Strolling Violin, International Music, Serenades, Wedding Music, Duos and Ensembles, Accordion and Other Instruments
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Sam & Juan , a duo consisting of Sam Hyson and Juan Lucero, perform music from Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and beyond for romantic serenades, private parties, and other events.
Compass Rose, a violin duo consisting of violinists Lucia Thomas and Sam Hyson, performs their own arrangements of international, classical, and popular music. They have performed for Night Out in the Parks and at numerous weddings, restaurants, retirement homes, fundraisers, and house concerts.
Chicago Folklore Ensemble, founded by Lucia Thomas and Sam Hyson, works with musicians who immigrated to Chicago from around the world to create shows that combine storytelling and traditional music. They have created three shows featuring immigrant musicians, two shows for kids, two albums of music, and a book of immigrant stories. Chicago Folklore Ensemble has performed at the Chicago Cultural Center, Old Town School of Folk Music, TEDxChicago, numerous public schools and libraries, and many other locations and events in the Chicago area.
Ochin Pakhi is a Bengali folk band made up of friends from India, United States, and Bangladesh who sing, dance, and play a myriad of instruments. Their repertoire includes songs by Lalon Fakir, Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, and other great Bengali songwriters, as well as original songs in Bengali and traditional songs of the Baul/Fakir tradition. Ochin Pakhi has performed for Night Out in the Parks, the Skokie Festival of World Cultures, at the Bengali Association of Greater Chicago, and at University of Illinois at Chicago.
Shalizar Ensemble is a Persian folk band made up of friends from Iran and the United States who sing and play traditional music from Iran and Central Asia, as well as original songs in Farsi. They have performed at University of Chicago, Night Out in the Parks, and Alhambra Palace.
Salaam-Shalom is an interfaith band that grew out of collaborations between members of Maxwell Street Klezmer Band and musicians from Chicago’s Arab and Muslim communities. They perform music from the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and South Asia, and have performed at Old Town School of Folk Music, Evanston SPACE, and numerous other venues in the Chicago region.
A preview of Chicago Folklore Ensemble’s upcoming album of Bengali songs and poetry by Rabindranath Tagore:
The World in Chicago (Book and CD)
Music and stories of musicians who immigrated to Chicago from Argentina, Thailand, Jordan, Ghana, and Serbia. The CD features the five master musicians accompanied by string quartet, with arrangements by Sam Hyson and Lucia Thomas. The book connects the songs on the CD to stories from the remarkable lives of the five featured musicians, and includes beautiful illustrations. Order here or listen the the album on Spotify and other streaming services.
Sam Hyson is a Chicago-based musician with a passion for international music. He performs on violin, accordion, and other instruments, and has studied numerous international music styles with Chicago immigrant musicians from Serbia, Argentina, Ghana, Thailand, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, and India. He cofounded Chicago Folklore Ensemble, with whom he collaborated to produce numerous concerts, two albums of music, and a book of immigrant stories which he co-edited. As an artistic collaborator, he is distinguished by his wide repertoire, quick memorization, improvisational versatility, broad knowledge of theory and harmony, and research and writing skills. He is a classically-trained violinist whose professional experience includes strolling violin, wedding music, recording, accompaniment for theater and storytelling, and music transcription and arrangement. He has performed on oud in theatrical performances with nationally acclaimed playwright Rohina Malik. He plays Mexican and Latin music with Cielito Lindo Family Folk Band and with the duo Sam & Juan, Bengali folk music with Ochin Pakhi, Persian music with Shalizar Ensemble, Klezmer and Arabic music with the Salaam-Shalom Music Project, and a variety of international music with two groups he cofounded: Chicago Folklore Ensemble and Compass Rose Violin Duo.
More Videos and Photos
The Mexican son jarocho song El Cascabel, played by Sam Hyson and Lucia Thomas of Compass Rose. Sam Hyson wrote the arrangement, which incorporates elements of son jarocho, son huasteco, and mariachi versions of the song:
Performing the a Syrian folksong with El Wadi Ensemble for the El Pueblo Canta Virtual Concert, 2020:
Performing with Cielito Lindo at The Second City, Chicago:
Performing with Cielito Lindo at Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago’s Millennium Park:
Performing for Chicago elementary school students with Chicago Folklore Ensemble:
Journalist Soledad O’Brien (right) dancing to Cuban music played by Sam & Juan and percussionist Sammie Torres at Illinois State University’s Latino Cultural Dinner:
Performing on kamancheh with Shalizar Ensemble for Chicago Park District’s Night Out in the Parks:
Performing Where Rivers Meet with Chicago Folklore Ensemble at the Chicago Cultural Center, with musicians from Egypt, Palestine, and Iraq:
Performing with Ochin Pakhi at Wishbone restaurant: