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Catalina Maria Johnson

Being a paleta vendor may seem like a sweet life, but we learned that selling Mexican popsicles is anything but a walk on the beach.
Vocalo’s Catalina Maria Johnson just got back from a trip into the interior of Portugal. She shares lesser-known gems of the Portuguese music scene with us on this installment of Global Notes.
Musical genres like Americana and Folk are thought to represent a romantic, conventional notion of rural American identity - though they are conceptualized and consumed in a very different way from genres that evoke very similar associations, like Country. But the terms come under question when we consider who is afforded the privilege of being considered an “Americana” artist, and the genre’s uncomfortable proximity to white identity and American nationalism. Can Chicanos, Mexicans and Latin Americans claim the genre, for example? What about Black Americans, immigrants or Native musicians? These are the questions Vocalo’s Catalina Maria Johnson considers on this week’s installment of Global Notes. We’ll recap the Americana Music Association Awards, and take a look at what a more inclusive definition of “Americana” could look like.
Musicians from around the world are coming to Chicago for a series of concerts and shows as part of the Chicago World Music Festival. The festival takes place from September 13-29 and our music contributor, Vocalo’s Catalina Maria Johnson, joins us to preview the festival and to talk about artists you don’t want to miss such as Jeremy Dutcher.
Celebrated Mexican accordion master Celso Piña died last Wednesday at 66. His skills with the instrument earned him the nickname “The Rebel of the Accordion” and he innovated the originally Colombian folk genre of cumbia by bringing in musical influences from other genres like ska, hip-hop, reggae and R&B. We’ll recap his legacy on this week’s installment of Global Notes with Catalina Maria Johnson, Worldview’s music contributor and the host of Beat Latino on Vocalo.
Last week, Worldview was on the road, broadcasting from locations around the Midwest and lower Ontario to explore how global issues like water insecurity and Indigenous rights play out in Chicago’s own backyard. Throughout this week, we’ll be playing you selections of conversations we had that we didn’t get a chance to air while we were away. We kicked off our trip in London, Ontario, where Sunfest, a world music festival started by a Guatemalan refugee, has become a landmark symbol of Canadian multiculturalism. While we were there, we met The Turbans, an international music collective integrating Romani, Klezmer and Balkan musical influences into their songs alongside healthy doses of jazz and South Asian instrumentation. They count members from Turkey, Bulgaria, Israel, Iran, Greece and England and have performed worldwide. Global Notes contributor and the host of Vocalo’s Beat Latino Catalina Maria Johnson was at Sunfest and talked to three of the group’s members about their work.
This year’s Sacred Music Festival in Fes, Morocco, focused on spiritual poetry made song, in tribute to the great Persian poet Omar al Khayyam.
Chile has a long-standing tradition of activist singer-songwriters who have led entire Latin American musical movements. This week’s Global Notes segment highlights a variety of Chilean artists, several aof whom head to Chicago this summer.