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The Chicago World Music Festival was a rather stunning success in its inaugural year: attendance surpassed the organizers' expectations, and the logistical difficulties of bringing performers from around the globe in to play a ten-day event with 12 different venues were largely invisible to the public. Most important, the quality and diversity of the music immediately established the fest as one of the premiere musical events in the country.

This year the festival includes one more day and about ten more acts. A rather impressive 15 will be making their Chicago debuts, and another four will be making their U.S. debuts in Chicago. Once again the scope of the programming is promisingly broad, ranging from a night of hip-this-minute international electronica to a very rare performance of Korean shamanist music.

The most interesting difference between this year's fest and last has little to do with the programming. Last year WBEZ served as the primary radio sponsor, and at concerts they emceed, on-air personalities Chris Heim and Mark Ruffin told attendees that WBEZ felt largely responsible for the existence of the festival. This year corporate rock powerhouse WXRT has taken on a prominent role, agreeing to emcee and hype a dozen specific shows and broadcast more than 60 free ads for the event as a whole. 'BEZ is still a sponsor too, but not a very supportive one: just last Friday on the world music show, Passport, Heim played selections by Susana Baca, Oliver Mtukudzi, and Plena Libre but neglected to mention that any of them would be performing prominently at the festival.

All of the events are free and open to fans of all ages unless otherwise noted; $10 is the maximum ticket price, except for the closing-night concert by Chava Alberstein and Susana Baca at Symphony Center. In most cases advance tickets are available from the venues, and those wanting a preview can pick up an inexpensive ten-song sampler, issued by Big Chicago Records, at local record stores. A number of the musicians will give lunchtime concerts in the studio at the Museum of Broadcast Communications; these will be broadcast live on Continental Drift, the world music show on Northwestern University's radio station, WNUR (89.3 FM).

One more thing: for those interested in talking as well as listening, there's a free panel discussion about the tension between traditionalism and fusion in world music. It takes place on Friday, September 29, at noon in the Cultural Center's Claudia Cassidy Theater. The panelists are Amon Tobin, saxophonist Trevor Watts, Frederic Tari of Comifo, Latin-jazz pianist Danilo Perez, festival organizer Michael Orlove, moderator Ben Harbert from the Old Town School of Folk Music, and yours truly.

--Peter Margasak

Thursday, September 21

Noon, Daley Center Plaza

Plena Libre

See below.

Noon, Borders Books & Music

Antibalas

See below.

12:30 PM, Museum of Broadcast Communications

Steve Coleman

See below.

Kanenhi:Io Singers

See below.

6:00 PM, Field Museum

Steve Coleman & the Mystic Rhythm Society

Alto saxophonist and composer Steve Coleman has always been a seeker. As a youngster in Chicago, he idolized Maceo Parker and formed a funk band, but after absorbing the lessons of Von Freeman he decided to pursue jazz. He moved to New York in the late 70s, and since then has devoured information about everything from West African music to hip-hop to Afro-Cuban music--which he's incorporated into his work as cofounder of the radical collective M-Base, which addresses contemporary currents in black music in relation to the jazz tradition. But though he's chewed on a lot of ideas, Coleman has never swallowed anything whole. By the mid-90s he'd mastered a musical language of his own, leading top-flight frontlines through contrapuntal corkscrews over taut, unwavering funk bass lines and dense polyrhythmic percussion. His latest album, The Sonic Language of Myth, reflects his recent journeys to West Africa and India, but these rare Chicago shows will feature new compositions commissioned by the Jazz Institute of Chicago, performed by a superb international lineup that includes trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson, bassist Anthony Tidd, drummer Dafnis Prieto, percussionist David Frazier, Indian pianist Vijay Iyer, Indian percussionist Umayalpuram Sivaraman, Cuban percussionist Sandy Perez, Bay Area Latin percussionist Josh Jones, dancers Rosangela Silvestre and Mirna Jimenez, and special guest Von Freeman.

Kanenhi:io Singers

The seven members of Ontario's Kanenhi:io Singers represent a variety of indiginous peoples, including the the Mapuche (who fought the Spanish for 350 years in Chile) as well as the Innu (a tiny population from Newfoundland), but their repertoire is strictly Iroquois. The music features chants, which range from sweetly melodic to insistently rhythmic, and spare hand percussion.

Oliver Mtukudzi & Black Spirits

Over the course of two decades Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi, Zimbabwe's most popular artist, has devised a style-spanning sound that blends sweet melodies and insinuating rhythms. Like many Zimbabwean musicians, he's been influenced by the great Thomas Mapfumo, who adapted the traditional mbira (thumb piano) music of the country's Shona people for electric guitar, but he's also adapted elements of South African township jive, Congelese rumba, and deep American soul-you can hear Otis Redding in the rough edges of his baritone. The slick production on his two U.S. releases, Tuku Music and the new Paivepo (both on Putumayo), makes clear that Mutukudzi is very interested in expanding his audience. The bubbling guitar, snaking basslines, and skittering hi-hat are cushioned by soulful female backing vocals and catchy synthesizer parts-and while Mtukudzi sings most of the tunes in Shona, he even sings a song or two in English.

Plena Libre

This Puerto Rican band, led by New York bassist and bandleader Gary Nunez, is a leading force in the revival of the African-derived plena tradition. In its earliest incarnation, the traditional plena band included hand-held drums of different sizes, called pandeiros, and maybe a guiro, a grooved gourd scraped with a stick, but it can also include other percussion instruments, accordion, and a guitar called the cuatro. Over the years, the pandeiros have been replaced entirely by standard Afro-Cuban percussion, and the lyrics, which in the 20s served as a sort of news service for the rural population, have lost their functionality. In the mid-90s, when Nunez founded the band, he brought back the pandeiros, but Plena Libre keeps the music contemporary with a 12-piece lineup that includes a trombone section and a pianist. The band's eighth and latest album, Mas Libre (RykoLatino), combines the plena rhythm with elements from a plethora of other Afro-Caribbean styles, including Brazilian samba, Cuban guaguanco, Puerto Rican bomba, oriza (a Puerto Rican cousin to calypso), and even reggae.

