One of the few exciting summer music festivals that A.) doesn't detract from the city's existing music scene by drawing acts away from the clubs, and B.) offers a unique experience and distinctive aesthetic that can't be had elsewhere, the Chicago World Music Festival starts on Sept. 21 and runs through Sept. 30.
The city's Department of Cultural Affairs, which lovingly curates the event, has announced that it will kick off with a three-day tribute to the arts and culture of India, and a handful of other acts have been leaked pending release of the full schedule.
Things start at 6 p.m. on Sept. 21 at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park with a free show by classical table virtuoso Zakir Hussain and special guest Niladri Kumar on sitar. Also on the bill: a program of Indian dance led by Mythili Prakash.
Among the other highlights on subsequent days:
- Khaƒ¯ra Arby (Sarahan desert rhythms from Mali)
- Mahala Rai Banda (high energy gypsy sounds from Romania)
- Razia Said (a blend of African music and contemporary R&B from Madagascar)
- Pansori Brecht (a Korean narrative musical inspired by the work of Bertolt Brecht)
- Rajeev Taranath & Nayan Ghosh (top Indian classical musicians)
- Oreka TX (Basque masters of the percussion txalaparta)
The festival takes place at several locales throughout the city and includes a combination of free and low-cost ticketed concerts, as well as film screenings. (Another offshoot event definitely worth noting: the World of Instruments Exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center from Sept. 27 to 30, presented in collaboration with one of the best instrument stores in town, Andy's Music at 2300 W. Belmont, and featuring a healthy sampling of owner Andy Cohn's astounding personal collection.)
More info can be found at www.WorldMusicFestivalChicago.org.