Lira Ensemble | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Lira Ensemble

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LIRA ENSEMBLE

Best known for performances of Polish music and dance, the Lira Ensemble also teams up with other national folk-art groups for intriguing cross-cultural collaborations. In this free concert--now an annual tradition--the Lira's honey-voiced female singers join the Cuerdas Clasicas String Ensemble's Mexican-American male singers and fiddlers to perform Christmas carols. The Polish selections draw attention to the three types of carols that evolved in central Europe through the centuries: apocryphal, religious, and pastoral. The first two are somber accounts of biblical subjects and the third involves more personal storytelling; all are delicate in texture, with intricate rhythmic patterns underscoring artful simplicity. The Mexican carols, spiked by Indian influences, are melodious and unabashedly sentimental. Though each group sings separately, many of the program's songs, sung in English and Spanish, will be performed together. Sunday, 3 PM, St. Mary of the Angels Church, 1850 N. Hermitage; 508-7040 or 539-4900. TED SHEN

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.

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