos imported by European immigrants are part of the mix, but so are rhythms brought from Africa by slaves and traditions borrowed from South American Indians. For years the music thrived in the river region known as the Corrientes, but when the rural population migrated to urban centers like Buenos Aires after industrialization, the music came along for the ride. Bandleader Ruben Rodriguez hails from the Corrientes--Curuzu Cuatia, to be precise--and he's been playing chamame since he was 17. Guitar and bass mete out jumpy, swinging rhythms while Rodriguez and a second accordionist lay down zippy contrapuntal melodies; every now and then the guitarist joins in for a unison part or ornaments the music with a fluid, high-velocity lick. The tunes fly by in a multidirectional blur--and improbably enough, the traditional way to dance to this stuff is cheek to cheek.

Claudia Perez Brown

This local Chilean-born singer, who's recorded with Von Freeman and Fareed Haque, brings a jazz sensibility to songs from all over South America. Her sextet, led by regular Patricia Barber guitarist Neal Alger, seamlessly blends jazz and Latin rhythms, and though her voice can get a little thin when she reaches for a high note, her grasp of South American music enriches her phrasing.

Noon, Daley Civic Center

*Margot Leverett & Klezmer Mountain Boys

See September 20 entry.

12:30 PM, Claudia Cassidy Theater

*Ilija Ampevski

It's a shame that so many fine musicians from eastern Europe basically have to play belly-dance music to make a living from their craft in the States. Many of the songs are in fact staples of Balkan folk music, but the tourist-friendly renditions rarely allow the players to cut loose. The two cassette releases I've heard from Ilija Ampevski--a clarinetist born and raised in Skopje, Macedonia, who moved to Chicago early this year--are just this kind of domesticated stuff. But during the Chicago Immigrant Orchestra's concert at the Pritzker Pavilion in July, I saw him take a solo, and it was clear at once that he's a monster player, on par with Bulgarian daredevils like Yuri Yunakov and Ivo Papasov. At a rehearsal for the Immigrant Orchestra I noticed him talking shop with jazz reedist Mwata Bowden, and I couldn't help thinking that once this guy learns to swing, he'll be able to lay any jam session in town to waste. Mike Orlove, the organizer of the World Music Festival, told me that Ampevski says he has trouble with jazz because "he can't play that slow." His local ensemble includes guitar, drums, percussion, accordion, keyboard, and vocals by Senada Tair.

*Esma Redzepova

Widely considered the greatest Gypsy singer in the Balkans, Esma Redzepova is undoubtedly the most colorful, reliably decked out in elaborate dresses, wild headpieces, golden jewelry, and layers of gaudy makeup. The production on her records (at least those few presently available in this country) is often similarly overdone, but her magnificent voice--brassy and strong, with a wide, serrated vibrato--can cut through the cheesiest arrangements. Redzepova was born in 1943 in Skopje, Macedonia, to a Serbian father and a Turkish mother, and suffered from racism as part of a Rom and Jewish household. As a child she made a little money for the family supplying shoe-shine men with polish, but when she was 14 clarinetist Stevo Teodosievski, leader of one of the region's most popular bands, heard her sing and took her on as an apprentice. Seven years later they were married, and together they became international stars, not to mention one of the rare Gypsy acts to attract a non-Rom audience in Yugoslavia; they brought their mixture of originals and folk tunes to concert halls throughout Europe, China, Australia, Africa, and the Middle East. Teodosievski's death in 1997 sidelined Redzepova for a time--in her grief she reportedly considered joining a convent--but she soon carried on, assembling a new Ansamble Teodosievski led by several of her adoptive sons. (With no kids of their own, she and her husband raised 47 foster children.) The 2000 album Chaje Shukarije (Times Square/World Connection), recorded in Skopje by trumpeter Frank London of the Brotherhood of Brass and the Klezmatics, presents many of Redzepova's most important songs in stripped-down, hard-hitting arrangements, most of them played by her family band--though there are guest turns by a handful of New York's most adventurous players, like guitarist Danny Bloom and tuba player Marcus Rojas, and a cameo by wildly popular Macedonian saxophonist Ferus Mustafov. She visited the U.S. a few years ago as part of the Gypsy Caravan tour, but it skipped Chicago--this chance to see a living legend hold court shouldn't be passed up lightly. Redzepova will be joined by a small complement of musicians here; for her gigs tonight at Park West and tomorrow at the MCA she'll bring the entire Ansamble Teodosievski.

