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New sound system, free concerts await at Millennium Park Summer Music Series

Jupiter & Okwess is among the lineup for this year's Millennium Park Summer Music Concert Series. | Micky Clement

Jupiter & Okwess is among the lineup for this year's Millennium Park Summer Music Concert Series. | Micky Clement

The sounds emanating from the 2019 Millennium Park Summer Music Series will be a whole lot sweeter thanks to a $2.5 million upgrade in the outdoor venue’s concert sound system.

That enhancement, along with the lineup for the primarily indie-rock series, running June 13 to August 15 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, was announced Thursday. Rain or shine, all concerts are free and begin at 6:30 p.m. Visit millenniumpark.org.

Here’s a look at the summer’s lineup per the official announcement from the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events:

JUNE 13:
Mt. Joy: Following tours and performances with the likes of The Shins and The Head and the Heart, the Philadelphia indie rockers released their self-titled debut album last year.

Rayland Baxter: His 2018 release, “Wide Awake” comes on the heels of three months of soul-searching by the Nashville singer-songwriter.

JUNE 17:
Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles: The Grammy Award-winning organist and band are touring behind their debut album “Art of Love,” a blend of blues, soul, Afrobeat, gospel and jazz.

— Liniker e os Caramelows: Champions of Black Brazilian music and fronted by trans woman Liniker Barros, the group blends soul, R&B and more as one of the hottest bands to emerge from Brazil.

Chucho Valdes | Carol Friedman Photo

Chucho Valdes | Carol Friedman Photo

JUNE 24:

Chucho Valdes & Jazz Batá: The six-time Grammy-wining pianist/band leader and legendary Afro-Cuban maestro.

— Fareed Haque and the music of Casseus: The classical/jazz guitar virtuoso celebrates the music of the late Haitian-American guitarist/composer Franz Casseus.

Flora Cash | Jared Thomas Kocka Photo

Flora Cash | Jared Thomas Kocka Photo

JUNE 27:

— Flora Cash: The Swedish husband-wife duo Shpresa Lleshaj and Cole Randall present a program of indie folk and pop.

— Susto: Indie rock and alternative country are the core of the South Carolina troupe, fronted by singer-songwriter Justin Osborne and  touring behind their 2019 release “Ever Since I Lost My Mind.”

JULY 1:

— Car Seat Headrest: The Indie-electronic pop rock troupe boasts Will Toledo, Andrew Katz, Ethan Ives and Seth Dalby. They’re on the road behind the recently released/re-recorded “Twin Fantasy.”

— Naked Giants: The rockers — Grant Mullen, Gianni Aiello and Henry LaVallee — and frequent tour partners for Car Seat Headrest, are touring behind their debut album “SLUFF.”

JULY 8:

— Brent Cobb: Cobb’s 2018 release “Providence Canyon” continues his musical journey into Southern storytelling amid country-soul. He’s written songs for a host of country superstars including Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town.

Lydia Loveless | Courtesy DCASE

Lydia Loveless | Courtesy DCASE

— Lydia Loveless: The Ohio-born, alt-country star can sing it all, from top to classic country to honky tonk to punk rock.

JULY 18:

— J Dilla and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson: The DJ/educator Atwood-Ferguson celebrates Dilla’s music, through orchestral interpretations of his music and featuring the “Suite for Ma Dukes.”

— Kenny Keys: The Chicago native and acclaimed keyboardist/composer/educator most recently produced 2018’s “Corinthian Cadillac.”

JULY 25:

— Los Amigos Invisibles: The Venezuelan dance band combines disco, acid jazz, funk and Latin rhythms for their renown, highly charged live performances.

— Natalie Prass: The up-and-coming musicmaker released “The Future and The Past” in 2018.

JULY 29:

— Rev. Sekou: North Mississippi hill music-meets-Arkansas delta-blues-meets Memphis-.-meets pentecostal steel guitar when this activist/theologian/author/filmmaker takes the stage. His 2017 “We Comin'” is considered a modern civil rights anthem by many.

— Cha Wa: The band blends New Orleans brass band and Indian funk is touring behind their Grammy-nominated, sousaphone-infused “Spyboy.”

AUGUST 5:

— Chicago Celebrates the Music of Donny Hathaway: It’s a summertime party if ever there was one. The musical showcase will be directed by Corey Wilkes.

AUGUST 15:

— Jupiter & Okwess: Blend a touch of James Brown with a hint of Congolese rumba and you get where this dynamic troupe helmed by Jupiter Bokondji is coming from. Their critically acclaimed sophomore release, “Kin Sonic” surveys the musical heritage of the Congo via contemporary stylings. Socio-political themes run through much of Bokondji’s potent lyrics.

— Noura Mint Seymali: The griot vocalist and master of the ardine harp “merges the ancient musical traditions of Saharan and West Africa with a powerful, contemporary voice.