Damaris Woodbury, NBC Chicago Street Team
The Old Town School of Folk Music is offering a series of Wednesday night AfroFolk concerts from now through December 17th. I attended their first concert last Wednesday and was transported to Jamaica for two hours! The concert series kicked off with the West Indian Folk Dance Company.
Under the artistic direction of Alfred Baker, the company revealed Afro-Caribbean history and culture through acting and dance. Each performance was a story. For example, dancers transported the audience into a Jamaican marketplace where they were dressed in their Sunday best to sell the “leftover” crops so that they would be more appealing — a tradition that was carried out in Jamaica in the 1800s.
It was refreshing to see the dances were not classical in the traditional sense. It was not cookie-cutter, counting beats dancing, it is feeling the story and dancing until the story ends.
I didn’t want this performance to end. But, I find solace in knowing that this is the first in a series of weekly concerts. Head to Old Town on Wednesday, 11/12 for Choco Orta, the improviser of “sonero” in traditional Salsa! Orta will perform with Chicago’s best salsa musicians under the direction of Papo Santiago. Then go back again to hear Alisa Simms “The Queen of Chicago Soul” and after that see Barbatuques from Brazil.
Did I mention this concert series is FREE?!!! Every single one of them, except Choco. Now, go get your AfroFolk on!