What'cha looking for?
On Saturday, June 20th, at 4 pm CST, Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang will play the sun into it’s yearly apex, which takes place at 4:43 pm CST that day. And we’re very excited to announce that we’re now partnering with our friends at Experimental Sound Studio to bring this concert to you live. As organizers of the renowned COVID-era Quarantine Concerts, and a longtime sister organization to Elastic Arts, we couldn’t be happier to announce this partnership!
We hope this special ritual will bring our local and global community together, and launch us into a new era with a re-invigorated sense of purpose, mutual understanding, and gratitude for the diversity of peoples who meet in a place of love and respect to create and experience the art and music that we present.
THE SOLSTICE CONCERTS
Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang have been performing together as a duo since 1988, began their legendary Winter Solstice concerts in December 1990, and look forward to celebrating their 30th year of those special concerts in 2020. This annual event serves as a meditative point of reflection, transition, and renewal for so many in the community they’ve helped to create in Chicago, and worldwide, every year. This rare Summer Solstice Concert will serve as another time for reflection, when the sun reaches it’s apex. Although they’ve rarely celebrated the Summer Solstice with concerts in the past, the challenges worldwide right now make it the right time to usher in and celebrate a renewal of our shared humanity and purpose.
ABOUT THE MUSICIANS :
Hamid Drake is a brilliant, sensitive, endlessly rhythmic, intelligent, spiritual, and powerful Chicago-based drummer and percussionist born in 1955 in Monroe, Louisiana. His family moved to Evanston, Illinois when he was a child, at the same time that an older musician from Monroe named Fred Anderson made the same move. Hamid started out playing with local rock and R&B bands, which eventually brought him to Anderson’s attention, and the two worked together intensively from 1974 to 2010 when Fred moved on to another sphere. Through workshops Anderson gave in those early years, a young Drake first got to know Douglas Ewart, George Lewis, and other members of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). His relationship with drummer Ed Blackwell also dates from this period, and Blackwell still stands as one of his most significant percussion influences. Drake also first met Don Cherry in 1978, and worked extensively with him until Cherry’s death in 1995.
Early groups of his own such as Mandingo Griot Society, a longstanding duo with percussionist Adam Rudolph, extensive work in reggae bands, study of Caribbean music more generally, and studies in Indian percussion techniques, helped to broaden Drake’s musical language further.
Now touring and recording all over the world, in constant demand, Drake has played and / or recorded with luminaries including Fred Anderson, Peter Brötzmann, Don Cherry, Marilyn Crispell, Pierre Dorge, Johnny Dyani, Hassan Hakmoun, Herbie Hancock, Joseph Jarman, George Lewis, Sabir Mateen, Joe McPhee, David Murray, William Parker, Jim Pepper, Dewey Redman, Adam Rudolph, Pharoah Sanders, Foday Musa Suso, John Tchicai, and almost all the members of the AACM.
Michael Zerang was born in Chicago, Illinois, 1958, and is a first-generation American of Assyrian decent. He has been a professional musician, composer, producer, and educator since 1976, focusing extensively on improvised music, free jazz, contemporary composition, puppet theater, experimental theater, and international musical forms.
As a percussionist and composer, Zerang has over eighty-five titles in his discography and has toured and performed nationally and internationally to 35 countries since 1981, and continues to work with and ever-widening pool of collaborators.
As an ensemble member, Zerang has worked in a concentrated fashion with many working bands over the years, contributing as a composer and performer to the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, Liof Munimula, Survival Unit III, Brötzmann/McPhee/Kessler/Zerang Quartet, Resonance Ensemble, Friction Brothers, and The Winter Solstice Concerts with Hamid Drake – an annual event in Chicago since 1990.
As an arts activist, Michael founded and was the artistic director of the Link’s Hall Performance Series in Chicago from 1985 -1989 where he produced over 300 concerts of jazz, traditional ethnic folk music, electronic music, and other forms of forward thinking music. Michael was a Board Member of Links Hall from 1989 – 2013. He continued to produce concerts at Cafe Urbus Orbis from 1994-1996, and at his own space, The Candlestick Maker in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood, from 2001 – 2005. All of these efforts at grass-roots activism yielded expanding opportunities for contemporary local, national and international artists in Chicago, and have added to the vibrant underground culture of the city. All of the concerts he produced at Links Hall and at Candlestick Maker have been documented on audio-tape and are available for scholars, researchers, and the public at the Creative Audio Archive at the Experimental Sound Studios in Chicago.
Michael has sat on the Board of Directors of several small arts organizations including Links Hall, Experimental Sound Studio, Curious Theater Branch, The Children’s School, and The Elastic Arts Foundation.
He’s also taught countless master classes as a guest artist, including those at Universitè Toulouse, Gulbenkian Museum (Lisbon, Portugal), Irtijal Festival (Beirut, Lebanon); The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Dance Center of Columbia College, Northwestern University, and MoMing Dance and Arts Center.