9:30 PM, HotHouse

Antibalas

Fela Kuti's son Femi made hay in the U.S. this year by polishing up and toning down his dad's music for the MTV generation, but if you like a little more grit in your Afrobeat, you'll probably prefer the New York band Antibalas. This hard-charging, multiracial 13-member combo (the name is Spanish for bulletproof) shares members with the Soul Providers and the Daktaris, who faithfully recreate the sounds of James Brown and Fela, respectively, for the New York specialty label Desco label-and not surprisingly, if Antibalas deviates from Fela's formula at all, it's to accent the influence of the Godfather of Soul. On the group's excellent debut album, Liberation Afrobeat (Afrosound), everything's as it should be: the guitar licks are hypnotic, the organ riffs insistent, the horn charts alternately punchy and heavy-lidded, and the grooves impeturbable. The lyrics, when there are any, are slightly more political than Femi's, but the two overheated live cuts make it perfectly clear that this band is more about partying that prostelytizing.

Friday, September 22

Noon, Old Town School

Native American Equinox Celebration

A variety of acts from around the country, including the Kahenhi:io Singers (see September 21 entry), Bill Miller (see below), the Milwaukee folk-rock trio Acoustic Warriors, and the Albuquerque reggae band Native Roots, will perform music, dance, and spoken word. The first half of this 12-hour program is outdoors in nearby Welles Park; at 5:30 it moves inside. Everything's free except Miller's performance, which starts at 10 PM and costs $10.

Noon, Daley Center Plaza

Antibalas

See September 21 entry.

12:30, Borders Books & Music

Lenine

See below.

12:30 PM, Museum of Broadcast Communications

Oliver Mtukudzi

See September 21 entry.

Bill Miller

The spirit most strongly in evidence on Ghostdance (Vanguard), the most recent album by Native American folk rocker Bill Miller, is Bruce Springsteen's. Miller's lyrics occasionally address the plight of his ancestors, but excepting the occasional Native American chant, the record is as whitebread as they come.

6:00 PM, Summerdance

Plena Libre

See September 21 entry.

7:00 PM, Field Museum ($10)

Steve Coleman & the Mystic Rhythm Society

See September 21 entry.

9:30 PM, HotHouse ($10; 21 and over)

Boubacar Traore

Malian singer and guitarist Boubacar "Kar Kar" Traore scored several radio hits in the early 60s, including "Mali Twist," a play on Chubby Checker's American hit in which he urged expatriates to return home and rebuild their recently liberated country. But because he wasn't born into Mali's musician caste, he spent most of the next two decades farming peanuts and sorghum and working as a tailor. In 1988 some journalists "rediscovered" him and persuaded him to sing on national television; that appearance generated the opportunity to record a batch of solo performances for Radio Mali, but after his wife died the next year, Traore immigrated to France and worked in construction to make ends meet. The British record label Stern's tracked him down there, and his musical career was finally launched in earnest: the Radio Mali sessions came out on the album Mariama, in 1990, and Traore embarked on a tour that took him to England, Canada, and the U.S. His second solo album, Kar Kar, came out in 1992, and like its predecessor it's distinguished by Traore's delicate, bluesy guitar picking and his deep, resonant, majestic voice. His superb new album, Macire (Indigo), features spare support from some of Mali's finest musicians, including the great guitarist Habib Koite; they add circular balafon (a relative of the xylophone), serpentine bass, and occasional flourishes of harmonica, violin, and ngoni (a highly expressive African lute).

Oliver Mtukudzi & Black Spirits

See September 21 entry.

10 PM, Double Door ($10; 21 and over)

Funkadesi

On their recent debut album, Uncut Roots (IACA), these locals toss Latin rhythms, reggae sunniness, slick funk, and Indian classical music into the pot-but there's not enough real meat there to support all the exotic spices.

Slavic Soul Party

New York jazzers have explored the rhythmically tricky, harmonically sorrowful folk music of the Balkans in a variety of contexts, from Pachora's quiet elegance to the Paradox trio's open-ended improvisation. Slavic Soul Party, though, is just what its name would suggest: led by percussionist Matt Moran, this loose collective rips through the music of Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia, Turkey, and the Gypsies with a woolly raucousness and a healthy disregard for "authenticity." (Most of the tunes are originals, but the band also daringly Balkanizes Duke Ellington's "Blue Pepper.") A rotating cast of excellent horn players zigzags through Moran's propulsive, rippling percussion and Ted Reichman's pumping accordion riffs, soloing with joyful abandon without abandoning the tone of the music. They've been known to bring a crowd of New Yorkers to its feet well before the end of a show. For this gig the frontline is clarinetist Chris Speed (also of Pachora), trombonist Curtis Hasselbring, and trumpeter Rossen Zahariev.

Antibalas

See September 21 entry.

10 PM, Metro ($10; 18 and over)

Ulele

This staple of the local jam-band scene, led by husband and wife duo Stone and Leina'ala, blends various ethnic musics into high-energy, lowest-common-denominator hippie-dippy dance music.

Vezhliviy Otkaz

Like so many Eastern European rock bands, Moscow's Vezhliviy Otkaz (the term means "polite refusal"), has obviously been influenced by the clown prince of prog-rock, Frank Zappa. Although there's no indication on the most recent album I've heard, 1997'S Kosa na Kamen ("Steel on Stone") of the sheer virtuosity Zappa was so fond of displaying, guitarist Roman Suslov has a self-effacingly goofy, mock operatic singing style, and the band does plenty of loopy noodling behind him.

Lenine

Singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer Lenine is perhaps the most exciting and important performer to emerge from Brazil since Chico Science. On last year's terrific Na Pressao (recently issued in this country by BMG Latin) he framed his excellent songs in a mix of regional Brazilian styles (forro, samba, xote, embolada) and contemporary pop ones (hip-hop, drum 'n' bass, and funk). The key to this mix is subtlety: his eclecticism is a means to an end, not the end itself. As a singer he's modestly soulful; his phrasing is impeccable, full of melodic and rhythmic twists, but he never overdoes it. Making his North American debut earlier this summer at the Montreal Jazz Festival, he transformed a large but tepid audience that was largely unfamiliar with his work into a roomful of diehard fans. Fronting a live band with an electric guitarist, a bassist, a busy drummer, and a mediocre DJ, Lenine makes clear that it's his show, and strikes some silly rock star poses-but don't don't let them distract you from the spectacular music.

Saturday, September 23

11:30 AM, Field Museum (free with museum admission)

Drepung Gomang Monks

When the communist Chinese took control of Tibetin 1959, the nearly 550-year-old Drepung Gomang monastery was still home to some 5,000 monks. By 1969, when the monastary reestablished itself in southern India, there were fewer than 60 left. It now it houses about 1,500 people and is the largest center for Tibetan Buddhist learning in exile. The ten monks in this traveling ensemble reportedly do some of the same sort of otherwordly polyphonic chanting that's made the better known Gyoto Monks famous, but I didn't hear any of it on the recording I have. Accompanied sparsely by horns, bells, and drums, they tend to hold low, ominous drones in unison, occasionally ascending with heart-stopping suddenness.

