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Five Picks To Click For World Music Fest 2012

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 21, 2012 6:00PM

Rana Santacruz plays the National Museum of Mexican Art Sunday (Image via
World Music Festival 2012 kicks off tonight with free performances across the city over the next seven days featuring a litany of international and local acts all penned under the "world music" umbrella.

Since it's debut in 1999, World Music Fest has grown to become one of the city's most anticipated music festivals and, along with Chicago Gospel Fest, is one of the few to look past Grant and Millennium Parks to incorporate the city's neighborhoods. This year concerts are scheduled in Rogers Park, Austin, Humboldt Park, Pilsen, Bronzeville, Gage Park, Hyde Park, and Chinatown. If ever there was an opportunity to become a tourist in your home town, World Music Fest is it.

Here are five acts you shouldn't miss.

Delhi 2 Dublin

Bands meshing European folk music with Asian rhythms are a dime a dozen. This Vancouver-based group traffics in a pulsing blend of Celtic folk music and Bhangra that’s tailor made for jam band enthusiasts as well as fans of electronica and house. They should be primed to set the dance floor at Martyrs’ on fire this evening. (3855 N. Lincoln, 9:30 p.m., Kalyan Pathak’s Jazz Mata opens.)

Rana Santacruz

This Mexico City native has been described as a cross between Mariachi music and Tom Waits. Santacruz’s career started in the Mexican rock band La Cantina but it was a move to New York that expanded his musical palette to include elements of American bluegrass, the folk rock of the Pogues, The Smiths, Waits, lyrical inspiration from Gabriel Garcia Marquez and incorporating Mexican film elements into his stage show. Santacruz’s energetic January 2011 performance at Mayne Stage was a revelation and we can’t wait for him to thrill the crowds Sunday at the National Museum of Mexican Art. (1852 W. 19th St., 7 p.m. Son del Viento opens.)

Renato Anesi Trio

Brazilian guitarist Anesi was trained in playing sambas and choros almost from the moment he was born: his father was his first teacher. He started his professional career at 16 as a guitarist for Zé Geraldo and later made inroads as a composer for theatrical productions and became a luthier. His current work incorporates elements of fusion and rock. (Chicago Cultural Center, Sept. 25, 12:15 p.m.)

The Pedrito Martinez Group

Havana-born vocalist and percussionist Pedro Pablo "Pedrito" Martinez began his professional career at 11 playing with the legendary group Los Munequitos de Matanzas. Canadian reedist Jane Bunnett recruited Martinez for her band, Spirits of Havana, and he decided to stay in North America after his stint with her. He made his way to New York City where he quickly made inroads in the jazz and Latin Music scenes there and was a member of Latin party rockers Yerba Buena for a spell. Martinez's music as a bandleader mines traditional Latin styles, rumba predominant among them. Few young percussionists are as exciting on the congas. (Humboldt Park Boathouse, Sept. 26, with Buya Bomba Ensemble)

Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan

The sarod, along with the sitar, is the most popular and prominent instrument in Indian classical music. This fretless instrument is known for its deeper tone than the sitar, while those who play it can still bend notes with the glissandi that help define Indian music. Amaan and Ayaan Ali Khan are the latest in seven generations of their family to master the sarod and are prominent figures on the classical touring circuit. They also have an ear pointed to modern, Western influences and have collaborated with Derek Trucks. (Sept. 27, Chicago Cultural Center's Claudia Cassidy Theater, 7 p.m.)