Chicago’s very own Latin GRAMMY and GRAMMY Award nominated Sones de México Ensemble, one of the world’s preeminent folk music artists, team up with the Consulate General of Mexico in Chicago, and the International Latino Cultural Center to celebrate Mexico and the 100th anniversary of the city’s iconic Navy Pier, bringing a screening of silent film pioneer Sergei Eisenstein’s lost classic ¡Que Viva Mexico! accompanied by a new live score composed, arranged and performed by Sones de México Ensemble to the Navy Pier IMAX Theatre, 700 East Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611, on Sunday, April 3rd, at 10:00am. Sones de México Ensemble will also perform their engaging and informative program “Beyond the Music: A Musical Geography of Mexico” at Navy Pier’s beautiful Crystal Gardens at 2:45pm and then will close the event with an energetic grand finale in collaboration with folk dancers from Ballet Quetzalcóatl. All performances are free and open to the public.
Sones de México Ensemble’s performances are part of “Celebrate Mexico”, joining a full day of Mexican dance, music and family fun at Navy Pier’s “Neighborhoods of the World” series. The Ensemble was formed in 1994 and soon incorporated as a non-profit organization to keep the tradition of Mexican ‘son’ alive in its many regional forms; encompassing the roots of mariachi music and other regional styles, including huapango, gustos, chilenas, son jarocho, and more. As a performer and recording artist, the Ensemble has developed and popularized many original arrangements of Mexican traditional tunes. Its original work has experimented cross-culturally with symphonic, Irish, folk, blues, C&W, jazz and rock, though never abandoning its roots in Mexican ‘son’. The group has released six CDs: íQue Florezca! (Let it Bloom); Fandango on 18th Street; the Latin GRAMMY and GRAMMY Award nominated Esta Tierra Es Tuya (This Land is Your Land); Fiesta Mexicana (a children’s album); íViva la Revolución!; and 13 B’ak’tun.
The ¡Que Viva México! live score, which the Ensemble debuted in April 2015, will be enhanced in this 10:00am performance by the immersive viewing experience of the Navy Pier IMAX Theatre. “Eisenstein’s cinematography is filled with stunningly beautiful black and white imagery,” says Juan Díes, the Ensemble’s co-founder and executive director. “Up to now we’ve only seen it on smaller conventional movie screens. Seeing it for the first time in IMAX was mind-blowing.”
In 1930, Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein traveled to Mexico to begin work on a comprehensive, 4-part story of Mexican history through the lens of both the Russian & Mexican revolutions. Eisenstein shot over 30 hours of film, but never completed the movie. Various short films were made using the existing footage, but a serious attempt at a restoration honoring Eisenstein’s intent didn’t arrive until 1979 when Grigori Alexandrov, another Russian director who accompanied Eisenstein on the shoot, released ¡Que Viva México! Sones de México, under the direction of Ensemble member Zacbe Pichardo, has re-scored the film with music that is culturally more authentic to the people and regions portrayed. Projected English subtitles are accompanied by a Spanish narration translated from the original Russian.
“Beyond the Music: A Musical Geography of Mexico” features lectures and demonstrations of folk music and traditional dance from the various geographic regions of Mexico in a manner that is engaging, entertaining and informative. It is presented in English or Spanish in order to reach as wide an audience as possible, and will tour the United States later this year. The program is made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Additional performers joining “Neighborhoods of the World: Celebrate Mexico” include Ballet Folklórico Sones Mexicanos, Marimba la Merced, Ballet Folklórico P’urhépecha Las Guarecitas, Ballet Folklórico Quetzalcóatl, Unión de Asociaciones Charras del Estado de Illinois and three comparsa groups: Comparsa La Explosiva de Morelos, Comparsa México and Comparsa La Pura Lumbre. “Celebrate Mexico” is emceed by 9-time Emmy nominated journalist, entrepreneur, author, music writer, television and radio host Angelica Atondo.
Chicago area organizations including the National Museum of Mexican Art, “Yo Soy México Fotografía” (photo exhibit), Club Olinalacos en Acción, Club Casa Chiapas, Organización Bailando Danzón, Unión de Asociaciones Charras del Estado de Illinois, UNAM-Chicago and the International Latino Cultural Center’s 32nd Chicago Latino Film Festival will be featured in a Cultural Expo.
Food exhibitors will include Lindo Michoacán Restaurant, New Rebozo Restaurant, Chef Rene Sota’s “Tuna Divina,” and Chef Dudley Nieto. [from Sones de México Ensemble Celebrates Mexico and the 100th Anniversary of Navy Pier press release]
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