Steve Coleman & the Mystic Rhythm Society

See September 21 entry.

Natyakalalayam Dance Company

Natyakalalayam is a critically acclaimed Indian classical dance company based in Chicago.

Drepung Gomang Monks

See above.

10:00 AM, University of Chicago Midway Plaisance

Eschikagou Pow Wow

This event, organized by the same folks who put on the giant annual Gathering of Nations at the University of New Mexico (where Miss Indian World is crowned), will feature Native American dancers, drummers, storytellers, and artisans from around the country.

2:00 PM, Borders Books & Music

Boubacar Traore

See Septmeber 22 entry.

6:00 PM, SummerDance

Zlatne Uste

Balkan brass band music is an acquired taste-in the hands of more extreme practitioners, like the Moldavian band Fanfare Ciocarlia, it can sound like the Dirty Dozen Brass Band blitzing through the Minor Threat songbook. New York's Zlatne Uste takes a slightly more sophisticated approach on its most recent recording, last year's In the Center of the Village (Azalea City). Sometimes the horn lines-played mostly on various sizes of trubas, the rotary valved flugelhorns common to the Balkans, but also on alto sax and clarinet--ricochet across the shuffling percussion (played on snare and several folk drums) at mind-boggling speeds, but some tunes, like the appropriately named "Slow Song," are gorgeously pensive. Most of the group's repertoire is instrumental, but a pair of female singers step up here and there, giving the music a more conventional flavor.

7:00 PM, Field Museum ($10)

Natyakalalayam Dance Company

See above.

Music From China

This New York-based group bills itself as a "silk string and bamboo wind" ensemble, but in addition to stringed instruments like the pipa (lute), yangqin (hammered dulcimer), zheng (a zither with movable bridges), and ehru (two-stringed fiddle), it employs drums, gongs, cymbals, and woodblocks. Its admirably broad mission is to preserve traditional music-both classical and folk-of a country with many traditions and promote contemporary works by Chinese composers the world over, so the repertoire ranges from the heptatonically tuned court music of the Tang dynasty to delicate new compositions by violinist Jason Kao Hwang. The advantage of coming to it with Western ears, of course, is that even the stuff from the seventh century sounds breathtakingly fresh.

7:30 PM, Old Town School ($10)

Chico Cesar

He wears his hair in a single wild shock that sprouts from his otherwise bald pate, and his colorful outfits are a cross between tribal chic and court jester, but Chico Cesar's crisp tropical pop is hardly radical. His songs have been covered by Brazlian stars like Daniela Mercury (her recording of "A primiera vista" became the theme for a popular prime time Brazilian soap opera), Maria Bethania, Zizi Possi, and Elba Ramalho, and thanks to a handful of late 90s solo albums, he's become one of Brazil's most popular artists in his own right. Success has eluded him outside of his homeland, but Putumayo has just released a compilation of his works in this country and is giving him the big push. Like his more subtle and soulful contemporary Lenine, Cesar sinks his hooks into grooves based on reggae, forro, funk, disco, and bossa nova, but everything is polished to an impeccable sheen. Probably too tame for fans of, say, Tom Ze, but it should certainly appeal to fans of Gilberto Gil's recent work.

:00 PM, Museum of Contemporary Art ($10)

Boubacar Traore With Eddie C. Campbell & Willie "Big Eyes" Smith

West-side blues veteran Eddie C. Campbell has played with Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon, and Koko Taylor, among others, but since the late 70s he's been leading his own bands in pursuit of his own idiosyncratic brand of blues. His latest album, Hopes & Dreams (Rooster Blues), is a charming, rambling collection that ranges from trad back-porch harp-and-guitar conversation to fiery Freddie King-style guitar wangin' to out-and-out funk. He's paired here with longtime Muddy Waters drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. After a duo set, they'll join Malian guitarist and singer Boubacar Traore (see September 22 entry) for a first-ever collaboration.

9:00 PM, HotHouse ($10; 21 and over)

Myumi Project

The Miyumi Project, led by bassist Tatsu Aoki, takes a refreshingly spare approach to ethnic fusion. On the group's eponymously titled debut, issued jointly by Southport and Asian Improv Records, Aoki ovesees a coherent combination of noisy jazz improvisation, Asian percussion, and simple hypnotic melodies. Patti Adachi (on a huge Japanese taiko drum), Paul Kim (on the Korean buk), and Hide Yoshihashi (on shime, a smaller, high-pitched taiko) pound out primal, floor-rumbling grooves, which are intersected by Mwata Bowden's brash, sinewy baritone sax, Aoki's alternately bluesy and pointillistic bass patterns, and, on two tracks, Robbie Hunsinger's pinched double-reed playing. The fixed rhythms and limited timbres of the percussion instruments can make the music tedious at times, but more often it's entrancing.

Steve Coleman & the Mystic Rhythm Society

See September 21 entry.

10:00 PM, Double Door ($10; 21 and over)

Isotope 217

Isotope 217 worked out their earliest material in low-key jam sessions at the Rainbo and the Chopin Theatre, where post-Miles Davis fusion, campy electro beats, open-ended funk, and jazz voicings mingled but rarely coalesced. On their debut recording, The Unstable Molecule, and its follow-up, Utonian Automatic (both on Thrill Jockey), however, these elements fell into place with an appealing precision. On their latest release, Who Stole the I Walkman?, they've sought to capture some of the looseness and improvisation that still marks its live performances. They succeed, but it doesn't always make for the most captivating listening: the approach works well on "Meta Bass," where Matt Lux's looping bass supports a shifting array of elusive guitar melodies and irregular electronic beats, the next track, "Moonlex," lapses into shapeless noodling. To their credit, these guys have a sense of humor and the ability to put it across: the cover photo of guitarist Jeff Parker biting a Walkman, is a perverse nod to the cover of the first album by seminal Louisville punk band Squirrel Bait, and the track titled "<<" features some tuff beatboxing and tongue-in-cheek MCing by Eternals front man Damon Locks.

Lenine

See Septmeber 22 entry.

Sunday, September 24

10:00 AM, University of Chicago Midway Plaisance

Eschikagou Pow Wow

See Septmeber 23 entry.

