THE ILCC’S YEAR-ROUND CHICAGO LATINO MUSIC SERIES PRESENTS THE LEVITT VIBE BELMONT CRAGIN MUSIC SERIES, JUNE 15-AUGUST 17

Chicago (May 9, 2024) – The International Latino Cultural Center announces the inaugural season of the Levitt VIBE Belmont Cragin Music Series at Riis Park, 6100 W,. Fullerton Ave (behind the Field House) as part of their year-round Chicago Latino Music Series. Sponsored by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, this groundbreaking series will showcase a diverse array of talent, featuring a mix of local, national, and international artists from across the Latino diaspora. These free concerts will be presented for 10 consecutive weeks from June 15th-August 17th and in the summer of 2025. All concerts begin at 2 pm; some of these concerts will feature an opening act to be announced later. The full calendar is listed below.

“We are thrilled to present the inaugural season of the Levitt VIBE Belmont Cragin Music Series, to Riis Park” said Mateo Mulcahy, Deputy Executive Director of the International Latino Cultural Center. “This series will showcase the extraordinary diversity that exists within the world of Latin music in the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Belmont-Cragin with the goal of bringing free live music programming to underrepresented communities in need of cultural programming.”

The Levitt VIBE Belmont Cragin Music Series is supported in part by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, which partners with changemakers and nonprofits across the country to activate underused outdoor spaces through the power of free, live music—bringing people together, fostering belonging, and invigorating community life. Presenting high-caliber talent and a broad array of music genres and cultural programming, Levitt concerts are welcoming and inclusive destinations where people of all ages and backgrounds come together. 

In 2024, the national Levitt network of music venues and concert sites is presenting 650+ free concerts in 45 towns and cities, with audiences over 750,000. In addition to supporting free concerts, the Levitt Foundation is dedicated to advancing equitable music ecosystems through research and partnerships. 

Sones de Mexico - performing in Chicago at the Levitt VIBE concert Series on 06/15/20224

Sones de México Ensemble made its first public appearance in 1994 at an art gallery in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, commemorating the death of Mexican land-rights revolution hero Emiliano Zapata. Through the years, the ensemble has amassed a large collection of folk musical instruments representative of Mexico’s diverse local cultures and a team of multi-instrumentalist musicians. Their diverse repertoire, rich in colors, textures and rhythms demonstrates that there is more to Mexican music than mariachi. The ensemble has released six recordings including Esta tierra es tuya (This Land Is Your Land), nominated to a Grammy for Best Mexican-American Album, and a Latin Grammy for Best Folk Album. The sextet is presently formed by multi-instrumentalists and singers Víctor Pichardo (music director), Juan Díes, Zacbé Pichardo, Eric Hines, Lorena Iñiguez and Irekani Ferreyra.

Kumbia Queers will be performing at the Levitt VIBE Concert Series - promoted by the ILCC

Prepare yourself for an unforgettable night of non-stop dancing, as Kumbia Queers unleash their captivating stage presence, infecting everyone in the audience with their joyous spirit. This is more than just a concert; it’s a celebration of inclusivity and freedom, where everyone is invited to let loose and join the party. Their story goes back to the year 2007 when these musicians got bored of the punk rock scene, and decided to do something completely different: cumbia. What started out as something just for fun, led eventually to the formation of Kumbia Queers. They describe their style as 1000% Tropi Punk – a wild mixture of Afro-Cuban and Latin American cumbia influences, queerness and punk spirit. Their latest album Fiesteria was released in spring 2023 and remains loyal to cumbia, but also walks on new paths including more electronic vibes and urban styles.

Silvia may have started singing salsa, but Brazilian music stole the heart of this Chicago-based artist. Singing in jazz combos, she found herself gravitating toward bossa nova standards and immediately began studying Portuguese at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After college, Silvia sang jazz but it wasn’t until meeting other Brazilians and Brazilian music-minded musicians that she began focusing on learning the craft of Brazilian popular music. In 2008, she founded Beaba do Samba, a band that became a permanent fixture on the Chicago world music scene performing at respected venues and festivals like the Old Town School of Folk Music, the Logan Square Arts Festival, the Chicago World Music Festival, the Chicago Latino Film Festival and the Millennium Park Summer Music festival at the beautiful Pritzker Pavilion. Her new EP, Sonho, featuring songs by Rosa Passos and Joyce Moreno, among others, will be released on May 26.

