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Spreading Joy Through Music

Here are some photos and videos of some of our Chicago adventures in 2015!

Us entertaining Russian ladies with melodies from Russia at Indian Boundary Park:


A Mexican ice cream vendor sings along with us at Indian Boundary Park:


Entertaining Mexican families at Loyola Park:

Halloween adventures on CTA Public Transit:

Performing a Venezuelan song at the restaurant Uncommon Ground:

Performing in the park for Mole de Mayo festival in Pilsen:


Thanks to Marcus Davis for the photos at Indian Boundary Park and to Xiao Lyu and Yunfei Zhao for the CTA video.


Press Release for Chicago Folklore Ensemble Performances



Oral History Meets World Music in a Fusion of String Quartet and Storyteller

Chicago Folklore Ensemble presents the songs and stories collected from Chicago immigrant musicians.

September 9, 2015.

In an upcoming series of concerts, string quartet and storyteller come together to narrate musical and oral histories of Chicago immigrant musicians. The Chicago Folklore Ensemble will premier original arrangements of music and stories collected directly from master musicians hailing from Ghana, Argentina, Thailand, Serbia and Jordan.

The performances of this new ensemble will take place October 15, 7:30pm at the International House at University of Chicago; October 23rd, 7:30pm at the Musical Offering; and November 8, 12:00pm at City Winery.

“In Chicago, we are blessed with such a diversity of cultures at our doorstep,” said organizer Lucia Thomas. “Our vision is to bring together and celebrate these cultures, their music, and the remarkeable individuals who brought their music to us.”

After interviewing and studying under five of Chicago’s musical elders, the ensemble arranged pieces that weave together their traditional songs and personal stories. The elders interviewed include: Baha’a Abu-Taha, singer and 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.

The show intertwines drama, humor, and nostalgia with philosophy, history, and culture. Music and oral history humanize the immigrant experience and encourage cross-cultural celebration.

The Chicago Folklore Ensemble is supported in part by the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and by Chicago Artists Month (CAM).

To learn more about the Chicago Folklore Ensemble, visit


For more information, contact:

Lucia Thomas

(312) 731-7162


Chicago Folklore Ensemble Concerts

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The Chicago Folklore Ensemble is having its premier performances this Fall! Save the dates, and come hear the music and stories of Chicago immigrants.

  • October 15, 7:30pm, International House at University of Chicago (1414 E 59th St).
  • October 23, 7:30pm, Musical Offering (743 Custer Ave, Evanston, IL).
  • November 8, 12:00pm, City Winery, (1200 W Randolph St).

A smaller version of the ensemble will be performing in public libraries in the Chicago area:

  • September 20, 2:00pm, Morton Grove Public Library, (6140 Lincoln Ave, Morton Grove, IL).
  • October 20, 2:00pm, Park Ridge Public Library (20 S Prospect Ave, Park Ridge, IL).
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 sounds, tastes, emotions stored in the memories of Chicago immigrant musicians.

This project is partially supported by an Individual Artist Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.



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