2:00 PM, Borders Books and Music

Omar Faruk Tekbilek & His Ensemble

Omar Faruk Tekbilek was born and raised in Turkey, but he moved to the U.S. in 1976, and I'm guessing it's here that he began thinking of his approach to music as "cosmic." Impressively fluent on instruments like the ney (bamboo flute), the zurna (a double-reeded wind), and the baglama (long-necked lute), among others, he favors a slightly New Agey style that pads the edges of traditional Middle Eastern sounds with layers of bland atmospheric fluff.

2:00 PM, Summerdance

Shirim

Shirim is to Naftule's Dream (see September 25 entry) as Clark Kent is to Superman: it's the same guys playing a more conservative strain of klezmer. Clarinetist Glenn Dickson and trombonist David Harris in particular are crack soloists, conveying every mood from bathos to ecstasy with nonchalant fluency, and the band's relatively purist MO doesn't prevent them from taking chances.

3:00 PM, 57th Street Book Fair

Music From China

See Septmeber 23 entry

3:00 PM, Museum of Contemporary Art, on the steps

Zlatne Uste

See September 23 entry.

3:00 PM, Chicago Cultural Center

Drepung Gomang Monks

See September 23 entry.

7:00 PM, HotHouse ($10; 21 and over)

Omar Faruk Tekbilek & His Ensemble

See above.

Chico Cesar

See September 23 entry.

7:30 PM, Old Town School ($10)

Wimme

Finland's Wimme Saari is a practitioner of yoik, an arresting archaic unaccompanied singing style practiced by the Sami people of northern Scandanavia (also known as Laplanders). Yoik has several branches, but the one Wimme is associated with uses a pentatonic scale with no half tones. Yoiks traditionally evoke a specific person or animal, and the form bears a striking resemblance to Native American ritual singing. Saari learned the basics by listening to recordings he dusted off while working for the Finnish Broadcasting Company in 1986, and he's since made a point of updating the tradition, taking inspiration from machines as well as God's creatures. On the brand-new Cugu (released by the Minnesota-based Scandianvian specialty label Northside), Saari is joined by members of the Finnish electronic group RinneRadio, who cast his otherwordly vocals in modern ambient techno. On "Naggu" Saari's piercing, wordless wildness tumbles over an austere electronic throb, while on "Texas" he takes a stab at cowboy singing over an awkward electro two-step. Not particularly enjoyable, but compellingly weird.

Hedningarna

Scandiavian folk revisionists Hedningarna traveled to Karelia--a desolate Russian republic that since the 16th century has at various times been claimed by Sweden and Finland--to learn the forgotten runo-songs, or poem-songs, that filled last year's Karelia Visa (Northside). Some of these date back as far as the seventh century, but the band performs them as rock-tinged folk fusion, blending traditional Swedish instrumentation and Finnish vocals with programming and samples in an earthy, elegant expression of primal emotions.

Monday, September 25

Noon, Daley Center Plaza

Zlatne Uste

See September 23 entry.

12:30 PM, Museum of Broadcast Communications

Sivan Perwer

See below.

5:30 PM, Harper Court

Tony Vacca, Massamba Diop & Gokh-bi System

Massachusetts-based percussionist Tony Vacca has played with Sting, Don Cherry, and a host of African musicians--including Senegalese "talking drum" master Massamba Diop, a ten-year veteran of Baaba Maal's excellent group Daande Lenol and the main reason to go see this group. On their 1998 album Rhythm Griots (World Rhythms) the pair are joined by Gokh-bi System, a group of Senegalese poets and rappers that here attempt to connect traditional African grooves to American hip-hop. Unforunately, their delivery too often sounds comparatively limp. The group will be rounded out by electric bassist Joe Sallins.

6:30 PM, Chicago Cultural Center

Hamza El Din

For much of his 40-year career oud virtuoso Hamza El Din has lamented the fate of Nubian culture, a unique and ancient confluence of African, Arabic, and Egyptian traditions that was irrevocably disrupted by the construction of Lake Nasser, the world's largest manmade lake, in the 60s. He began playing music while studying electrical engineering at the University of Cairo, and it was in one of his classes there that he first learned about Aswan High Dam project and how it would eventually destroy the village he grew up in. After completing his engineering studies he worked for the Egyptian railroad, but in the 60s he moved to Rome to study music, and there he met an American with ties to the folk label Vanguard Records, which ended up releasing his first two recordings. Early on his compositions blended Nubian ritual percussion with assorted strains of Middle Eastern music, but in 40 years of living abroad (often in northern California; he now resides in Oakland) he's opened his ears to other sounds as well. On his latest album, A Wish (Sounds True), whose title track imagines a new Nubian civilization emerging from Lake Nasser, he's joined on one track by Japanese singer Shizuru Ohtaka and on another by Kronos Quartet cellist Joan Jeanrenaud, but here, as on most of his recordings, he'll perform solo.

Omar Faruk Tekbilek & His Ensemble

See September 24 entry.

:00 PM, HotHouse ($10; 21 and over)

Wimme

See Septmeber 24 entry.

Sivan Perwer

Sivan Perwer is considered by fans and musicologists alike to be the greatest living Kurdish singer. Born and raised in Turkey, where the government did everything in its power to suppress Kurdish culture, he fled to Germany in 1976 and these days splits time between Sweden and England. In one of the first songs he recorded after leaving, he defiantly sang, "I am a young honored Kurd / I am ready with the bombs and the rifle," but most of his material is less directly political: he works within the dengbej tradition, in which bards would travel from village to village singing original songs about ancient tales of romance, war, and religion. Still, a certain profound sadness shades his powerful yet tremulous voice. For this rare performance Perwer will accompany himself on the tenbur, a twangy, pinched-sounding lute, joined by a violinist, a flutist, a percussionist, and players of the zurna and duduk (both double-reeded winds) and kanun (a type of zither).

9:30 PM, Empty Bottle ($10; 21 and over)

Naftule's Dream

Naftule's Dream, whose name is a nod to legendary klezmer clarinetist Naftule Brandwein, is a trailblazer on New York's trendy nouveau klezmer scene. There's no doubt that the players have mastered the traditional form-as they demonstrate in the band Shirim (see September 24 entry)-but here they're driven by an adventurous jazz improv aesthetic. Trombonist David Harris and clarinetist Glenn Dickson solo more boldly than in Shirim, incorporating dissonance, extended technique, and harmonic acrobatics, and electric guitarist Pete Fitzpatrick pushes the music with an intensity derived from rock 'n' roll.

