Chicago Folklore Ensemble helps share and pass on the stories and musical knowledge of immigrants through performances that interweave music and storytelling.
The ensemble was founded in 2015 by violinists Lucia Thomas and Sam Hyson. Lucia and Sam studied for many months with five master musicians from Serbia, Jordan, Ghana, Argentina, and Thailand. After they had gathered up many melodies and memories, they wove them together into arrangements for string quartet and storyteller, and presented them with the ensemble in a performance series entitled The World In Chicago.
In 2016, Chicago Folklore Ensemble expanded on that work, releasing a CD of traditional music and a book of oral histories. They created a show for children called Follow the Butterfly, featuring international music paired with folktales about living in harmony with the earth. They have performed in venues and festivals around the Chicago area including: TEDxUChicago Conference, Old Town School of Folk Music, City Winery, Pivot Arts Festival, live on WBEZ’s Worldview, and at numerous Chicago Public Schools in collaboration with the Ravinia Festival.