Los Macondos | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Los Macondos 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Yet another example of the rich results of merging European, African, and indigenous American traditions, the vallenato music of northern Colombia contains many elements already familiar to anglophiles. The dominant instrument is the button accordion--playing catchy melodies akin to those in the many accordion-based Latin genres from Texas to Argentina--and the music abounds in its creative use of jangly African-derived percussion. But unique to vallenato is how the bass guitar often plays counter-rhythms in staccatto riffs that jump all over the instrument's range--an approach so quirky that at first you might think (as I did) the bass player is lost! It's a challenging listening experience, but comfortably so, because in the time it takes your ears to become accustomed to the dizzy bass line, you've still always got the propulsive dance melody to refer to. Los Macondos (opening this weekend for the highly regarded Bolivian folkloric ensemble Grupo Aymara in the first installment of the Old Town School of Folk Music's ninth annual Festival of Latin Music) are worthy exponents of the vallenato-style, and it's not beyond them to throw an occasional cumbia into their set as well. Whether this dance-oriented music will be able to catch fire in the straitlaced sit-down atmosphere of the Old Town School's performance space is questionable, but certainly this is a welcome opportunity to hear its rhythmic architecture at close range. Saturday, 7 and 10 PM, Old Town School of Folk Music, 909 W. Armitage; 525-7793.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Martha Cooper.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Renaldo Migaldi

  • The List: July 22-28, 2010

    The List: July 22-28, 2010

    Critics' Choices and other notable shows: Terry Adams Rock & Roll Quartet, Juana Molina, Struck by Lightning, David Dondero, Natacha Atlas, and more
    • Jul 22, 2010
  • A Son of Sun

    A Son of Sun

    It's been 50 years since he recorded at Sam Phillips's legendary studio and more than 30 since he quit music to drive a limo, but rockabilly pioneer Hayden Thompson is getting back into the business.
    • Nov 29, 2007
  • Thomas E. Ricks

    • Sep 28, 2006
  • More »

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Bernhardt/Hamlet Goodman Theatre
September 14
Performing Arts
Oslo Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place
September 10

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories