Thursday, March 29, 2012

RIP: Music Without Borders

Posted By on 03.29.12 at 11:42 AM

Music Without Borders: shuttered
  • Music Without Borders: shuttered
This morning the city announced the highlights of the summer music programs in Millennium Park, and there are plenty of good-looking concerts among them. But the biggest news is what wasn't announced. Music Without Borders, which began in 2006 and was the first of the high-profile concert series at the Pritzker Pavilion, isn't happening this year, a city spokesperson confirms. For fans of international music, this is a depressing blow. Many world-music artists tour the U.S. in the summer months, and this series has been the Chicago stop for the best of them. Over the years Music Without Borders, created by the imminently departing Michael Orlove, presented Senegal's Orchestra Baobab, Brazil's Carlinhos Brown, Mali's Bassekou Kouyate, Nigeria's Seun Kuti, Egypt's Hakim, India's Anoushka Shankar, and Serbia's Goran Bregovic, among many others—often in their Chicago debuts.

Not all the news is bad, of course. The Downtown Sound series includes free concerts by Kelly Hogan (May 28), Jonathan Richman (June 4), and Charles Bradley (July 16), and Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz includes an encore performance by saxophonists Edward Wilkerson Jr. and Ari Brown re-creating the classic Blue Note album by Clifford Jordan and John Gilmore, Blowin' in From Chicago (July 19), and an exciting new project by drummer Frank Rosaly exploring Puerto Rican music and jazz (August 23). There's also a new series called Loops and Variations that purports to mix "new music with electronica," which essentially replaces the Dusk Variations program. The only announced artists are Eighth Blackbird (June 28) and Third Coast Percussion (July 5)—both fantastic groups, but with little apparent connection to electronica.

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