12:30 PM, Borders Books & Music (Michigan)

Katie Viqueira & Deep Tango

Tango singer Katie Viqueira was moderately successful in her native Buenos Aires, but since moving to Boston in 1997 she's landed a number of plum roles in tango musicals--in 2002 she sang in the U.S. premier of Astor Piazzolla's "tango oratory" Pueblo joven. Her forthcoming Amores torcidos (Fresh Sound) situates her clear, malleable voice in both traditional settings and jazz-flavored arrangements; for this concert, her first in Chicago, she'll be accompanied by bandoneon player Hector Del Curto, violinist Laura Arpiainen, bassist Fernando Huergo, drummer Bertram Lehmann, and pianist Fernando Michelin.

12:30 PM, Borders Books & Music (State)

*Eva Ayllon

Nearly a decade ago Luaka Bop released The Soul of Black Peru, a compilation that helped introduce Afro-Peruvian music to the world. The album gave a giant boost to the international career of the great Susana Baca, but its 15 tracks also included a song by Eva Ayllon, who was and continues to be a bigger star in Peru. Baca is something of an ethnomusicologist, devoting much of her energy to preserving and documenting obscure Afro-Peruvian songs, and only began performing in the 90s; Ayllon has been a successful singer for 30 years, and has more than 20 albums to her credit. Although she's performed for the immigrant Peruvian community in the States, the new Eva! Leyenda Peruana (Times Square/World Connection) is her first recording to be widely distributed here. Her music is driven by syncopated, percussive piano, zesty acoustic guitar, and percolating hand percussion from a conguero and two players of the cajon, or box drum; the album includes a salsa number, but most of the songs employ specifically Peruvian rhythms like the festejo, vals, and lando. On upbeat material Ayllon can explode into spontaneous, full-throated exhortations like a top-notch salsero, and on ballads she's a match for any Cuban diva you can name, from Celia Cruz to Omara Portuonda, singing with hothouse fervor and exquisite tenderness.

7:30 PM, Park West $15, 18+

*Boban Markovic Orkestar

At the 2002 World Music Festival the Boban Markovic Orkestar played one of the greatest shows I've ever seen. If you've watched the 1995 Emir Kusturica film Underground you've heard this Serbian group's music: the sound track opens with a brass band plowing through an eastern European folk tune at breakneck speed. Given how wonderfully excessive the whole movie is, at first I assumed that the music's frantic intensity was just another part of the director's vision--but once I started picking up albums by the likes of Fanfare Ciocarlia and the Kocani Orkestar, I realized that it was part of a real tradition in the former Yugoslavia and parts of Romania. On the Markovic band's recent Boban I Marko (Piranha) four flugelhorns, four tenor horns, and helicon tuba blitz through tricky contrapuntal arrangements over hard-driving field drums; the soloists are magicians as much as musicians, possessed of relentless, electrifying energy, dazzling dexterity, and superhuman endurance built up playing for hours on end at weddings and parties. (Their Martyrs' set in 2002 lasted just two hours--an easy night for them, I'm sure, but more than enough to win me over.) At the annual Guca Brass Band Festival, which these days draws more than 300,000 people, Markovic and his orchestra have taken the top prizes so many times that for a few years he stayed home to give other groups a chance. A new addition on this tour is Boban's 17-year-old son, Marko, following in his father's footsteps on trumpet and flugelhorn; for this performance only, the band will be joined on a handful of songs by the great Gypsy singer Esma Redzepova, whose group shares the bill.

*Esma Redzepova

See above.

7:30 PM, Athenaeum Theatre $15

*Mariza

Since the death in 1999 of Portugal's matriarch of fado, Amalia Rodrigues, several strong performers have stepped forward to fill the void, allaying fears that the music would calcify into tourist fare like Chicago blues. As well as adding new material to fado's moribund repertoire, singers like Misia and Cristina Branco have incorporated outside influences, something that the genre's basic form--extravagant lamentations draped over a skeleton of ornate acoustic guitar--leaves plenty of room for. But it might turn out to be 30-year-old Mariza Nunes who inherits Rodrigues's mantle: her 2001 debut, Fado em mim, went gold in her homeland, which very few fado albums do, and she's already helped to further the popularization of the form outside her country's borders, touring steadily and winning the prize for best European artist at the BBC Awards for World Music in February. On her 2003 follow-up, Fado curvo (Times Square/World Connection), her gorgeous voice is remarkably agile, modulating from throaty and melancholy to lighter than air in just a few fleet notes. I've missed both her previous Chicago appearances, but if the recent DVD Live in London is anything to go on, her live performances are even more intense than her recordings--she's a genuine diva, with such careful control of her dramatic presence that it never seems false or exaggerated but instead adds even more depth to her powerfully emotional singing. And fortunately she's not above translating her poetic lyrics for English-speaking crowds.