Hedningarna

See Septmeber 24 entry.

Tuesday, September 26

Noon, Daley Center Plaza

Lo' Jo

See September 27 entry.

Noon, Borders Books and Music

Alim Qasimov

See below.

12:30 PM, Museum of Broadcast Communications

Hamza El Din

See September 25 entry

Hassan Hakmoun

See below.

5:30 PM, Harper Court

Lo' Jo

See September 27 entry.

6:30 PM, Chicago Culutral Center

Debojyoti Bose

Sarod player Debojyoti Bose will give a concert of instrumental Hindustani music, the emotionally austere classical style of northern India, accompanied by Samar Saha on tabla and Sangeeta Kumar on tanpura.

Sivan Perwer

See September 25 entry.

7:00 PM, Museum of Contemporary Art ($10)

Hamza El Din

See September 25 entry.

Alim Qasimov

In 1999, Azerbaijani singer Alim Qasimov won the IMC-UNESCO Music Prize, awarded in previous years to such international luminaries as Dimitry Shostakovich, Olivier Messiaen, Daniel Barenboim, Ravi Shankar, and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. The music Qasimov specializes in, the Azerbaijani classical form known as mugham, generally involves three instruments--a frame drum called the daf, a long-necked lute called the tar, and the spike fiddle called the kamancheh--and the lyrics are taken from the work of classic Azerbaijani poets. Like related forms of Arabic and Indian classical music, a mugham is an extended cycle, or suite, and improvisation is a crucial component. It's markedly different from qawwali, the Sufi devotional music Ali Khan brought to the global audience, but Qasimov sings with an otherworldy expressiveness similar to Ali Khan's, ascending to an eerily feminine upper register in the climax of a piece. On Qasimov's latest recording Love's Deep Ocean (Network) he takes advantage of his growing acclaim to stretch the format a bit, expanding his ensemble to include his daughter, singer Ferghana Qasimov; Shirzad Fataliev, who plays the balaban, a double reed related to the Armenian duduk; and a pair of percussionists on the metal-bodied nagara drums. He also performs some pieces from the Azerbaijani ashiq (bardic) tradition and some Indian ghazals. His performances, which are his first in Chicago, promise to the be the greatest revelation of this year's fest.

:00 PM, HotHouse ($10; 21 and over)

Hassan Hakmoun With Adam Rudolph & Hamid Drake

In 1987 Moroccan Gnawa musician Hassan Hakmoun came to New York, and, impressed by the swirl of international cultures, he decided to stay. Since then he's hybridized the soulful, trance-inducing music of the Gnawa in both his own work and in collaboration with everyone from jazz legend Don Cherry to DJ and producer Karsh Kale (see September 29 entry), pitting his deep, twangy sintir and rich, raspy voice against everything from screaming electric guitar to Teutonic electronic beats. He'll be joined here by percussionists Adam Rudolph (see September 27 entry) and Hamid Drake.

Tony Vacca, Massamba Diop & Gokh-bi System

See September 25 entry.

Wednesday, September 27

12:30 PM, Museum of Broadcast Communications

Alim Qasimov

See September 26 entry.

6:00 PM, Borders Books & Music

Lila Downs

See September 28 entry.

6:30 PM, Chicago Cultural Center

Ajoy Chakrabarty

Considered one of the greatest living practitioners of Hindustani vocal music-the austere classical music of northern India--Ajoy Chakrabarty is also adept with light classical forms like ghazal and thumri, and in 1990 he was recognized as India's best male playback singer--the musicians who give voice to the pretty faces in Bollywood musicals. For this recital he'll stick to the serious stuff, accompanied by Samar Saha on tabla, Sangeeta Kumar on tanpura, and Jyoti Goho on harmonium.

Alim Qasimov

See Sepmteber 26 entry.

TK PM, HotHouse ($10; 21 and over)

Adam Rudolph's Moving Pictures

Early in his career, Chicago-born percussionist Adam Rudolph carved his niche in the jazz scene by applying its improvisational ethic to musical structures from around the globe. He's collaborated with fellow open-minded jazzers like Don Cherry and Herbie Hancock, but his approach has reached its apogee in his own group, Moving Pictures. Chicago percussionist Hamid Drake, an expert in world rhythms in his own right, contributes frame drums and tabla here and there, but mostly sticks to forceful kit drumming, underscoring the exotic rhythms Rudolph crafts on percussion from India, Morocco, and West Africa while Ralph Jones adds down hypnotic circular melodies. Live the trio is joined by Butoh dancer Oguri.

Lo' Jo

This band from Angers blends chanson with the music of France's sizeable African immigrant population-from Algerian rai to Senegalese talking drums--on its recent Boheme de cristal (Emma Productions/Universal), which was recorded in Mali. The group pulls off these juxtapositions with a certain amount of panache, but even the contributions of a genuine brass band from Benin can't counteract the cloying cabaret feel of the Gainsbourgian vocals or somber accordion washes.

7:30 PM, Chopin Theatre ($7 for general public, $5 for students and senior citizens)

Soundscapes With Quraysh Ali Lansana

The rhythmically oriented Soundscapes features local, forward looking jazz percussionist Hamid Drake, flutist Niki Mitchell, bassist Josh Abrams, and vocalist Glenda Baker; they'll be joined here by acclaimed spoken-word artist Quraysh Ali Lansana who will perform poems by 13th-century Sufi mystic Rumi.

Tony Vacca, Massamba Diop & Gokh-bi System

See September 25 entry. The group will be joined by local rapper Mr. Greenweedz, a member of All Natural's Family Tree posse.

:30 PM, Old Town School ($3 suggested donation)

Mono Blanco

This charming folk group from Veracruz, Mexico practices the jaunty style known as son jarocho, which is characterized by a mix of acoustic guitars, harp, and percussion--"La Bamba" grew out of this tradition. The piquant arpeggios played on the harp add an element of refined sweetness to the appealing raucousness of the passionately strummed guitars and soulful group vocals. In Veracruz the music is often performed at fandangos--hootenannies with lots of dancing--and the group's prior gigs at the Old Town School have inspired an approximation of that atmosphere.

Thursday, September 28

12:30 PM, Museum of Broadcast Communications

Savina Yannatou & Primavera en Salonico

See below.

3:00 PM, Borders Books & Music

Mary Jane Lamond

See below.

