The World Music Festival: Chicago 2009 comes to Millennium Park for six free concerts this year as it celebrates the best of international music. One of the highlights will be the Chicago premiere of the Mehter Ottoman Turkish Military Band in Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion on September 21 at 6:30 p.m. Bringing 35 performers to the stage, the night will showcase Turkish folk music with heroic themes from the Ottoman frontiers.
New this year, the World Music Festival will come to Millennium Park during the day with five concerts throughout the week as part of the On Stage at Noon series. All week long, visitors can spend their lunch break in the Park, listening to the sounds of music from diverse cultures, including the Steve Gibons Gypsy Rhythm Project (September 20); Yves Francois and Rocambu Jazz (September 21); Guitarra Azul (September 22); Chicago Korean Music Ensemble (September 23) and Tambours Sans Frontieres (September 24).
The World Music Festival has attracted more than 500,000 people from Chicago and beyond since its inception in 1999. Organized by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Festival, which showcases both traditional and contemporary music, has presented more than 500 artists and ensembles from more than 75 countries in its 11-year run.
This year’s line-up in Millennium Park includes:
Sunday, September 20; 12 Noon
Steve Gibons Gypsy Rhythm Project
Steve Gibons, a Chicago jazz and ethno violinist, and Romanian cimbalom (dulcimer) maestro Nicolae Feraru front the Gypsy Rhythm Project. The group produces a compelling concoction of music from Romania, the Balkans and the oriental Gypsy world.
Monday, September 21; 12 Noon
Yves Francois and Rocambu Jazz
Jazz trumpeter Yves Francois has cut a career playing traditional based jazzy blues as well as the varied rhythms of all African based musics. Rocambu Jazz was formed in 2002 as a project to perform the varied rhythms of African based musics with a jazz horn section replacing the vocalist as the front line of the band. www.rocambujazz.com; www.myspace.com/yvesfrancoisetrocambujazz
Monday, September 21; 6:30 PM
Mehter Ottoman Turkish Military Band
Ottoman military bands are thought to be the oldest variety of military marching band in the world. The standard instruments employed by a mehterân are the kös (a large bass drum resembling the timpani), the nakare (a small kettledrum), the davul (a frame drum), the zil (cymbals), the kaba zurna (a bass variety of the zurna), the boru (a kind of trumpet), and the cevgen (a kind of stick bearing small concealed bells). The sound of the Ottoman military band is characterized by an often shrill sound combining bass drums, horns (boru), bells, the triangle and cymbals (zil), among others. Most of the music played by mehterân is Turkish Folk Music with heroic themes from the Ottoman frontiers. Tonight’s Chicago debut concert features 35 performers in the ensemble. This concert is supported by the Turkish Consulate of Chicago and Turkish Airline. www.ittmt.org/mehter_eng.htm;
Tuesday, September 22; 12 Noon
Local flamenco group, Guitarra Azul’s music runs the gamut from familiar to hauntingly new and original. The musical ensemble and dancers are as committed to the art of flamenco as they are to making sure you have a fantastic time listening and watching the passionate, fiery, hypnotically blend of music and dance. www.guitarraazul.com; http://www.myspace.com/guitarraazulmariposa
Wednesday, September 23; 12 Noon
Chicago Korean Music Ensemble
Chicago-based Korean Chamber Music Orchestra consisting of professional performers of daegeum (large bamboo flute), sogeum (small bamboo flute), danso (notched vertical flute), geomungo (6-stringed zither), haegeum (2-stringed fiddle), gayageum (12-stringed zither), guitar, and synthesizer. http://www.koreanflute.com/Eng/CKME.html
Thursday, September 24; 12 Noon
Tambours Sans Frontieres
Tambours Sans Frontieres meaning "drums without borders" plays traditional Congolese rhythms which are enriched by West African influences. They are currently based in Chicago. www.myspace.com/tambourssansfrontieres
Millennium Park, managed and programmed by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, is an award-winning center for art, music, architecture and landscape design. The result of a unique partnership between the City of Chicago and the philanthropic community, the 24.5-acre park features the work of world-renowned architects, planners, artists and designers.
Among Millennium Park’s prominent features are the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the most sophisticated outdoor concert venue of its kind in the United States; the interactive Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa; the contemporary Lurie Garden designed by the team of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel; and Anish Kapoor’s hugely popular Cloud Gate sculpture.
Since its opening in July 2004, Millennium Park has welcomed more than 16 million people, making it one of the most popular destinations in Chicago.
World Music Festival: Chicago 2009 is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and is made possible with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts; the Chicago Office of Tourism; and United, the Official Airline of the World Music Festival. The performance of the Mehter Turkish Military Band is made possible by the Turkish Consulate of Chicago and Turkish Airlines.