Marcel Bonfim

Born and raised in Brazil, Marcel Bonfim is a culturally diverse and critically acclaimed musician. Between studying Brazilian popular music in his country and earning a Master’s Degree in Jazz Performance from DePaul University in Chicago, he combines the best of these two worlds. Marcel’s extensive experience in multiple fields of music, such as Big Band and Symphonic Orchestras, small jazz and Brazilian ensembles, and Musical Theater has helped him to develop a unique sound and musical sensibility. Marcel has played and shared the stage with big names like: Hermeto Pascoal, Marcos Valle, Neal Alger, George Fludas, Helio Delmiro and many others. 

ESSO - One one the bands performing in the Levitt VIBE Music Series produced by the ILCC at Riis Park in Belmont Cragin

ESSO is the bilingual dance band project of Chicago-born songwriter and producer Armando Pérez. He curated an inner-city big band of rotating members unsealing a kaleidoscopic sound propelling them to perform for multicultural concerts and festivals alongside Grammy winning artists. The Chicago based band effortlessly merges Chicano and Boricua roots music with modern dance into a rhythmic sancocho filling club floors and providing ample evidence of Chicago’s presence as a hotbed of diverse new music in the States. 

Eljuri will perform as part of the Levitt VIBE concert Series by the International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago.

Cecilia Villar Eljuri is a Latina singer-songwriter with a powerful fusion of rock, reggae and world rhythms, soaring guitars and relevant lyrics (think Manu Chao and Bob Marley via Carlos Santana). Her musical influences include the traditional Ecuadorian pasillos and boleros that her mother composed at the piano at home, the cha-cha and Afro-Cuban music her father played and danced to, the punk and rock & roll she heard when sneaking into NYC clubs with her siblings, and the reggae she learned from the greats who passed through the halls she frequented. Over time Eljuri has developed her own voice and distinctive sound. Strong melodic and guitar driven anthems and rebel cries are her standard. She is an artivist whose bilingual songs are stories about resilience, resistance, civil rights, and saving the planet. 

This performance is part of the Eljuri Concerts for Democracy: Amplifying Voices for Social Change, a live concert and workshop series with a focus on helping audience members find and use their voice towards positive change in their lives. The goal of this project is to attract and unite communities through the power of live music, creating an inclusive soundtrack that inspires and empowers people to recognize and use their voice. Before or after the concert, Eljuri offers the bilingual ‘Amplify Your Voice’ interactive workshop in an intimate and safe space. 

Born Wesley Louissaint in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, this Montreal based singer-songwriter and producer unites a large cross-section of Montreal talent, his music linking Haitian voudou and rara with Twoubadou roots, Afrobeat and reggae. Since being crowned the Revelation Radio-Canada for 2009–2010, Wesli has toured across North America, Haiti, Colombia, Brazil, and Europe, and participated in WOMEX, Mundial Montréal and Cape Verde’s Atlantic Music Expo. His unstoppable creativity led to two album releases in 2015: the star-studded Immigrand alongside the more traditional Ayiti Étoile Nouvelle. Released last year, the highly ambitious two-volume Tradisyon uplifts, honors and reinvigorates the Haitian and diasporic traditions with Volume One focusing on Haitian roots, acoustic and traditional styles, and Volume Two offering new directions in Haitian music, blending traditional genres with electronic music, Afrobeat, soul, funk, hip-hop and more to create a rich, festive and uniquely engaging sound.

Lone Piñon - Performing at the Levitt VIBE Summer Concert Series - Produced by the ILCC at Riis Park

Lone Piñon is a New Mexican string band, or orquesta típica, whose music celebrates the integrity and diversity of their region’s cultural roots. With fiddles, upright bass, guitars, accordions, vihuela, and bilingual vocals, they play a wide spectrum of the traditional music that is at home in New Mexico. Founded in 2014, the band performs musical styles that had all but disappeared from daily life in many Northern New Mexico communities such as Western swing, conjunto, New Mexican Spanish and Mexican ranchera, Central Mexican son regional, country, onda chicana and around the core New Mexican violin.

