Tag Archives: concert

Chance the Rapper uses Twitter to rally fans for massive parade to the polls

By Nia Prater

“If you’re planning on voting tomorrow, say ‘hell yeah!'” exhorted local rapper DJ OddCouple, hyping up the crowd in front of the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park Monday.

A resounding “Hell yeah!” came back in response.

It was dusk, and thousands jammed into the park for a get-out-the-vote rally and free concert spearheaded by the 23-year-old critically acclaimed hip hop recording artist Chancellor Bennett, better known as Chance the Rapper. But even before Bennett made his appearance, the party had already started, and the crowd assembled for the music and the pre-election demonstration was primed and ready to go.

Bennett dubbed the rally “Parade to the Polls.” It was billed as “a live show of democracy,” a tagline taken very seriously. It featured an early-evening concert headlined by Bennett, a Chicago native, followed by a literal procession to the polls, with Bennett himself leading the spectators on foot through rush hour traffic to a nearby polling station.

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Local band blends east and west to get people dancing and talking

By Nikita Mandhani

FunkaDesi is a Chicago-based band that represents diverse ethnic communities through its members, music and fan base. The band is a six-time winner of the Chicago Music Awards and combines Indian music with western trends.

A FunkaDesi performance uses music to enhance deeper conversations about unity and diversity. (Nikita Mandhani/Medill)

Rahul Sharma founded FunkaDesi twenty years ago. Sharma was born to Indian parents in the U.S. shortly after they emigrated from Kenya. In an effort to create a platform for his Indian-American identity through music, he came up with the concept of forming a multi-ethnic, multi-racial group of musicians.

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Palestinian music director conducts Persian Concert for packed house

By Vishakha Darbha and Hannah Gebresilassie

Emotional, passionate and a musical genius are just a few words used to describe Wanees Zarour.

Born and raised in Ramallah, Palestine, director and composer Zarour leads the Middle East Music Ensemble at the University of Chicago, which was established in 1997.

His “Persian Concert” at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts drew a packed house with over a dozen people sitting on the floor and a handful standing in the doorway to observe the Feb. 27 performance. This was the second of three Persian concerts. The third will be held in the summer.

Composer and director Wanees Zarour shares his music and his journey from Ramallah, Palestine to the United States. (Vishakha Darbha & Hannah Gebresilassie/MEDILL)

Zarour’s journey as a musician began at seven, when he learned to play the violin in Ramallah. He moved to the United States when he was 16.

Today, Zarour primarily embeds Middle Eastern music traditions, including Arab, Turkish and Persian throughout his music. His musical expertise is evident in the way he transcribes complex pieces, including those that lack notation.

The 45-piece ensemble includes a wide range of Middle Eastern instruments, including the oud, tar, santour, sitar, setar and qanun. The ensemble is composed of community members and students, whom Wanees has been directing in the ensemble for six years.

Photo at Top: Palestinian composer and director Wanees Zarour at The Persian Concert held in Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts. The concert was held on Feb. 27 (Vishakha Darbha & Hannah Gebresilassie/MEDILL)

Chicago festival celebrates hip-hop arts’ positive impact

By Marisa Endicott

Some might claim that “hip-hop is dead,” but the 7th Annual Winter Block Party for Chicago’s Hip Hop Arts this Saturday suggested otherwise.

“If you go to the spaces, if you go to the open mics, it is alive and well,” said Damon Williams, a performer and activist emceeing for the event. “Hip-hop is a culture that is inherent in people’s spirits.”

Nonprofit Young Chicago Authors and public radio stations WBEZ and Vocalo hosted the all-day showcase that took place at the Metro concert hall in Wrigleyville. The festivities culminated in a mixtape release concert featuring young up-and-coming spoken word poets, singers and rappers from Louder than a Bomb, a Chicago youth poetry festival.
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