Bobby McFerrin brings his happiness tour to Chicago 

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LISTENING TO BOBBY McFerrin sing may be hazardous to your preconceptions. Side effects may include unparalleled joy, a new perspective on creativity, rejection of the predictable, and a sudden, irreversible, urge to lead a more spontaneous existence.

Vocal virtuoso and 10-time Grammy Award winner Bobby McFerrin & Gimme5: Circlesongs comes to City Winery Chicago in four performances over two nights on Friday-Saturday, February 22-23 at 7:00 and 10:00 p.m.

“Circlesongs” – choral pieces spontaneously composed each night and sung by a 12-voice ensemble (and, sometimes, by the whole crowd) – will feature McFerrin’s exhilarating vocal vocabulary, call and response, polyphonics and percussion, global rhythms, soaring melodies, lush harmonies, funny noises, invented language, silence, prayers, and laughter.

ON HIS ALBUM “Spirityouall,” Bobby McFerrin re-imagines Americana with beloved spirituals and original songs, raising the roof with joyful grooves.

“Circlesongs” will take you on a life-changing musical adventure. McFerrin’s music reminds us all of how much fun it is to be alive, to lift our voices and communicate with one another, to make a joyful noise.

McFerrin will take the stage with trusted members of his groundbreaking a cappella group Voicestra. They are all masters of the art of play, and together they will lead Circlesongs. “I want to bring audiences into the incredible feeling of freedom that I get when I sing,” says Bobby. “I want everyone to leave the theatre and sing in their own kitchens the next morning.”

A cappella singers, beatboxers, and vocalists of all genres claim Bobby McFerrin as an inspiration. The jazz and classical worlds celebrate his innovative technique and spirit. His solo performances and collaborations — with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, pianists Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, the Vienna and New York Philharmonic orchestras, and eager volunteers from audiences all over the world — are legendary. Ten Grammy Awards and his #1 global hit “Don’t Worry Be Happy” are pretty impressive, but “Bobby McFerrin’s greatest gift to his audience may be changing them from spectators into celebrants,” says the Los Angeles Times, “transforming a concert hall into a playground, a village center, a joyous space.” Join the circle and sing along.

The Associated Press writes: “McFerrin borrows from African, Caribbean, Persian, Jewish, and Muslim cultures, and he uses R&B and funk, too. The result is a set of soaring, spiritual performances that are exotic and hypnotic. In ‘Circlesongs’ McFerrin has found a fresh way to strike a chord.”

And finally, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer notes McFerrin’s longevity and importance to the music scene: “A musician worthy of respect, McFerrin is also an entertainer who draws audiences to him, and thus the type of performer we desperately need in classical music today.”

Although McFerrin has been involved in the music scene since the 70s, he gained widespread acclaim with the highly-spirited hit “Don’t Worry Be Happy” in 1988.

At the 1989 Grammy Awards, “Don’t Worry Be Happy” won ‘Best Song of the Year.’ And it’s hard to mention this title without breaking out in song. Some of the lyrics to this fan favorite for more than 30 years are:

Here’s a little song I wrote

You might want to sing it note for note

Don’t Worry Be Happy

In every life we have some trouble

But when you worry you make it double

Don’t Worry Be Happy

Ain’t got no place to lay your head, somebody came and took your bed

Don’t Worry Be Happy

The landlord say your rent is late, he may have to litigate

Don’t Worry Be Happy

Ain’t got no cash, ain’t got no style, ain’t got no gal to make you smile

Don’t Worry Be Happy

Cause when you worry your face will frown and that will bring every body down

Don’t Worry Be Happy

© ProbNoblem Music (BMI)

For more information about “Circlesongs,” visit https://citywinery.com/ chicago/bobby-mcferrin-gimme5-7pm-2-22-19.html

Elaine Hegwood Bowen, M.S.J., is the Entertainment Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. She is also the author of “Old School Adventures from Englewood—South Side of Chicago.”

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