New Show for Kids in Chicago Parks!

Chicago Folklore Ensemble’s new show, Lift Every Voice, premieres this month with three free performances hosted by Night Out in the Parks!

Lift Every Voice uses the power of music to engage children and families in celebrating African-American and Latin-American freedom movements in Chicago. Guided by storytellers Sojourner Zenobia and Mercedes Inez Martinez, kids will sing along with classic freedom songs, clap rhythms, learn movements, and absorb important lessons of local history through theater and music. Chicago Folklore Ensemble’s fun performance will inspire kids with a love of music and a desire to make a difference in the world.


Saturday, July 13, 11:00AM Gwendolyn Brooks Park
4542 S Greenwood Ave., Chicago RESCHEDULED for July 21

Wednesday, July 17, 5:00PM Riis Park
6100 W Fullerton Ave., Chicago

Friday, July 19, 6:00PM Meyering Park
7140 S Martin Luther King Dr., Chicago

Sunday, July 21, 1:00PM Gwendolyn Brooks Park
4542 S Greenwood Ave., Chicago

Upcoming Premiere of Show of Indian Music and Poetry

Chicago Folklore Ensemble’s new show, Gitanjali: Song Offerings, will premier on November 3, 2018, at Second Unitarian Church, 656 W Barry Ave., Chicago, at 7pm.

Gitanjali: Song Offerings is a two-hour show that takes audiences on a spiritual journey via the music and poetry of legendary Bengali polymath Rabindranath Tagore. In 1912, Tagore published a book of devotional poems called Gitanjali, and the work was so impactful in Europe that he became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. However, Western readers of Tagore don’t always know that the poems in Gitanjali were originally lyrics of songs that Tagore composed, songs which are still known and beloved in Bengal today. Gitanjali: Song Offerings presents several poems from Gitanjali paired with the songs sung in the original Bengali, intertwining Tagore’s exquisite verses with the music that brings the poetry its full emotional resonance.

Tagore’s songs were taught to the instrumentalists in the ensemble by Subhajit Sengupta, the founder and lead singer of Chicago’s Bengali folk band Ochin Pakhi. In this show, vocals and narration by Subhajit Sengupta and Swarnali Banerjee, both originally from Kolkata, India, are accompanied by sweeping strings and accordion harmonies. Over the course of the show, the performers share personal experiences that illustrate the enduring power and relevance of Tagore’s creation.

Upcoming Shows This Spring

We will be performing our new show, Where Rivers Meet: Songs and Stories from Masters of Arabic Music, twice this June as part of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks series! Both shows will be free and open to the public.

June 16, 2018, 2pm – Marquette Park, 6743 S Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL

June 22, 2018, 6pm – Gompers Park, 4222 W Foster Ave, Chicago, IL

We have a few other free performances of Where Rivers Meet this spring:

April 22, 2018, 2pm – abbreviated show at Oak Lawn Public Library, 9427 Raymond Ave, Oak Lawn, IL

April 28, 2018, 1:30pm – Manchester University, Wine Recital Hall, Winger Arts Building, Manchester, IN

Thanks to several generous small donations from our supporters, we will also be organizing additional free performances of Where Rivers Meet this summer, so stay tuned!

In addition, we have been continuing to perform our kids’ show, Follow the Butterfly, at various Chicago area public schools through our collaboration with Urban Gateways, and we have a few performances of Follow the Butterfly coming up:

April 20, 2018, 10am – Earth Day performance at Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL. Contact Old Town School for ticketing information.

May 6, 2018, 2pm Northbrook Celebration of Cultures, North Suburban YMCA, 2705 Techny Rd, Northbrook, IL

June 21, 2018, 7pm – Schaumburg Township District Library, 130 S Roselle Rd, Schaumburg, IL

June 23, 2018, 2pm – Warren-Newport Public Library, 224 O’Plaine Rd, Gurnee, IL

Where Rivers Meet: Stories and Songs from Masters of Arabic Music

Chicago Folklore Ensemble is proud to announce the premier of our new show, Where Rivers Meet.

Join us for two free shows:

December 10, 2017, 3pm at Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave.

December 17, 2017, 3pm at Skokie Public Library, 5215 Oakton St.

Where Rivers Meet is a show of Arabic music and storytelling that takes listeners down the rivers of the Middle East. String ensemble and storyteller accompany master musicians from Iraq, Egypt, and Palestine who share melodies and memories passed down in song and story.

This show features three artists who live in the Chicago area:

Amro Hosny Helmy, oud player and singer from Cairo, Egypt
Mary Hazboun, singer from Bethlehem, Palestine
Edward Hanna, percussionist from Basra, Iraq

Two Free Shows in June for Night Out in the Parks!

The Chicago Park District is offering dozens of free programs this summer for their Night Out in the Parks series. Chicago Folklore Ensemble will be performing twice!

Follow The Butterfly, Revere Park
Traditional music and folktales about respecting the earth; for kids and families.
2509 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago
Friday, June 16, 2017
6-7 PM

The World In Chicago, Elm Park
Music and stories of Chicago immigrant musicians
5215 S Woodlawn Ave, Chicago
Friday, June 23, 2017
5-6 PM

Also, we have another free show coming up as part of Old Town School of Folk Music’s World Music Wednesday series!

The World In Chicago, Old Town School of Folk Music
4544 N Lincoln Ave · Gary and Laura Maurer Concert Hall
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
8:30 PM

Album Release Concert on October 2


The World In Chicago

Sunday, October 2, 4pm
2nd Unitarian Church, 656 W Barry St, Chicago


Chicago Folklore Ensemble is releasing it’s first album, entitled The World in Chicago! Please join us as we celebrate with an afternoon performance of songs and stories of Chicago immigrants, followed by a feast with food from each country!

The World in Chicago is a delightful fusion of classical and world music! Original arrangements of traditional folk songs are played by string quartet featuring soloists from each country represented: master musicians Baha’a Abu-Taha, oud player from Jordan; Abee Mensah, keyboard player from Ghana; Alba Guerra, singer from Argentina; Phiwan Phonwiang, khaen player from Thailand; and Jovan Mihailović, violinist from Serbia.

Embark on a journey of melody, laughter, tears, and joy, we realize together the human behind each story, the worlds contained in each song.



Night Out In The Parks

We are pleased to announce two free upcoming shows! They are part of Night Out In The Parks, year round events sponsored by the Chicago Park District.

Tuesday, August 16, 4:30pm, Rainbow Beach Park. We’ll be performing Follow The Butterfly, our kids’ show featuring traditional music and folktales about respecting the earth.

Thursday, August 18, 6:00pm, Holstein Park. We’ll be performing The World In Chicago, featuring songs and stories collected from Chicago immigrant musicians.

Hope to see you there!