6:30 PM, Chicago Cultural Center

Mary Jane Lamond

Mary Jane Lamond--who got an unexpected shot of fame when she sang on "Sleepy Maggie," the fluke hit by Nova Scotian fiddler Ashley MacIsaac in 1996--digs deep into the Gaelic song tradition for material but recasts the old tunes as thoroughly contemporary ethereal pop. Most often she augments her pretty voice with electronics, spare guitar filigree, and spare percussion, but she's occasionally thrown in everything from the Greek bouzouki to Indian tablas. For this performance she'll be joined by Chicagoan Liz Carroll, one of the world's finest Irish fiddlers. I don't usually have much stomach for traditional Irish music, but Carroll's playing on her recent Lost in the Loop (Green Linnet) is so spirited, fluid, and gracefully melodic that it made me a believer.

:00 PM, HotHouse ($10; 21 and over)

Lila Downs

Born in Oaxaca to a Mixtec mother and an Anglo-American father, Lila Downs was raised in both Mexico and the U.S., and not surprisingly she grew up obsessed with cultural identity. After studying music and anthropology at the University of Minnesota, she went from bleaching her hair blond to wearing traditional Mixtec garb--she now resembles Frida Kahlo, with her jet black braids and colorful embroidered blouses--and began performing her beguiling blend of traditional Mexican music and north American jazz and pop. So thoroughly does she inhabit whatever form she's singing at the moment-be it a bolero, a smoky ballad, or a Mixtec folk song--that it's tough to distinguish between the traditional material and her originals on her new album, Tree of Life (Narada World). In some ways her work parallels that of Peruvian singer and musicologist Susana Baca (see October 1 entry), and though her voice isn't as strong as Baca's, she can do more with it.

Savina Yannatou & Primavera en Salonico

Many singers from the strife-torn Mediterranean cling to a national identity, but the remarkable vocalist Savina Yannatou interprets music from all over the region as authentically as possible on her beautiful U.S. debut, Mediterranea (Sounds True). She collects folk songs from 14 different cultures in Lebanon, Spain, Tunisia, Corsica, Israel, and Italy as well as her native Greece, and even went so far as to get immigrants living in Athens to help her learn the proper dialects to sing them in. Few listeners will actually be able to appreciate the full scope of this attention to detail, but anyone can enjoy Yannatou's incredible voice, which slides from ethereal wispiness to undulating throatiness with rare agility.

9:30 PM, the Hideout ($10; 21 and over)

Matapat

This trio takes loving liberties with the traditional music of French-speaking Quebec. The sound is somewhere between Celtic and Cajun, and though it won't be everyone's cup of tea (it's not mine), you've got to give it up for accordion player Benoit Bourque, who can also play the hell out of the spoons and whose nimble dancing reportedly adds greatly to the live show.

Mono Blanco

See Septmber 27 entry.

Friday, September 29

Noon, Borders Books and Music

Savina Yannatou & Primavera en Salonico

See September 28 entry.

12:30 PM, Museum of Broadcast Communications

Lila Downs

See September 28 entry.

Sussan Deyhim

See September 30 entry.

7:30 PM, Old Town School ($10)

Mary Jane Lamond

See September 28 entry.

Lila Downs

See September 28 entry.

:00 PM, Field Museum

Casolando

This local quartet, fronted by Colombian singer and guitarist Carlos Ortega, once specialized in a glitzy strain of flamenco-flavored Latin rock; on its sole album, 1997's Iliana (482 Music), the group sounds like Chicago's answer to the Gypsy Kings. Things have changed, although not necessarily for the better: the last Casolando performance I caught was filled with extended jamming informed as much by the Grateful Dead as by Santana.

Savina Yannatou & Primavera en Salonico

See September 28 entry.

9:30 PM, HotHouse ($10; 21 and over)

Nass Marrakech

The four core members of Nass Marrakech--Abdeljalil Kodssi, Moulay M'Hamed Ennaj, Abdelkebir Bensaloum, and Mohamed Bechar--either belong to Gnawa families or have close ties to them, and Gnawa music, characterized by the twangy three-stringed bass lute called the sintir, the clattering metal castanets called karkabas, and call-and-response vocals, dominates the group's recent Sabil 'a 'Salaam (Alula). Flourishes from around the world, including Hiroshi Kobayashi's haunting shakuhachi and Jordi Rallo's tablas and cajon (a Peruvian box drum), are remarkably well integrated into the mesmerizing grooves, but the effect is to illustrate the cross-cultural commonalities rather than to emphasize eclecticism for its own sake.

Trevor Watts Moire Music Group

It might seem improbable that a leading light of the British free jazz scene could found his niche jamming over tight African funk grooves. Trevor Watts, an explosive, adventurous alto and soprano saxophonist, was a longtime partner of great percussionist John Stevens in the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, which they co-founded. But back in the 70s he also worked with South African drummer Louis Moholo, who as a member of the legendary Blue Notes Moholo had no problem adapting his freer impulses to the infectious groove of South African township jive, and that experience may have rubbed off on Watts, who founded the Moire Music Group in 1990 as the Moire Music Drum Orchestra. In the early versions of the group he improvised over fierce polyrhythms laid down by a phalanx of Ghanaian percussionists, a kit drummer, and an electric bassist; for these shows he'll be joined by slightly fusiony bassist Colin McKenzie, drummer Marc Parnell, Ghanaian percussionist Paapa Mensah, and, in a new twist, Colombian percussionist Roberto Pla Garcia.

9:30 PM, the Hideout ($10; 21 and over)

Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire

On last year's Oh! The Grandeur (Rykodisc), the Bowl of Fire's trademark blend of hot jazz and prewar American pop was starting to show signs of strain. Bird's theatrical crooning sounded painfully self-conscious, and often his voice failed to meet the demands he was putting on it. Still, his fiddling remains fantastic, and though I haven't heard what the Bowl of Fire's been up to lately, I'm digging the off-kilter grooves on the new album by Kevin O'Donnell's Quality Six--the ensemble led by Bowl of Fire's drummer and featuring all of its members.

Guillermo Anderson & Ceibana

Honduran singer-songwriter Guillermo Anderson, who hosts a Sesame Street-style children's show in his native country, blends bouncy pop-rock melodies with a Afro-Caribbean rhythms, from lilting reggae to the merengue-like shuffle of the Garifuna people. It's a spirited mix, but to me he sounds like a sort of Latino Jimmy Buffett.

