DJ Spooky, Mark de Clive-Lowe and Femi Kuti are just three of the acts announced as part of the City of Chicago’s dance friendly Millennium Park Summer Music Series, launching June 6 in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago and continuing Mondays and Thursdays all Summer long.
Aside from other shows (about which we’ll have word shortly), the city Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is putting on a rich and diverse series of free concerts in the park, ranging from indie pop to afrobeat, soul music and more.
The full listing is here, but some highlighted shows (all shows are free, and held at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion at 201 E. Randolph St.):
Monday, June 20, 6:30pm
DJ Spooky’s Rebirth of a Nation
+ Kelan Phil Cohran’s Summer Solstice Ensemble
Washington, D.C.-born Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky is a composer, multimedia artist and writer whose work immerses audiences in a blend of genres, global culture, and environmental and social issues. Rebirth of a Nation was his first large-scale multimedia performance piece, which has been performed more than 50 times in venues around the world, from the Sydney Festival to the Herod Atticus Amphitheater in Athens, Greece. Kelan Phil Cohran is a Chicago improvised jazz legend known for his contributions in the Sun Ra Arkestra in Chicago and for his involvement in the foundation of the AACM.
Thursday, June 23, 6:30pm
Born in North Carolina, saxophonist Maceo Parker embodies the legacy of soul and funk music and is best known for his collaborations alongside seminal icons like James Brown, George Clinton, and Prince, all the while honing his own signature brand of showmanship. Marrow is an American indie rock band from Chicago consisting of three former members of Kids These Days, plus one additional member.
Monday, July 11, 6:30pm
+ The Positive Force + ProbCause
Femi Kuti is a Grammy-nominated, high energy Afrobeat artist born in London and raised in Nigeria. Kuti is the eldest son of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti and grandchild of Nigerian aristocrat, political and women’s rights activist Funmilayo Ransome Kuti. Working out of Chicago with the likes of Chance the Rapper, Action Bronson, Twista, Vic Mensa and others, ProbCause seamlessly jumps from electronic to funk to R&B, then back to classic boom-bap gritty rap.
Monday, July 18, 6:30pm
King Sunny Ade
+ Ugochi & A.S.E.
King Sunny Ade is the undisputed king of juju music, the dance-inspiring hybrid of western pop and traditional African music with roots in the guitar tradition of Nigeria. Ade launched his own record label in 1974 and has released more than 100 of his own recordings in Nigeria. Born in Chicago to Nigerian parents, Ugochi is an Afro-soul singer, songwriter and poet who is known for her extremely versatile and creative music and performances. She will appear with The Afro Soul Ensemble (A.S.E.).
Thursday, August 4, 6:30pm
Sinkane + Mark de Clive-Lowe
Sinkane is solo recording artist who sings and plays numerous instruments blending krautrock, free jazz and funk rock with Sudanense pop. Although born in London, Sinkane spent his early childhood in Sudan followed by Ohio after his family fled to the United States. Mark de Clive-Lowe is a musician, composer and producer originally from New Zealand, and now based in Los Angeles, after living for ten years in London. He is a veteran of the UK’s broken beat movement, blending jazz, electronic dance music, funk and percussion heavy world music into a unique sound.
More info on these and all 18 concerts listed so far is at cityofchicago.org