Sara Curruchich was born in 1993 in San Juan Comalapa, Chimaltenango, in a Mayan Kaqchikel community, in the central highlands of Guatemala. Her music is born from her people’s collective and individual feelings, history, memory, culture, languages and struggles, as well as her own, personal stance as an artist. Sara Curruchich is the first indigenous Guatemalan singer and songwriter to sing in Kaqchikel (her mother tongue), as well as Spanish, for an international audience. Her voice and message of love, awareness, respect and defense of life in all its forms, have led many people to regard her as a beacon of light and hope.

Sidi Wacho is a cultural and musical melting pot formed in 2014 with members from France, Chile, and Algeria. The name Sidi Wacho itself announces the cultural mix of the group with sidi being the Arabic equivalent of “Mr.,” and wacho, slang for a street kid in Chile. The band was created out of the desire to fight against inequality, racism, and capitalism behind an infectious hip-hop, electro-cumbia, Balkan groove. Their sound places them in league with Manu Chao, Sergent Garcia, and Chico Trujillo (one of their many collaborators). The band features two MCs, one trumpet, one accordionist, and a percussionist.

Making their Chicago debut as part of the Levitt VIBE Belmont Cragin Music Series, Los Tangueros del Oeste were formed in 2019 by Argentine singer/lyricist Manuel Berterreix and California bassist/composer Sascha Jacobsen after they met by chance at the “Café Buenos Aires” in Berkeley, California. Hailing from an illustrious musical family dating back at least five generations to a bassist for the Moscow Opera in the early 19th century, Jacobsen explored his passion for tango in ensembles like The Musical Art Quintet and Trio Garufa. Los Tangueros del Oeste are steeped in the Nuevo Tango styles of Astor Piazzolla, Gotan Project and Bajofondo. Focusing on original compositions, the group blends beats and textures from hip-hop and electronica with Flamenco influences filtered through an improvisational lens. In 2022 their first album, Alma Vieja, was nominated for the Latin Grammys in the Best Tango Album category.

For more information about the series and to view the full lineup of performances, please visit www.latinoculturalcenter.org.

ABOUT THE ILCC

The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago is a pan-Latino, nonprofit, multidisciplinary arts organization dedicated to developing, promoting, and increasing awareness of Latino cultures among Latinos and other communities by presenting a wide variety of art forms and education including film, music, dance, visual arts, comedy, theater and culinary arts. The Center prides itself for its outstanding multidisciplinary local and international cultural programming which spans Latin America, Spain, Portugal, and the United States. 

Born out of the Chicago Latino Film Festival, The International Latino Cultural Center of Chicago also produces other programs, including the Chicago Latino Music Series, which is celebrating its 18th edition this year; Film in the Parks, also in its 18th season; the monthly Reel Film Club, already in its 16th year; and many others. 

All in all, the audience has grown from 500 people in 1985 for the first Chicago Latino Film Festival to more than 70,000 (Latinos and non-Latinos) who enjoy the year-round multidisciplinary cross-cultural exchanges offered by the Center.

ABOUT THE LEVITT FOUNDATION

The Levitt Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building community through music. They partner with communities to activate underused outdoor spaces, creating welcoming, inclusive destinations where the power of free, live music brings people together and invigorates community life.

By providing free outdoor concerts and revitalizing public spaces, the Foundation seeks to create inclusive, vibrant communities where people of all backgrounds can come together to enjoy live music and cultural experiences. For more information, visit www.levitt.org.

ABOUT THE CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT

The Chicago Park District has served Chicago residents for more than 85 years. It is a Gold Medal Award-winning organization, which recognizes excellence in park and recreation management across the nation. For more information about the Chicago Park District’s more than 8,800 acres of parkland, more than 600 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 12 museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, over 75 nature areas, thousands of special events, sports and entertainment programs, please visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or contact the Chicago Park District at 312/742.PLAY or 312/747.2001 (TTY). Want to share your talent? Volunteer in the parks by calling, 312/742.PLAY. Follow us on Facebook @ChicagoParkDistrict and on Instagram and X @chicagoparks.

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