10 PM, Double Door ($10; 21 and over)

Comifo

The French group Comifo is fronted by Algerian native Frederic Tari and includes a Tunisian guitarist, percussionists from Brazil and Senegal, and a bassist from Cameroon; its music reflects its diverse geographical origins, and any French flavor is negligible.

Los de Abajo

The Mexico City combo Los de Abajo swiped their name from a novel about the Mexican revolution, and "La ironia se abaco" ("The Irony Is Over") is dedicated to the Zapatista rebels in Chiapas, but even if you don't speak Spanish, you can't miss the political indignation on their eponymously titled Luaka Bop debut. Amped-up salsa variations are intercut with blasts of ska, merengue, and cumbia in what seems more an expression of rapidly flowing creativity than a display of showy eclecticism. The seven-member band accents the infectious polyrhythms with punchy sax riffs, woozy accordion melodies, sweet flute toots, and searing guitar solos. The only weak point is the singing--Liber Teran can't always keep up with the band on the trickier tunes--but I doubt it'll be a problem live.

10 PM, Metro ($10; 21 and over for Smart Bar performances, 18 and over for all others)

T.S. Soundz (Smart Bar)

Over the past decade T.S. Soundz have slowly built an international reputation for euphoric, house-driven remixes of Indian filmi music, but earlier this year they released Typhoon Asha (Novo), their first album of original material. Compared with the ambitiously inclusive fusion of, say, Talvin Singh, the duo's debut sounds rather primitive-vaguely ethnic techno grooves are layered with Indian vocal snippets and the occasional Punjabi percussion loop. Here they'll be doing TK.

U-Cef

Hip-hop has certainly caught on overseas, but more often than not when it's produced there it differs very little from the American model, which is mildly tweaked to accomodate language differences. Halalium (Apartment 22), the debut album from Moroccan musician and producer U-Cef (aka Youssef Adel), is an exception to the rule. U-Cef understands the music well enough to make it his own, employing hip-hop's cut-and-paste approach to an impressive mix of live instrumentation, sampling, and beat programming. Recorded over two years in London--where U-Cef has lived since 1994--and in various cities in Morocco, the album is sonically dense and bristles with energy. On "Gazel Fatima" a Moroccan violinist plays a haunting popular melody over a shifting morass of drones, guitar textures, shuffling drum 'n' bass, and a bass line thicker than a football player's neck; on the ominously slow "Hijra" the bass line is played on a sintir, a twangy three-stringed lute used in Gnawa music. New elements, including flamenco, dub, and house are perpetually folded in. It's one of the most ambitious and best executed fusions of ethnic traditionalism and urban futurism I've ever heard. Both of his performances here (he's also at the MCA on September 30) will feature a rapper and a percussionist, but this one will emphasize club sounds.

Badawi (Smart Bar)

As half of the New York illbient outfit Sub Dub, Raz Mesinai swirled big reggae beats and floor-rumbling bass lines into a rhythmically disorienting funnel cloud. But as Badawi, on last year's The Heretic of Ether (Asphodel), the Israeli-born percussionist revealed that the music closest to his heart comes from the desert, not the dance floor. Flanked by a cellist and a violinist, he assembled a collection of lulling Bedouin drones, frame drum breakdowns, and stately, quasi-classical Arabic themes. He also proved that he's far more than a DJ and studio whiz, writing, arranging, and performing on a wide variety of percussion instruments and keyboards. He'll be DJing here.

Karsh Kale With Sussan Deyhim

Like Badawi and U-Cef, Karsh Kale is more than just a DJ and producer. He's also an accomplished percussionist who's performed with artists as diverse as Hassan Hakmoun, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Arto Lindsay, Talvin Singh, and most recently Bill Laswell-he appears on the new electronic-tweaked Tabla Beat Science (Palm Pictures). His original work integrates the various interests he's explored with these more famous folks: on his EP Classical Science Fiction From India (Future Proof), he layers samples of Indian classical music with free-form tabla jams, ambient synth washes, ethereal Asian vocals, and punishing drum 'n' bass in dramatic arrangements that really do deserve to be called compositions. His set here will feature both his DJ skills and live electric tabla sections as well as the singing of the imaginative Sussan Deyhim (see September 30 entry).

DJ Sultan 32 (Smart Bar)

A member of Karsh Kale's clique.

Amon Tobin

It was pretty easy to trace the musical roots of Brazilian-born, London-based producer Amon Tobin on his 1997 debut, Bricolage (Ninja Tune)--a frenetic mix of drum 'n' bass, jazz samples, and batacuda drumming assembled with the airiness of a samba. But the more recent Supermodified, a remarkably dense, rapidly shifting sampladelic tour-de-force, isn't quite so easy to dissect. He seems to be distancing himself not just from his birthplace but also to any idenifiable dance-music subgenre. The constantly morphing beats, elusive textures, sax licks, guitar-driven chord progressions, chopped up strings and piano riffs, brass blasts, and splatters of pure noise never settle into predictable patterns, but they do maintain a strangely logical flow.

Saturday, September 30

10:30 AM, Field Museum (free with museum admission)

Chicago Samba

Close your eyes when Chicago Samba (formerly known as Chicago Samba School) plays highly percussive Carnival music and you may find yourself transported to sunny Rio. But when the group attempts more lyrical styles like bossa nova or forro, it'll take you no further than the lounge of the O'Hare Hilton.

Casolando

See September 29 entry.

Wofa

The ten-member percussion-and-dance performance troupe Wofa (the name means "let's go" or "come together") was assembled seven years ago by Frenchman Francois Kokelaere from members of Guinea's Soso tribe, and if the reviews I've read are right, it puts on a seamless, rigorously choreographed display of sound and motion. On Guinee: Percussions & Chants de la Basse-Cote (Buda), the group employs quite an array of fascinating percussion instruments, from the wassakhoumba (castanets made from discs cut out of a calabash and assembled on a curved stick) to the kirin-yi (a slit wooden drum played with sticks), and even without the female dancers, the complex web of polyrhythms is truly something to behold.

2:00 PM, Garfield Park Conservatory

Sikim

Sikim is a Korean ensemble assembled demonstrate sinawi--a strain of shamanist music from the southern provinces of Korea--at this festival. In Sinawi a number of musicians improvise over a set of fixed rhythmic patterns, and the unusual sounds produced by instruments like the piri (an oboe), the taegum (a flute), the haegum (a two-string fiddle), the ajaeng (a bowed zither), the kayagun (a 12-string zither), the chin (a gong), and the changgo (an hourglass drum) overlap and intertwine in sometimes spooky, sometimes exhilarating ways. The music, which starts out calm and builds in intensity, can be discordant, chaotic, and serene, sometimes all at once; it's possible to draw parallels between it and high-level free jazz. Sinawi recordings are hard to come by and live performances are even more rare.

