A tribe of music lovers is secretly and silently roaming around Chicago nearly every night of the year. You may have heard of them. If not, let me be the one to introduce you, and hopefully convince you to join us.

Sofar Sounds started in London after a night out with friends left a music-lover frustrated. He couldn’t hear the music over the chattering of other guests. So, he organized an intimate concert in his flat. The feeling was so magical that he started organizing more. Now, Sofar Sounds are organizing secret pop-up concerts in unique venues around the world. The non-profit is promoting local music and providing a particularly remarkable experience for music lovers in over 350 cities worldwide.

I have been attending Sofar concerts for the past four years and have seen shows in 3 cities: Houston, Nashville, and Chicago. At the show I went to this past Saturday (which was held in the loft of a flower shop and farmer’s market), there was a guest who had been to a Sofar show in Paris! So exciting!

The acts this past Saturday were: Calle Sur, Chicago Love Joy, and Esso AfroJam FunkBeat. The first and last bands sang in Spanish and shared influences from Panama, Costa Rica, Columbia and Venezuela. Each band in the lineup brought their own signature style to the show while simultaneously having to think through how to present their music in a way they normally don’t. The sets at Sofar shows are typically stripped down and acoustic. So, for instance, the Chicago Love Joy performed with just a guitarist and trumpet player when they would normally play with a six-piece band. After being to a few of these shows, I’ve heard more than one band say that it was a happy challenge to participate in.

Want to come to a show with me? Leave a comment below with the city that you live in and check out their concert calendar online.

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