Celebrated percussion duo reconvenes for their 28th annual winter solstice sunrise concerts | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Celebrated percussion duo reconvenes for their 28th annual winter solstice sunrise concerts

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Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang played their first sunrise percussion concert in 1990. Timed to coincide with the winter solstice, the performance was an open-invite gesture, nonpreachy spiritual gesture to welcome all their friends who felt out of place attending more conventional holiday-oriented festivities. Twenty-eight years later, much of the country feels like it could use a reminder about the merits of inclusion, but this event has become a tradition unto itself; many people return annually to observe the beginning of the year’s shortest day by listening to two master drummers match rhythms and sounds played on percussion instruments that come from all around the world. Since Drake and Zerang are both internationally celebrated improvisers, you can count on each concert to be a unique musical event. But you can also be sure that they'll all start the same way: with the musicians joining the audience in a room lit only by candles, ranging freely amongst their collected instruments until the dawn light streams in. This year Drake and Zerang will play duos on three successive mornings, starting with the solstice and running through the weekend. The two of them will also join other musicians on Friday and Saturday nights. The first night they will help bassist and bandleader Tatsu Aoki celebrate his 60th trip around the globe. The second night Zerang will reconvene the unconventional string quartet Silt, which first played with him at May Chapel in October, and Drake will play a set with the free-rock trio Mako Sica.   v

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