7:30 PM, Old Town School ($10)

Guillermo Anderson & Ceibana

See Septmeber 29 entry.

Nass Marrakech

See September 29 entry.

:00 PM, Museum of Contemporary Art ($10)

Sussan Deyhim

Although vocalist Sussan Deyhim was born and raised in Iran, she's known best for her collaborations with keyboardist Richard Horowitz, which reimagine Moroccan music as computer-tweaked textural experiments. Her fluttery voice, which at times reminds me of the Cocteau Twins' Liz Fraser, has also turned up in a number of high profile but vaguely New Agey projects, from Peter Gabriel's sound track to The Last Temptation of Christ to Loop Guru's Duniya: The Intrinsic Passion of Mysterious Joy to A Gift of Love, an album of celebrities reading Rumi to musical accompaniment organized by Deepak Chopra. On her new solo disc, Madman of God (Crammed Discs), she addresses her roots more directly, interpreting famous Persian melodies originally composed around the writing of Sufi poets between the 11th and 19th centuries. The music is swaddled in studio effects, from rippling reverb to excessive overdubbing, but the synthetic haze can't quite obscure the gorgeous backing Deyhim gets from a support cast that includes jazz bassist Reggie Workman, frame drum specialist Glen Velez, and Asian Underground upstarts Raz Mesinai (aka Badawi; see September 29 entry) and Karsh Kale. The sounds they contribute extend well past the Middle East--to India and outer space. Here she fronts a quartet that includes Karsh Kale (see September 29 entry) and Raz Mesinai(aka Badawi; see September 29 entry).

U-Cef

See September 29 entry.

10 PM, HotHouse ($10; 21 and over)

Wofa

See above.

Comifo

See September 29 entry.

10 PM, Empty Bottle ($10; 21 and over)

Trevor Watts Moire Music Group

See September 29 entry.

Akwaaba Sound System

WNUR DJ Joe Germuska will spin world music.

10 PM, Double Door ($10; 21 and over)

Los de Abajo

See September 29 entry.

Mino Cinelu

Percussionist Mino Cinelu, who was born in France to a Martinican father, has worked with Miles Davis, Sting, Cassandra Wilson, Lou Reed, Dizzy Gillespie, Tori Amos, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, and Gong, to name a few, and on own debut album, Mino Cinelu (Blue Thumb), he brings his diverse experience to bear on his roots, undergirds shimmery, off-kilter hooks with compact Caribbean-flavored grooves. On the album he sings lead and backing vocals and played most of the instruments, including guitars, bandoneon, and flute in addition to drums and percussion; here he'll get some help from guitarist Mitch Stein, bassist Tracy Wormworth, and DJ Nikodemus.

Sunday, October 1

4:00 PM, Old Town School ($10)

Aashish Khan & Swapan Chaudhuri

Sarod player Aashish Khan, son of the legendary Ali Akbar Khan, has collaborated with everyone from George Harrison (on his infamous Wonder Wall album) to Alice Coltrane to Charles Lloyd, but he's also well known in his own right as a top notch practitioner of Hindustani classical music. Since moving to the Chicago area in 1998 to teach music, he's rarely performed here. For this show he'll be joined by tabla master Swapan Chaudhuri, acclaimed recently for his participation in the Persian-Indian group Ghazal. The performance will be preceded by a free workshop in carnatic dance, starting at noon, and a free introductory lecture about northern Indian classical music, starting at 2:30 PM.

2:00 PM, Garfield Park Conservatory

Guillermo Anderson & Ceibana

See Septmeber 29 entry.

3:00 PM, Chicago Cultural Center

Korean Sinawi Ensemble

See September 30 entry.

3:00 PM, DuSable Museum of African American History

Wofa

See September 30 entry.

7:30 PM, Chicago Symphony Center ($10-$20)

Chava Alberstein

Israel's most popular singer, Chava Alberstein, is undeniably an international artist: her earliest inspiration was Pete Seeger, whom she saw when she was 12. And though she usually sings in Hebrew, backed by a slick Arabic-tinged blend of rock and pop, in its dark sophistication her voice bears some resemblance to Edith Piaf's. Yet over the course of three decades and more than 50 albums, she's frequently made a point of embracing Yiddish culture, which limits her audience even in Israel. Her latest release is Yiddish Songs (Hemisphere), a survey of traditional tunes set to bright orchestral arrangements with klezmerish instrumental flourishes, and in 1998 she teamed up with New York's Klezmatics on The Well (Xenophile), which set 20th century Yiddish poetry to the band's revisionist mix of klezmer, jazz, and funk. In 1986 Alberstein began writing her own music, and stirred up a firestorm a few years later with "Chad Gadya" (featured on Crazy Flower: A Collection, on Shanachie), a traditional Passover song revamped to criticize Israel's treatment of the Palestinians; the song often concludes her set to this day.

Susana Baca

For the last decade Susana Baca has made it her mission to conserve Afro-Peruvian music and culture, founding (with her Bolivian husband, Ricardo Pereira) the Instituto Negrocontinuo and traveling all over rural Peru to collect the pieces of a dying oral tradition from a marginalized population. But in this country, Baca is best known for her voice, and with good reason: in a performance this summer at HotHouse, sang so expressively that my memory has all but translated the songs into English. Despite her academic motives, her music eludes tidy categorizations: she may be performing traditional Afro-Peruvian songs, but her gorgeous interpretations are equally informed by pop, soul, and salsa, and live her improvisational abilities match any jazz musician's.

:30 PM, HotHouse

Bobby Conn

Though he did cover Caetano Veloso's "Maria B" on last year's Llovessonngs EP (Thrill Jockey), avant rocker Bobby Conn hasn't quite broken into the world-music market yet. But he's an appealingly perverse, go-for-broke entertainer--part glam rocker, part carny barker, part gospel singer, part performance artist, part Vegas crooner-and in a way his open-mindedness is in perfect keeping with the spirit of the World Music Festival. He's been working on a new album for nearly a year, but I'd be foolish to try to predict what he'll do here.

Mino Cinelu

See September 30 entry.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photos/Craig & Judith Kolb/Shonna Valeska/Ari Willey/Kathy Chapman/Klaus Weddig/Sybille Castelain/Barron Claiborne.

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