South Asia Institute, 1925 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60616

The Shades of Blue, all building open house programs are featured in conjunction with the South Asia Institute’s upcoming “Indigo: The Blue Gold” art exhibition by Shelly Jyoti which is focused on and is themed around the history associated with the blue dye derived from the indigo plant that has touched many communities across the world. Through this series of free performances and events, the South Asia Institute (SAI) looks to help highlight, educate, and celebrate the roots and journeys of Chicago blues music and jazz music, and South Asian performing arts and share the parallel stories of the color blue dye and Indigo plant’s own journey. From first being harvested and cultivated in India and Africa, then its own journey to the early American South. In the series of all-building open-house events, SAI will engage audiences with poets, dancers, films, and music performances by noted local and international touring jazz, blues, classical, and world musicians.

Each event of the four-part series will feature poetry, dance, music ensembles and film screening events taking place throughout the three-level building at staggered starting times. Locations for each floor will be in the first-floor gallery space and the second-floor performance hall.

Music performances by...

Kavita Shah's 'Cape Verde Blues'

A South Asian raised in NYC and trained jazz singer and composer, Kavita Shah and her 'Cape Verde Blues' Project will perform. Kavita Shah is an award-winning vocalist, composer, researcher, and educator who makes work in deep engagement with the jazz tradition, while also addressing and advancing its global sensibilities. A lifelong New Yorker of Indian origin hailed for possessing an “amazing dexterity for musical languages” (NPR), Shah incorporates her ethnographic research on Brazilian, West African, and Indian musical traditions into her original repertoire. In 2023, after six years of immersing in the traditional mornas and coladeiras music of her idol Cesária Évora on the Atlantic island of São Vicente, Shah will release her new album and tour her 'Cape Verdean Blues' with Évora's former collaborators and some of the most acclaimed musicians from Cape Verde including, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Rufino "Bau" Almeida and percussionist Miroca Paris (Madonna) and guitarist Jorge Almeida.

The Arab Blues featuring special guest Arun Vishwanath

Chicago's very own The Arab Blues featuring special guest South Asian percussionist Arun Vishwanath on mridangam drum and percussion will also perform a special set of music. The Arab Blues was developed by Lebanese-Egyptian oud, buzuq, and guitar player Rami Gabriel through a research fellowship at the Center for Black Music Research, two Illinois artist grants, and a decade of experience as a jazz and blues musician in Chicago. Native Egyptian, Chicago based percussionist Karim Nagi is a two-time beneficiary of the Doris Duke Build Bridges grant for Muslim artists, a TEDx speaker, and accomplished teacher who plays traditional and non-traditional Middle Eastern percussion instuments including Riqq, Tublah, and uniquely assembled drumset.

Dance Performance by...

Ishti Collective celebrates expressions, shares joy through collaborative practices, and fosters meaningful dialogue through radical acts of dance, storytelling, and artistic risk-taking. Ishti fosters an environment where artists engage with the community to generate meaningful and accessible works that reflect our current times. Ishti's works have been presented their dance programs at the Defibrillator Gallery, High Concept Labs, Zhou B Arts, Chicago Fringe, Pivot Arts, Elevate Chicago, Going Dutch, Festival ; amongst others. Featured dancers Tuli Bera and Kinnari Vora are looking forward to presenting a special duet for the Shades of Blue series at the South Asia Institute.

Film Screening...

‘Blue Alchemy: Stories of Indigo’ a feature length documentary that explores the history and reveals the beauty and importance of indigo, weaving together stories about textiles and culture and interviews with artists, artisans, and historians. (2011, 79 min, Directed by Mary Lance)

All Shades of Blues events are FREE and open to all.

*The Shades of Blues series is supported by a grant from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.


South Asia Institute

1925 South Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL 60616 United States

More Info (External Link)
October 15, 2023

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