Your evening commute during the second and third week of June just got more interesting. Thanks to the Old Town School of Folk Music, a host of traditional musicians will descend upon 40 different CTA stations around the city, playing music that represents the patchwork of international communities around Chicago.
Dubbed "Iron Heart Chicago," the idea of the project is to transform the daily commute into a cultural experience, and as such will play host to a broad spectrum of traditional musicians. Blues, Irish folk, mariachi and traditional Chinese music, created by guitars, drums, fiddles, horns and even the Chinese erhu, are just a few of the sounds that will be heard during the full run of the project. The best part: you don't even need a train ticket. Performers will be stationed on specially-built stages at ground level outside L stops for all eight lines, so anyone passing by can pause and enjoy them.
The lineup of Iron Heart performers includes musicians renowned in their own niches and respective countries, but relatively unknown among most Americans. They include Irish fiddler Liz Carroll (above, left), a Chicago native who gained acclaim for being named the All-Ireland Fiddle Champion. Another local legend, Mississippi-born Jimmy Burns (above, right) will grace the Halsted Orange Line station with his signature Delta blues sound. Even Chicago's Greek and Turkish population is represented by Jim Stoynoff (below), who in the past has collaborated with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Yo-Yo Ma, among many others.
For a full list of performers, information and schedules, visit ironheartchicago.org. And come June 10, keep your eyes and ears peeled for the unique melodies of Chicago's vast international community.