Cool Vibes: Free Latin Summer Series with Esso Afrojam, Billi
August 31 @ 9:00 pm - 2:00 am| Free
Cultural consciousness, unity and celebratory dance are the ideals behind multicultural musical outfit ¡ESSO! Afrojam Funkbeat. The Chicago based ensemble perform a unique interfusion of Afro-Latin inspired compositions and jams. Influenced by the global troubadours and subversive thinkers of an emerging counterculture in the 70s and 80s, the band pays homage to the traditional and progressive while taking their own step forward.
The rustic rhythms of Fela spiced with the textures of Fania blend with an improvisational ritual resembling the Funk Brothers; all from the streets that birthed house music. ¡ESSO! has experimental roots with live musicians setting the stage for soul singers, “coro” group singing, and poetic emcees. This platform has cemented into a diverse group finding an outlet at global street festivals and venues with an impassioned heart on its studied sleeve.
What began as the house band for a live music night in downtown Chicago became a full band performing on the city’s global music scene. The cast of rotating members, pieced together from various recording projects and bands, changed from month to month until a solid foundation settled to host special guests and members. Co-founders, Armando Pérez and Kevin Miller, spearhead the group with a singular vision in focus. Both, with notable Chicago bands, Jugo de Mango and Suena Latin Jazz, respectively, bring experience and structure to the group. Along with an energetic pool of Djs, producers, organizers and bands of equal ilk, ¡ESSO! (El Sonido Sonic Octopus) began playing shows with emerging local talent and established artists alike.
¡ESSO! has performed with Ozomatli, Natalia Lafourcade, Cafe Tacuba, Kinky, Amigos Invisibles, Saul Williams, Bomba Estereo and more.
Billii is an Indie Rock/Alt-Gaze/Art-Pup band, created by Emmi Chen in Austin, Texas, in 2014. After skinning her knees with Ornery Little Darlings, learning to fly solo, and taking a double gulp of some kinda nutty tea out in the Texas hill country, Emmi knew it was time to build a music machine. At the time with interests in the lives of Billie Holiday and Billy the Kid, Emmi added the ‘i’ of her own name and created Billii, which coincidentally has a sort of “party” meaning in a particular middle eastern language, but really it’s all about that “third i”. Now in 2017, after a 4 song EP and a Christmas single later, Billii consists of a 4 piece band, with Emmi Chen on vox and guitar, Dan Goebel on guitar, James Sargent on bass, and Stefan Benteler on drums, making Billii a well oiled machine with plans to record their first full length album in early 2018.