*Marta Topferova

Born and raised in Prague and now living in the U.S., Marta Topferova sings the music of Latin America--proof that deep cultural understanding of a country doesn't require blood ties to it or even an address there. She grew up singing folk and classical material in Latin, German, Spanish, French, and Russian with a touring Czech youth choir, and when she moved to the U.S. in 1987 she joined the Seattle Girls' Choir. But her career path had already been set: as a six-year-old she'd fallen in love with Latin American music when she heard an album by the Chilean group Inti-Illimani, and even as she continued to sing the choral repertoire she voraciously devoured the music of Brazil, Cuba, Venezuela, and Mexico, as well as Spanish flamenco. After a few years in Spain and back in the Czech Republic, she moved to New York in 1996 and pursued Latin American music full-time; when I listen to last year's lovely Sueno verde (Circular Moves) I have a hard time believing she's from eastern Europe. The album is packed with beautifully wrought original ballads caressed by acoustic guitar, gentle percussion, and baroque string-and-horn arrangements, and the studio lineup includes a slew of New York's finest jazz players, among them violinist Jenny Scheinman, bassist Ira Coleman, and cellist Erik Friedlander. For this gig, Topferova's first in Chicago, she'll accompany herself on cuatro; harpist Edmar Castaneda and percussionist Neil Ochoa will back her up.

PM, Schubas $12, 21+

Katie Viqueira & Deep Tango

See above.

Ruben Rodriguez

See above.

PM, HotHouse $12, 21+

*Eva Ayllon

See above.

9 PM, Martyrs' $10, 21+

Kila

Now more than 15 years old, this popular Dublin group is presently Ireland's principal contribution to the jam-band scene. Traditional Celtic instruments and musical forms dominate the septet's 2000 album Lemonade & Buns (Green Linnet)--there are quite a few reels and waltzes--but you can also pick up whiffs of dub bass, flamenco guitar, and African percussion. And throughout the record the band plays so furiously that you'd think they were trying to reach the guys playing Frisbee at the far end of the lawn. Last year's Luna Park (World Village) is more of the same, except that the variety of styles now includes a welcome gentleness (as on the pretty pop tune "The Mama Song"). It's a credit to the group's talent that the music doesn't sound bland or overstuffed, but I can't work up much more enthusiasm than that.

*Margot Leverett & the Klezmer Mountain Boys

See September 20 entry.

9 PM, Sonotheque $5, 21+

Rumba: An Explosion of Latin Rhythm with Carlos Flores

Carlos Flores, a local authority on Latin American music, spins Afro-Latin favorites and classics from the golden era of New York salsa. He'll also project photographs from his huge collection, which includes pictures of the Puerto Rican community in Humboldt Park and live shots of Afro-Latin stars in the 70s.

Wed22

11 AM, Claudia Cassidy Theater

*Foday Musa Suso

Since moving to Chicago in 1977, Gambian griot and kora virtuoso Foday Musa Suso has arguably done more than any other African musician to redefine what's possible for the instrument. Having demonstrated mastery of his native tradition on the 1978 Folkways album Kora Music From the Gambia, he began to push it in a multitude of new directions. The year before, he'd founded the Mandingo Griot Society with percussionists Hamid Drake and Adam Rudolph, and the group recorded its self-titled debut with multiculti jazz trumpeter Don Cherry. He's made funky dance records with producer and bassist Bill Laswell, fused African music and jazz with pianist Herbie Hancock, worked on scores with composer Philip Glass, and recorded with the Kronos Quartet. Though he lives in Hyde Park, he's given only a handful of local performances in the past two decades--most recently joining Pharoah Sanders onstage at the African Festival of the Arts last year. See the Our Town story in Section One for more.

12:30 PM, Claudia Cassidy Theater

*Marta Topferova

See September 21 entry.

Mauricio Diaz "El Hueso"

In the best moments on his most recent release, En cuerdas para cuerdos (E Music), this singer-songwriter from Puebla, Mexico, creates engaging dialogues between his fiery guitar playing and off-kilter, rhythmically jagged singing.

12:30 PM, Borders Books & Music (Michigan)

*Boban Markovic Orkestar

See September 21 entry.

7 PM, Chicago Cultural Center

Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman's Musical Odyssey in Rhythm Fantasies

When it comes to Indian classical music, most of us can recognize the sound of the sitar and the tabla and not much else. This project, led by Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, a master of the barrel-shaped drum known as the mridangam, aims to shed some light on less well-known Indian percussion instruments. If you caught Steve Coleman's group at the 2000 World Music Festival, you may remember Sivaraman's animated duets with tenor sax great Von Freeman; he's also worked with some of the most important figures in the two major schools of Indian classical music, Carnatic and Hindustani. Here he's joined by Nemani Somayajulu on jalatharangam (water bowls), Mattanur Sankarankutty on chenda (upright barrel drum), E.M. Subramaniam on ghatam (clay pot), and Porur Unnikrishnan playing assorted percussion instruments from the state of Kerala. Violinist Rangaswamy Sriram will improvise melodies atop the wild rising-and-falling rhythms.

7:30 PM, Athenaeum Theatre $15

Fulcrum Point New Music Project with Foday Musa Suso

According to its mission statement this local new-music ensemble hopes to "attract new audiences to classical music" with "modern compositions inspired by folk, rock, jazz, blues, Latin, and world music, commissioned works, and contemporary arrangements of traditional pieces by composers from around the world." Since forming in 1998 it's performed works by Charles Ives, Osvaldo Golijov, Fela Kuti, Frank Zappa, Steve Lacy, Toru Takemitsu, and Astor Piazzolla, among many others. For this special concert the 20-member group, directed by trumpeter Stephen Burns, will be joined by kora master Foday Musa Suso (see above), who composed all the music on the program--some of it with this occasion in mind.

7:30 PM, Park West $15, 18+

*Eva Ayllon

See September 21 entry.

Katie Viqueira & Deep Tango

See September 21 entry.

Mauricio Diaz "El Hueso"

See above.

7:30 PM, Museum of Contemporary Art $12

*Esma Redzepova

See September 21 entry.

Jan Yrgagy

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the once-suppressed traditional music of central Asia has made a comeback. Nurak Abdyrakhmanov and Bakyt Chytyrbaev started performing in 1990 in an effort to preserve the folk songs of the nomads of their native Kyrgyzstan, and though they got a lukewarm reception in their own country, by the end of the decade they'd found an enthusiastic audience in Europe; in 2000 their duo, Jan Yrgagy, cut an album for the Czech label Pirala. Abdyrakhmanov sings and plays the Kyrgyz national instrument, a long-necked fretless lute called the komuz, and Chytyrbaev plays the kyl kyjak, a dry-toned spike fiddle; the melodies, lyrics, and instrumental sounds of the graceful, melancholy songs all recall the better-known music of Tuva. Jan Yrgagy was scheduled to appear at last year's fest but canceled due to visa problems.

PM, Martyrs' $12, 21+

*Banda Manzanera

Formed in Sinaloa, the Mexican state that remains the cradle of banda music, Banda Manzanera now calls Chicago its home. Banda was pioneered and popularized in the 50s by the great Banda el Recodo, which basically played norteno with a huge stack of horns instead of an accordion. If you've spent time in any of Chicago's Mexican neighborhoods, you've heard this stuff pounding from a car stereo; you've heard it sampled if you've listened to Tijuana's Nortec Collective or the LA hip-hop duo Akwid. In its most traditional incarnation, banda sounds a lot like polka, with a stomping two-note beat, a rollicking bass line of cleanly articulated tuba puffs, and a brisk melody delivered by brassy mariachi-style trumpets. I've only heard two songs by Banda Manzanera, but they were enough to convince me to recommend the group: they update the usual formula with sharp vocal hooks reminiscent of pop or country and a handful of reeds that plays swaying counterpoint to the high-velocity horns.

*Boban Markovic Orkestar

See September 21 entry.

:30 PM Old Town School of Folk Music $5

Claudia Perez Brown

See September 21 entry.

Marta Topferova

See September 21 entry.

