The 8th Annual World Music Festival: Chicago 2006 Begins This Week

Natacha Atlas
Natacha Atlas

Chicago (Illinois), USA – Chicago showcases the best of international music at the 8th Annual World Music Festival: Chicago 2006, Thursday, September 14 through Thursday September 21, 2006.

The multi-venue festival showcases both traditional and contemporary music from many diverse cultures. The 2006 festival line-up features more than 80 events at 29 venues. 55 of the events are family friendly, and more than 20 female artists from across the globe will perform. Events include a mix of free and ticketed concerts, 13 live radio broadcasts, 11 in-store performances, and educational workshops presented in museums, parks, cultural centers, plazas, theaters, bookstores, clubs and other venues throughout Chicago.

The festival features more than 60 artists representing 29 countries including: Brazil, Cambodia, Cape Verde, China, Colombia, Cuba, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Honduras, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Serbia, Switzerland, Tanzania, Turkey, Tuva, UK, United States, Venezuela, Zanzibar, Zimbabwe, and more.

The World Music Festival not only showcases the talent of musicians from all over the world, it brings together Chicago’s own diverse communities in a multicultural musical celebration,” said Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Lois Weisberg.

New this year

World Music Festival: Chicago 2006 added one extra day to its schedule this year, making it an eight-day festival. The festival also added three new venues to its roster, including the Gary Comer Youth Center, University of Chicago International House, and Hamilton Park. The festival will showcase 31 Chicago debut performances including Alaev Family, Aurelio Martinez- Garifuna Soul, Aza, Claudia Calderon, Culture Musical Club of Zanzibar, Descemer Bueno, Dengue Fever, Dza Nyodmo Dance Ensemble, Erkan Ogur, Extra Golden, Gjallarhorn, Hu Vibrational, KAL, Pablo Mayor-Folklore Urbano, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Sara Tavares, Slonovski Bal, Whirling Dervishes of Konya, and more.


World Music Festival: Chicago 2006 Opening Night features the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) on Thursday, September 14, at 6:30 pm at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The CSO opens the week-long festival with a unique collaboration featuring the Chicago-based Radio Maqam Ensemble, led by Issa Boulos (‘ud) and Yang Wei (pipa) and Chicago’s own Fareed Haque. Conducted by David Alan Miller, this vibrant performance launches the CSO’s 2006-2007 downtown season.

Millennium Park will also host the North American debut of Culture Musical Club of Zanzibar, featuring Natacha Atlas, on Monday, September 18, at 6:30 pm. Founded in 1958, the Culture Musical Club Zanzibar is East Africa’s premier taarab club. The concert features 15 musicians including 3 violins, qanun, ‘ud, 2 accordions, double bass, dumbak, bongos and rika, plus group singers and special guest vocalist, Amina. Also featured is Middle Eastern singer Natacha Atlas, who has entrancingly fused North African and Arabic music with western electronic beats to produce a unique dance music hybrid. She will be joined by a traditional Middle-Eastern chamber ensemble.

On Sunday, September 17, 7:30 pm at Park West, The Klezmatics will play soul-stirring Jewish roots music, recreating klezmer in arrangements and compositions that combine Jewish identity and mysticism with a contemporary zeitgeist and a postmodern aesthetic. Since their founding in New York City’s East Village in 1986, The Klezmatics have celebrated the ecstatic nature of Yiddish music with works that are by turns wild, spiritual, provocative, reflective and danceable.

World Music Festival: Chicago 2006 will culminate with the World Music Festival Open House taking place at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Street at 6:30 pm on Thursday, September 21. This free event features a diverse line-up including artists such as Colombian pianist and composer Claudia Calderón; the Alaev Family; Indian classical guitarist Debashish Bhattacharya with Subhasis and Sutapa Bhattacharya; Carmen Consoli, a prominent fixture of Italy’s folk, rock and world music scenes; Steve Gibon’s Gypsy Rhythm Project featuring Nicolae Feraru; Finnish folk group Gjallarhorn; and Aza.

World Music Festival: Chicago 2006 is organized by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Events are presented at the Chicago Cultural Center, in Millennium Park, and at various performance spaces around the city.

World Music Festival: Chicago 2006 is made possible with generous support from the Chicago Office of Tourism; The Boeing Company; The Comer Science & Education
Foundation; a grant from the Governor’s International Arts Exchange Program of the Illinois Arts Council; United Airlines “Chicago’s Hometown Airline,” the official airline sponsor; and Chicago Public Radio WBEZ 91.5 FM, official radio sponsor. Additional support provided by from Borders Books & Music and Lonely Planet.

For more information, call the World Music Festival: Chicago 2005 Hotline at 312.742.1938 or visit

Author: World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central