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Global Union celebrates 10 years of live world music on September 19

Alverno Presents will be celebrating 10 years of Global Union on September 19 in Humboldt Park in Bay View. The world music festival marks the end of the summer festival season in Milwaukee.  The free and all-age festival will feature music from Aziz Sahmaoui and the University of Gnawa, Karolina Cicha and Bart Palyga, Boogat, and La Chiva Gantiva. 

88Nine's Marcus Doucette will be the festival host and WMSE's Paul Cebar will be DJing in between sets.  There will also be a variety of foods from around the world. 

Here is the schedule for Global Union

12:30 PM: Aziz Sahmaoui and the University of Gnawa

Gnawa music is a rich repertoire of ancient African Islamic spiritual religious songs and rhythms. Though many of the influences that formed this music can be traced to sub-Saharan West-Africa, its traditional practice is concentrated in Morocco and the Béchar Province in South-western Algeria. Gnawa has fascinated European and North American musicians for over 40 years—since guitarist Brian Jones recorded Brian Jones Presents The Pipes Of Pan At Joujouka (Rolling Stones Records, 1971) over an epically stoned weekend in the Ahl Srif mountains in 1968.

Enter Aziz Sahmaoui, gimbri and ngoni virtuoso and ex-member of the late keyboardist Joe Zawinul's Zawinul Syndicate. Sahmaoui was brought up in the southern city of Marrakech, for centuries the major hub on trade routes north from Senegal, Mali and Guinea, the black African countries where the gnawa style has its roots. At age seven, he began learning the tradition from his father, and as the name of the band tells you, gnawa is the root of his music. 

Sahmaoui relocated to France in the late 1980s, and in 1995 was a founder member of the Paris-based Orchestre National De Barbes, a pan-Maghrebi ensemble of expatriate Berber and Arab musicians. He was a member of the Zawinul Syndicate for six years, recording Vienna Nights (BHM, 2005), along with two albums released after Zawinul's 2007 passing. 

Aziz Sahmaoui & University Of Gnawa puts electric guitars and keyboards on an equal footing with Sahmaoui's gimbri, gnawa's signature instrument, and its West African forerunner, the ngoni, while never overwhelming either of them—and keeps Maghrebi percussion instruments at the center of things. 

Its leader aside, University Of Gnawa is mostly composed of Senegalese musicians: guitarist Hervé Samb, bassist Alioune Wade (a longtime member of Niger-born, Senegalese-based guitarist and singer Ismaël Lô's band) and keyboards and kora player Cheikh Diallo. These Senegalese musicians allow Sahmaoui to dig deep into gnawa's pre-Moroccan roots. 

The music is an intoxicating affair, visceral and groove-centric yet also nuanced and multilayered.  Sahmaoui's vocals—rich and throaty, without the nasal edge associated with older gnawa singers—are welcome features.  His lyrics address modern challenges such as poverty and warfare through a folkloric prism.

2:00 PM: Karolina Cicha and Bart Palyga

Karolina Cicha and Bart Pa?yga visit the United States for the first time this fall! Their tour will promote Many languages, a project showcasing the multicultural region of Podlasie.

Many Languages is linked to the traditions of Podlasie, the home region of multi-instrumental-ist and composer Karolina Cicha. The project draws on the full range of traditional music, but rather than an archival compilation, it’s a compact whole, speaking the language of contempo-rary music. This language is built on the innovative style of the two performers, their charisma, and their experience in musical expression from folk, ancient and rock music projects. Many Languages features songs in the minority languages of the Podlasie region of northeast Poland, bordering Russia, Lithuania and Belarus: Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Russian, Romani, Belarusian, Yiddish, Polish, Tatar and Esperanto. Traditional folk instruments, such as the morinhuur, dorar, drumla, duduk, accordion, pipe and mandolin are joined by modern samplers and loopers, as well as ancient overtone singing. Many Languages was awarded the Grand Prix of the Polish Radio New Tradition Festival and has been performed at the most prestigious folk festivals. This fall, the concert will be staged as part of the official selection of the World Music Expo WOMEX in Budapest.

Karolina Cicha is a vocalist, composer, actor and multi-instrumentalist. From 2005-2009 she was a member of the Gardzienice Theater Practice Center and created the title roles in their productions of Electra and Iphigenia in A…. Her new album, Yiddishland, with songs composed to texts written by Jewish poets from Podlasie region, will premiere at the 2015 Warsaw Singer Festival. Her newest project, Poland – Pakistan: Music Without Borders was produced with the support of the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Islamabad. The goal of this musical journey was a collaboration between Karolina Cicha and Shafqat Ali Khan, a songwriter and master of the ghazal.

Bart Pa?yga is a cellist, multi-instrumentalist and improvisational artist. He specializes in more than a dozen folk and string instruments from around the world. He has collaborated with the bands Laterna, Masala, Village Kollektiv, Arcus Poloniae, the Polish Ensemble, Yerba Mater and the Maria Pomianowska Ensemble.

3:30 PM: Boogat

Based in Montreal, Boogat is a rapper, writer and producer. From 1996 to 2001 he was the frontman for the underground hip-hop group Andromaick. Under the name Daniel Russo Garrida, he put a first solo disc, Tristes et belles histoires (2004), later switching to the stage name Boogat. From 2004 to 2009, he performed with the Movèzerbe collective. In 2010, he undertook a post hip-hop project in Spanish, putting out a mixtape, Que Pegue Duro y Violento, that featured an intense urban sound, a blend of nueva cumbia and dancehall. He also began producing other artists. His collaborations include Poirier, Roberto López Project, and many musicians on the Quebec hip-hop scene, as well as in the U.S., Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. El Dorado Sunset came out in 2013

5:00 PM: La Chiva Gantiva

La Chiva Gantiva began in Brussels when three young Colombian students started to play percussion together. Driven by a desire to assert their roots, they began to blend Afro-Colombian rhythms with other styles of music they loved: rock, afrobeat, and funk. Soon joined by four other musicians (two Belgians, a Frenchman and a Vietnamese), they started performing around the world, and their exciting, explosive show conquered media and public alike.

Signed to Crammed Discs, La Chiva Gantiva released their second album, "Vivo", in February 2014. Recorded in their own studio (which they built for the occasion, upstairs from a bar in central Brussels), "Vivo" was mixed in New York by Joel Hamilton (Blakroc, Sparklehorse, Marc Ribot, Bomba Estereo) with the band's two main composers, vocalist Rafael Espinel and guitarist Felipe Deckers.

While the album's powerful sound reflects La Chiva Gantiva's incredible live energy, their "frenetic carnival-punk racket that detonates like a Molotov cocktail of rock, rap, soul and ferociously funky Latin rhythms (as described by The Times), "Vivo" also contains songs in which the band further explore several musical directions, such as traditional percussion patterns and new sonic territories, while remaining grounded in their trademark rock/afrobeat fundamentals, punctuated by exuberant horn riffs.

Director of Digital | Radio Milwaukee