5 steps to branding Indie artists

By Thaddeus Tukes Since I started playing music professionally as a teenager, I’ve run into countless people whose shining star fizzled out — and most of them believe it was too early. Many initially took the independent artist route, but said they lacked the resources to make it work. They couldn’t attract consistent visibility or […]

Millennial Era Jazz: Marquis Hill

Marquis Hill holding his new trumpet.

By Thaddeus Tukes [A version of the story was co-published on Blavity.] Jazz is the essence of black culture, yet for years, black musicians have felt it being taken away by the rapaciousness of commerce and profit. The newest emerging voice in reclaiming jazz hails from the South Side of Chicago, which gave birth and […]

Power To The People: Tasha Viets-VanLear

Tasha Viets-VanLear at Circles and Ciphers

By Thaddeus Tukes [A version of this story, A profile in power: Activist Tasha Viets-VanLear fights for black freedom in Chicago was co-published in The Grio and on SJNN (Social Justice News Nexus)] An aura of serenity and peace permeates the room when Tasha Viets-VanLear enters. Clad in all black with a gray scarf, she sips […]

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. [vimeo 162015929 w=474] A FunkaDesi performance uses music to enhance deeper conversations about unity and diversity. (Nikita […]

How sweet the sound: The spirit of legendary Evanston venue Amazingrace lives on

By Josef Siebert Arguably the most famous counterculture venue in 1970s Chicago, Amazingrace was founded as neither a venue nor in Chicago. It started with Northwestern University students occupying part of a kitchen on the university’s Evanston campus to provide food to Vietnam War protesters. Eventually it morphed into a coffeehouse, a collective and finally […]

The outro plays for Jazz Record Mart

By Josef Siebert The Jazz Record Mart was full of activity on Tuesday, the day after the iconic Chicago record store closed its doors forever. With its bright neon window sign and overhead lights inside the store blazing at 27 E. Illinois St., it was easy to imagine JRM was still in business. Until, that […]

Chicago festival celebrates hip-hop arts’ positive impact

7th Annual Winter Block Party for Hip Hop Arts

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. […]