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Columbia College Chicago
Ensemble Kalinda Chicago
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Ensemble Kalinda Chicago


Top left photo: Carlos "Quinto" Equis-Aguila; top center photo: Ensemble Kalinda Chicago; top right photo: special guest artist Liam Teague; bottom photo (l to r): Paulinho Garcia and special guest artist Charles Cameron.

Eight Chicago musicians who performed folk and popular music from all regions of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean composed Ensemble Kalinda Chicago, the performance group of the Center's Project Kalinda. The group performed selections from genres such as the son, samba, méringue/merengue, bomba y plena, salsa, calypso, bolero and cha cha cha in lecture-demonstrations.

From its debut in September 1994, Ensemble Kalinda Chicago (EKC) presented about 30 lecture-demonstrations and performances, reaching a total live audience of approximately 8,250 persons in the Chicago area. In addition, the group performed in Pittsburgh; that performance was recorded by South Carolina Educational Television for "The African-American Music Tree" series, which was broadcast nationally by 147 stations via the Public Radio International network and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The Ensemble performed to consistent critical acclaim, with one critic stating that the group had taken its place among the most important music ensembles in Chicago. The educational component of the lecture-performances informed audiences of the historic impact the African Diaspora had upon the societies, cultures, and arts of the West Indies and the Americas. The common origins of many of the musical forms and styles and the resulting commonalities among the various musical practices of several countries were demonstrated both verbally and musically. The Ensemble's repertoire includes works from Cuba, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad, and the United States.

Several guest musicians and music ensembles appeared with EKC, including solo artists from Trinidad, Jamaica, and Haiti, as well as acclaimed trumpeter Jerry Gonzalez, the leader of the internationally renowned Fort Apache Band. Ensembles that appeared with EKC include Sones de México (Chicago), the batá drumming ensemble Del Sur y del Caribe (Chicago), and the Rising Stars Youth Steel Orchestra (St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands). The Ensemble performed for many important cultural events and venues, including the Viva Chicago festival and activities sponsored by the Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, the Chicago Cultural Center, the Puerto Rican Cultural Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Jazz Institute of Chicago, the DuSable Museum of Afro-American Culture, Malcolm X College, and Northwestern University.

Ensemble Kalinda Members

Due in part to the good press and reviews received by the ensemble, Ocean Records, an internationally distributed label based in New York, engaged the group to record a full-length CD that features the group's diverse repertoire. The CD is titled Kalinda Kaliente and can be heard right here on our web site. Ensemble Kalinda Chicago, under the auspices of Ocean Records and American International Artists, has performed at Detroit Symphony Hall and on tour in Ohio.