World Music Festival returns -- free but smaller

Maria de Barros with AfriCaribe: In one of the most prominent bookings of the festival, singer De Barros returns to the World Music Festival, offering her explorations into the Cape Verdean cultural roots of her family. Hers is a warm, plush instrument backed by a pop-tinged band. Chicago-based AfriCaribe, which opens the show, performs traditional Puerto Rican bomba and plena music. 6 p.m. Saturday at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, near Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue. Also 8 p.m. Friday on a bill with Jazz con Amala (broadcast live on WBEZ 91.5 FM) at the Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse Ave.

Sunday

Melody of China: For nearly 20 years, Melody of China has given audiences in its home base of San Francisco – and beyond – a window into traditional Chinese instrumentation and repertoire. The ensemble plays ancient instruments such as the pipa, erhu and ruan at the virtuoso level, which is why Melody of China has collaborated with some of the world's greatest orchestras. 3 p.m. Sunday at the Chicago Cultural Center's Preston Bradley Hall, 78 E. Washington St. Also 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Old Town School of Folk Music's Szold Music & Dance Hall, 4545 N. Lincoln Ave.

Fatoumata Diawara: A major attraction at this year's festival, the Malian singer-guitarist has become something of a crossover phenomenon, though that hasn't diluted the incantatory lure or melismatic complexity of her vocals. Having fled her homeland for Paris to escape a marriage that had been planned for her, she also has become an activist-symbol for human rights. 7 p.m. Sunday at the Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse Ave. Also 6:30 p.m. Monday on a bill with Magic Carpet at the Chicago Cultural Center's Preston Bradley Hall, 78 E. Washington St.

Rana Santacruz with Son Del Viento Chicago: The Mexican troubadour Santacruz left his country a decade ago for New York, yet his openly lyrical music still carries echoes of his homeland. You can hear it in the imploring quality of his vocals, as well as the mariachi-tinged horns and strings that accompany him – plus the traditional accordion he plays. Chicago's Son Del Viento shares the bill. 7 p.m. Sunday at the National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St. Also 8 p.m. Monday on a bill with Fishtank Ensemble at Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse Ave.

Monday

Daniel Kahn & The Painted Bird: Originally from Detroit but based in Berlin for the past several years, Kahn and The Painted Bird address Jewish culture past, present and future. The songs – delivered in Yiddish, German and English – show fervent social conscience. 12:15 p.m. Monday at the Chicago Cultural Center's Randolph Cafe, 78 E. Washington St. Also at 8:30 p.m. Sunday on a bill with Slavic Soul Party at Martyrs', 3855 N. Lincoln Ave.

JPP with Eastern Blok: Finnish folk fiddling has a great champion in JPP, the ensemble presenting quasi-orchestral versions of age-old Nordic music. JPP will share the bill with Eastern Blok, a long-running Chicago band with a distinctive and contemporary view of Eastern European music, performed by guitarist Goran Ivanovic, reedist Doug Rosenberg, bassist Matt Ulery and percussionist Michael Caskey. 6:30 p.m. Monday at Navy Pier's Crystal Gardens, 600 E. Grand Ave.

Canteca de Macao: Musical idioms from across Latin American converge in Spain's Canteda de Macao, which shows the influence of flamenco and jazz but also exudes a youthful, pop-savvy sensibility. Reggae, rumba and other influences course through this accessible music. 9 p.m. Monday at Instituto Cervantes of Chicago, 31 W. Ohio St. Also 7 p.m. Sunday on a bill with Fishtank Ensemble at the Old Town School of Folk Music's Gary and Laura Maurer Hall, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.

Tuesday

Renato Anesi Trio: The brilliant Brazilian composer-guitarist- bandleader combines nonchalant virtuosity with profound musicality in far-flung repertoire. 12:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Chicago Cultural Center's Randolph Cafe.

Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto with Tarima Son: Founded in 1940, Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto offers a glimpse into the distant past of Colombian folkloric music. The musicians play traditional flutes and hand-held percussion poetically, the vocal chant at once ancient and timeless. 7 p.m. Tuesday at the National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th St. Also 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Old Town School of Folk Music's Gary and Laura Maurer Hall, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave.

Hanggai with Las Guitarras de Espana: The Mongolian folk band Hanggai last year played the Music Without Borders series, which has been eliminated by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Now Hanggai returns on a double-bill with Chicago's much-loved flamenco-plus band Las Guitarras de Espana. 7 p.m. Tuesday at Reggie's Rock Club, 2109 S. State St. Also 6:30 p.m. Monday at Ping Tom Park, 300 W. 19th St.

Paulinho Garcia Septet with Luciano Antonio & Silvia Manriques: Increasingly active on the world scene, Chicago singer-guitarist Garcia rarely gets to lead a septet here at home – or anywhere. That makes this engagement noteworthy, enabling the Brazilian-born-and-raised musician to explore a broader color palette than usual. 8 p.m. Tuesday at the University of Chicago's Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th St. Also 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Instituto Cervantes of Chicago, 31 W. Ohio St.

Wednesday

Celtic Connections Presents "Transatlantic Sessions in Chicago": The second big event at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park will feature artists from the Celtic Connections folk festival in Scotland, a lineup that includes fiddler Aly Bain, Dobro player Jerry Douglas, accordionist Phil Cunningham, singer Julie Fowlis and bassist Danny Thompson. 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, near Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue.

Janka Nabay & the Bubu Gang: The World Music Festival ventures into a new setting – Little Black Pearl, on the South Side – for this performance, which offers an updated, exuberant perspective on ancient bubu music of Sierra Leone. 7 p.m. Wednesday at Little Black Pearl, 1060 E. 47th St. Also 9:30 p.m. Thursday at the Chicago Cultural Center's Preston Bradley Hall, 78 E. Washington St.

Rahim AlHaj and Ancient Sounds featuring Amaan & Ayann Ali Khan: Cultures intertwine when Iraqi oud player AlHaj meets up with the Indian sarod players Khan. 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse Ave. Also 7 p.m. Thursday at the Chicago Cultural Center's Claudia Cassidy Theater, 78 E. Washington St.

Thursday

"One World Under One Roof": As always, the grand finale of the World Music Festival will spotlight several ensembles at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.

CHICAGO

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