The World In Chicago

May 24, 2016

Music and stories collected from Chicago immigrant musicians

From the Serbian mountains of blood and honey to the passionate coasts of Argentina, rattling buses tearing through Thai countryside and back to sweet home Chicago, we’ll take you on a journey around the world atop a carpet of music and story. String quartet and storyteller come together to narrate the sights, sounds, and emotions stored in the memories of Chicago immigrant musicians.

The World in Chicago is a two-hour show that interweaves stories and songs that we gathered directly from interviews with master musicians from Jordan, Ghana, Argentina, Thailand, and Serbia. Chicago Folklore Ensemble’s debut performance series, it premiered in Fall 2015.

The World in Chicago celebrates five musicians who are cultural treasures of Chicago:

    • Jovan Mihailović, violinist from Serbia
    • Alba Guerra, singer from Argentina
    • Baha’a Abu-Taha, singer and oud player from Jordan
    • Abee Mensah, keyboard player from Ghana
    • Phiwan Phonwiang, khaen player from Thailand

Our first performances took place at several Chicago area venues, including International House at the University of Chiccago, The Musical Offering in Evanston, and City Winery.

We also performed live on the air on WBEZ’s Worldview. Listen here:


Our five musical mentors: Baha’a Abu-Taha, Abee Mensah, Alba Guerra, Jovan Mihailović and Phiwan Phonwiang