Monday, Aug. 3, 2009

The 2009 Global Union Lineup

By Evan Rytlewski
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With hopes of better weather than last year, when rain put a good-sized dent in attendance, Alverno College released the lineup for its 2009 Global Union festival, a two-day world-music concert in Bay View's Humboldt Park. With just six headliners, the lineup is smaller than in recent years, but it's typically varied:

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Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009

Mucca Pazza:  1 p.m.
Chicago punk rockers, circus act, and marching band Mucca Pazza formed on a principle that many musicians shun out of hand: band geeks are awesome. In fact, much of Mucca Pazza's appeal comes from their wholehearted acceptance -- even celebration -- of the band nerd identity. The 30-piece group includes standard marching band fare like saxophones, sousaphone, trumpets, trombones, and drums in addition to less common elements like accordion, guitar, violin, and designated cheerleaders.

Los de Abajo:   2 p.m.
Imagine a stirring, south-of-the-border brassy mariachi introduction, a grand announcement ‘Rude Boy – this is made in Mexico’, and then a sudden switch to a Ska beat as Los de Abajo launch into a Spanish-language, Latin-flavored treatment of that old Fun Boy Three hit from 1982, The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum). This is the Ska revival as seen from a recording studio in Mexico City, and directed by the production team of Neil Sparkes and Count Dubulah, best known as those exponents of global dance music, Temple Of Sound. And it’s just one of the wildly varied styles and fusions in the Los de Abajo repertoire.

Watcha Clan:  4 p.m.
It’s been ten years since the music of Watcha Clan started moving to the rhythm of the waters of the Mediterranean.   Their distinctive electro sound powers the Clan through frenetic rhythms that render homage to their roots.  The Clan, a real family embodied in the voice of Sista K, never forget their destiny or their mission, their search for space and freedom. Above all, they are true nomads in the world of music.

Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009

Red Baraat:  1 p.m.
Red Baraat is the first and only dhol ‘n’ brass band of its kind in the States, melding the infectious North Indian rhythm Bhangra with brass funk and expressing the human spirit through improvisation and a dramatic stage presence and performance.  Comprised of dhol (double-sided, barrel-shaped North Indian drum slung over one shoulder), percussion and horns, this 9-piece group has delivered blistering performances at the 4th Annual Droma Gypsy Festival, The Kitchen performance art space, the underground loft party series Brooklyn Wonderland, India Independence Day Parade, Joe's Pub, Barbes, Nublu, as well as a live radio broadcast for WFMU and WKCR. They recently recorded the credit roll theme song for the movie, The Yes Men Fix the World, performed at the 43rd Annual War Resistors League Peace Award ceremony, alongside folk legends Steve Earle and Allison Moorer, and performed for Ports 1961 at the 2009 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (NYC).

Hanggai:  2:30 p.m.
When Beijing-based punk rocker Ilchi heard throat singing for the first time, he was determined to investigate his family's Inner Mongolian heritage. He journeyed there, met two traditional musicians named Hugejiltu and Bagen, and soon Hanggai was born. Based in Beijing but devoted to traditional Mongolian songs, Hanggai's spacious, undeniably gorgeous music has won it many fans. Hanggai sing about Mongolian Robin Hoods, mix throat singing with rock instruments, and dress like men of the steppes even though they live in the teeming metropolis of Beijing. But embodying contradictions comes naturally to ethnic minorities in China.

Minyeshu: 4­ p.m.
Minyeshu Kifle started singing and dancing at a young age in the National Theater of Ethiopia. With the accompaniment of the band Chewata, she made the album 'Meba' (2002), an impression of the diversity of the Ethiopian musical culture. Minyeshu brings ancient songs up to date with contemporary arrangements, and generates an exciting direction in Ethiopian and international music with her own compositions.


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