Performances in 17 venues across the city include the all-night Ragamala at the Chicago Cultural Center, an “El Grito” celebration of Mexican Independence at Millennium Park, the Global Peace Picnic in Humboldt Park and World Music Festival meets the World Dumpling Fest at Navy Pier and much more
The world will come together from September 7 to 23 at 17 venues across the city for the 20th Annual World Music Festival Chicago. Celebrating diverse music from across the globe, this FREE festival is produced by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and is the largest festival of its kind in the United States. The full schedule can be found at worldmusicfestivalchicago.org
Opening the festival on Friday, September 7, is the all-night Ragamala: A Celebration of Indian Classical Music starting at 6 p.m. and continuing until the following morning at 8 a.m. A tradition in India, the all-night classical concerts are rarely held publicly in the United States. Visitors have the rare opportunity to hear the ragas (traditional scales or modes) as they were meant to be played during the early morning and late night hours, under the Tiffany stained glass dome of Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.). Presented in collaboration with Indian Classical Music Society of Chicago and People of Rhythm, the concert features a variety of musical groups and artists including: Anindo Chatterjee, Anubrata Chatterjee, Sara Ranganathan, Anandi Bhattacharya with Debashish Bhattacharya and Subhasis Bhattacharya, Debashish Bhattacharya with Swapan Chaudhuri and many more.
A special celebration for of the El Grito will take place in Millennium Park on Saturday, September 15 beginning at 3 p.m. Commemorating Mexico’s Independence Day, the concert presents four bands, all from Mexico but each with a very different sound. Headliner Mariachi Herencia de México is a Latin GRAMMY®-nominated ensemble of students from Chicago. Bringing a contemporary spin to traditional music, Chéjere combines “mexican son” with the rhythms and sounds of music genres from around the world. Performances also include Latin rock and singer-songwriter Ceci Bastidaand Mexican-Canadian, musician and singer Quique Escamilla who won the Juno Award for World Music Album of the Year at the Juno Awards of 2015 with his first full-length and self-produced album, 500 Years of Night.
On Sunday, September 16 in commemoration of the International Peace Day, the Global Peace Picnic at the Humboldt Park Boathouse (1301 N. Sacramento Ave.) from 2 to 6 p.m. is a day of family-friendly activities and performances by the miramba- group Rio Mira founded by artists from Ecuador and Colombia; GRAMMY®-nominated Innov Gnawaperforming Morocco’s traditional Gnawa music; and Combo Chimbita, a group of first-generation New York musicians performing innovative music based on their Colombian heritage.
The festival finale on Sunday, September 23 where World Music Festival meets the World Dumpling Fest at Navy Pier to deliver performances by a number of international bands starting at 1 until 7:30 p.m. as part of a special collaboration with Navy Pier, Chicago Cultural Alliance and DCASE. Band Highlights include Jupiter and Okwess led by Jupiter Bokondji, playing the Congolese rhythms, funk and rock referred to as “Bofenia Rock” with lyrics promoting positive social messages; Delgres from Guadeloupe, combining their native Caribbean rhythms with the delta blues for a deep roots sound of their own; and the Zhou Family Band from China, playing traditional wind and percussion music. The World Dumpling Festival at Polk Bros Park will feature dumplings of the world from 10 neighborhood ethnic restaurants, cultural artists and family activities. This event is free to the public, for complete details visit ChicagoCulturalAlliance.org/worlddumplingfest.
Visit worldmusicfestivalchicago.org for a full schedule.