SlavicSoulPartyMusic often transcends language and cultural barriers and that may be why world music festivals are so popular. It’s an opportunity for us to experience a culture in a way few mediums can. And, if you keep up with my travels and loves, you know I enjoy African beats like South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambaza.

But you don’t need to travel all over the world for your family and you to enjoy global sounds. Beginning September 21 and ending with a bang on September 27, Chicago will host the largest and longest running festival of international music in the United States. Both residents of and visitors to Chicago can enjoy more than 70 performances from acclaimed musicians representing countries from around the globe during the 2012 World Music Festival.

New this year, all scheduled performances and family friendly events will be free admission for the first time.


WorldMusicFest2The highlight of the festival will be an all day finale of global artists on Thursday, September 27 with “One World Under One Roof” at the Chicago Cultural Center. The day will include performances from 1:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. throughout the building, kicking off in the Randolph Café, continuing in Preston Bradley Hall and the Claudia Cassidy Theater.

The listing below is what is scheduled although please note that the schedule can change at any time so it’s wise to check ahead of a performance to make sure it is still happening. Until then, shall we salsa?


Photo: Slavic Soul Party, courtesy of the band.

Megy Karydes is a freelance journalist focusing on travel, health, sustainable living and fair trade for both consumer and business to business media outlets. When she’s not writing, she’s training for her next 1/2 marathon or running after her two young children (wait, is that the same thing?). Find her at