Inti-Illimani | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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This veteran Chilean folk group hit the world stage during the heady days of the Allende regime in the late 60s, when it looked for a while as if ideas, goodwill, and a liberated human spirit could actually transform society. The CIA-backed Pinochet coup took care of that dream, but Inti-Illimani have carried on, even through a 15-year exile from their home country. In the process they've widened their thematic scope. The songs of revolution ("The People United Will Never Be Defeated") are still there, but so are jaunty folk tunes and some surprisingly daring forays into the experimental--echoes of jazz, modern classical, and even new age swirl around the group's improvisations. The group's instrumentation--Andean pipes, wind and string instruments from Chile, multilayered percussion--blends perfectly with their passionate and soaring vocals, and their continuing mission to celebrate the "indomitable human spirit" ultimately transcends ideology. Don't let fear of the politically correct deter you: an Inti-Illimani program is inspiring, liberating, and a hell of a good time. Thursday, February 10, 7 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage; 929-5959, 525-7793, or 559-1212.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Luis Poirot.

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