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8 acts to see at Chicago World Music Festival 2015

Not sure what shows to see during this year's World Music Festival? Plan your schedule with our guide to the best acts

Photograph: Erin Patrice O'Brien
Red Baraat is one of the bands playing at World Music Festival.

You can hear plenty of great groups in local rock venues, but it's important to remember that there's an entire world of music to explore. The 17th annual World Music Festival brings bands from all over the globe to Chicago for 11 days of free concerts. Not sure where to start? We've gathered a list of the best groups, ranging from desert blues guitarists to Finnish folk singers. Embark on a musical journey (without leaving the city) with the help of our World Music Festival guide.

Red Baraat

Brooklyn-based drummer and bandleader Sunny Jain heads Red Baraat, said to be the first Indian marching band in the United States. The live-wire group fuses the exuberant Punjabi wedding-band tradition with Bollywood classics and New Orleans brass.

Also playing: September 12 at Pritzker Pavilion, 3pm

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Until Fri Sep 11

Cyro Baptista's Banquet of the Spirits

Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista, an exuberant performer and bandleader comfortable with everything from minutely detailed free improv to explosive party-band revelry, brings his Banquet of the Spirits quartet to the Old Town School of Folk Music. Drawing on everything from bossa nova to Captain Beefheart, Baptista and company create endearingly strange music with boundless influences.

Also playing: September 11 at Martyrs', 8pm

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Until Sat Sep 12

Terakaft

Recommended

A Saharan group formed in 2001 by ex-members of Tinariwen, Terakaft is certain to snare anyone hooked on the dusty desert-blues grooves of that feted outfit. The group's latest record, Alone, was inspired by the political and social unrest in Mali, adding a defiant tone to the band's conscientious songs.


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Until Sun Sep 13
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We Banjo 3

Recommended

Don't be fooled: We Banjo 3 may look like an Irish version of pre-leather jacket Mumford & Sons, but the suspenders-sporting quartet prefers bluegrass riffs over foot-stomping anthems. Blending Celtic melodies with Americana trappings, this quartet is a truly global act.

Also playing: September 17 at Chicago Cultural Center, Preston Bradley Hall, 6:30pm

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Until Wed Sep 16

Amir ElSaffar

Recommended

Trumpeter and composer Amir ElSaffar brings his Two Rivers ensemble to Constellation, presenting an evening of Middle Eastern jazz fusion. The group's latest record, Crisis, reflects on the turmoil in Iraq, where ElSaffar studied after earning a degree in classical trumpet performance at DePaul University.

Also playing: September 20 at Claudia Cassidy Theater, 1:30pm

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Until Sat Sep 19

Orlando Julius & the AfroSoundz

Legendary Nigerian saxophonist Orlando Julius was one of the first artists to fuse African rhythms with American pop instrumentation in the '60s, developing the foundations of Afro-pop. Joined by his band the Afrosoundz, Julius will play his way through an extensive catalog of highly influential Afrobeat compositions. The cascading electric guitar rhythms of Niger's Tal National kick off the afternoon.

Also playing: September 18 at Mayne Stage, 9pm

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Until Sat Sep 19
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Kardemimmit

Recommended

Finnish folk quartet Kardemimmit plays its songs on the kantele, a 38-stringed instrument that sounds like a cross between a harp and dulcimer. The quartet met while attending music school and lends a delicate touch to traditional songs and original compositions.

Also playing: September 20 at Claudia Cassidy Theater, 3:45pm

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Until Sat Sep 19

Boogat

Recommended

Quebec-based emcee Boogat headlines Chicago's World Music Festival celebration of United Nations International Day of Peace at the Humboldt Park Boathouse. He'll be sampling Spanish-language hip-hop from his latest record Neo-Reconquista.

Also playing: September 18 at Mayne Stage, 9pm

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Until Sun Sep 18

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