Thurs23

11 AM, Claudia Cassidy Theater

Srikanth

Since he was nine years old, violinist Srikanth Venkatraman has been studying Carnatic music--the Indian classical style, more ancient and austere than its Hindustani counterpart, that dominates the southern part of the country. The Chicago native has performed regularly for the local Indian community, and though he reached a broader audience in July as a member of the Chicago Immigrant Orchestra (which he'll rejoin for its gig on the fest's opening night), this is the first time he'll play the music he knows best for the general public.

12:30 PM, Claudia Cassidy Theater

Jan Yrgagy

See September 22 entry.

12:30 PM, Borders Books & Music (State)

Mauricio Diaz "El Hueso"

See September 22 entry.

6 PM, Wrigley Square

Closing concert with surprise guests

7 PM, Preston Bradley Hall

Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman's Musical Odyssey in Rhythm Fantasies featuring Srikanth

See September 22 entry. For this set the group will be joined on several pieces by local Carnatic violinist Srikanth Venkatraman (see above).

7:30 PM, Claudia Cassidy Theater

*Ilija Ampevski Macedonian Ensemble

See September 21 entry.

PM, Randolph Cafe

Mauricio Diaz "El Hueso"

See September 22 entry.

:30 PM, Preston Bradley Hall

Jan Yrgagy

See September 22 entry.

9:45 PM, Preston Bradley Hall

Betty Xiang & Yang Wei and friends

This accomplished couple, based in Chicago, plays the classical music of China. Yang plays the pipa, which resembles a lute, and for the past few years has been a member of Yo-Yo Ma's acclaimed Silk Road Ensemble. Xiang, the daughter of a Shanghai music professor, has soloed with orchestras in France, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan; she plays the erhu, a two-stringed violin. Last year they released Song of Consonance (Traditional Crossroads), their first domestic recording, which explores points of contact between traditional Chinese and Western classical musics. Here they'll perform with pianist Matthew Hagle, violinist Kathleen Brauer, and cellist Mark Brandfonbrener.

10 PM, Randolph Cafe

Paulinho Garcia

This native of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, is one of the city's most active bossa nova artists. Back in 1979 he formed Jazzmineiro, for which he writes and arranges; that band still plays out every once in a while, but these days you're more likely to see him with Polish jazz singer Grazyna Auguscik or in his duo with saxophonist Greg Fishman, Two for Brazil (see "Chicago Meets Brazil" on September 19). He's also a member of the Chicago Immigrant Orchestra (see September 17 entry).

Venes

Abbey Pub 3420 W. Grace, 773-748-4408 or 866-777-8932

Athenaeum Theatre 2936 N. Southport, 773-935-6860

Borders Books & Music 4718 N. Broadway, 773-334-7338

Borders Books & Music 6103 N. Lincoln, 773-267-4822

Borders Books & Music 830 N. Michigan, 312-573-0564

Borders Books & Music 150 N. State, 312-606-0750

Claudia Cassidy Theater Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630

Clarke House Chicago Women's Park & Gardens, 1827 S. Indiana, 312-744-6630

Daley Civic Center 50 W. Washington, 312-346-3278

Eli's Cheesecake World 6701 W. Forest Preserve, 773-205-3800

Garfield Park Conservatory 300 N. Central Park, 312-746-5100

HotHouse 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707

Humboldt Park Boathouse 1301 N. Sacramento, 312-742-7549

Instituto Cervantes John Hancock Center, 875 N. Michigan, 312-335-1996

Kitty O'Shea's Chicago Hilton & Towers, 720 S. Michigan, 312-294-6860

Martyrs' 3855 N. Lincoln, 773-404-9494

Museum of Contemporary Art 220 E. Chicago, 312-397-4010 or 312-280-2660

Old Town School of Folk Music 4544 N. Lincoln, 773-728-6000

Park West 322 W. Armitage, 773-929-5959

Randolph Cafe Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630

Pritzker Pavilion Millennium Park, 100 N. Michigan, 312-742-1168

Preston Bradley Hall Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630

Rhythm 1108 W. Randolph, 312-492-6100

Rogers Park Howard & Ashland, 773-508-5885

Schubas 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508

Sonotheque 1444 W. Chicago, 312-226-7600

South Shore Cultural Center 7059 S. South Shore Dr., 312-747-2536

The Vic 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449

Wrigley Square Millennium Park, Randolph & Michigan, 312-742-1938

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Michael Jackson, Lindsay Lozon.

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