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Artist/singer Sandra Antongiorgi talks career, upcoming benefit
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2018-01-15

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Puerto Rican-born singer, songwriter Sandra Antongiorgi will bring her unique brand of music to City Winery ( 1200 W. Randolph St. ) on Thursday, Jan. 18, at 6:30 p.m. with ESSO Afrojam Funkbeat, Los Pecados de Maria and DJ Cqqchifruit. The event will help raise funds to rebuild Puerto Rican farmlands that were devastated by Hurricane Maria.

"Art is a uniting force so I encourage folks to come out to support our efforts to make a difference while enjoying music that will range from Latin Alternative to Afro and Caribbean Roots Rock to Neo Latin Soul," said Antongiorgi.

Antongiorgi was born in Utuado, a small town surrounded by mountains in the center of Puerto Rico. Her parents moved to New York when she was a few months old and relocated to Chicago when she was one year old.

"We visited Puerto Rico a lot, so I have many childhood memories playing with cousins as they climbed palm trees to chop down coconuts and picking oranges from the trees," said Antongiorgi. "The island has a special place in my heart."

Antongiorgi's music is influenced by traditional Caribbean sounds, soul, R&B, rumba and gitano; creating her own expression of a world, Latin, Neo-Soul sound.

"Creating makes me feel alive," said Antongiorgi. "It forces me to be reflective and look inward and I take that energy and share it with the audience. I was brought up in a musical family and performed weekly at church. I started writing music and performing at a very young age.

"Painting and drawing felt like a natural next step. I indulged and quickly developed my love of and aptitude for visual arts in high school. I have always found such joy in expressing myself creatively. It is very satisfying. The medium is a tool for that expression."

The Chicago Reader named Antongiorgi's Pilsen mural collaboration with Sam Kirk—Weaving Cultures—honoring underrepresented women, Best Mural of 2017.

"Having a mural selected that celebrates women, by women, was a tremendously rewarding experience," said Antongiorgi. "The recognition felt like a celebration of all women who ever felt that they are not seen or heard. Sam and I chose to depict images of women, including a transgender woman, who are often erased from view because we felt it was so important that all women be embraced; that all women be represented."

Antongiorgi also produced another mural with Kirk in Logan Square last fall centering on gentrification issues in that neighborhood. She explained that it is a public tribute to a community going through change that they cannot control. Antongiorgi said it captures the personal, emotional and economic cost of gentrification.

"I believe the community appreciates the mural's honesty, energy and message," said Antongiorgi.

Antongiorgi has showcased her art in other venues including a solo show in early 2017 at the Paseo Boricua Gallery in Humboldt Park featuring a series that examined the natural and physical connections that define perception and being. She also helped curate an exhibit that chronicled the early work of Oscar Lopez Rivera as a Puerto Rican activist and organizer and the years of protests following his arrest at the Humboldt Park Boathouse Gallery.

"The exhibit culminated in a celebration welcoming Oscar back to Chicago after his release from prison for his fight for Puerto Rican independence," said Antongiorgi. "Currently, I am preparing/creating a body work for a solo show this summer in Los Angeles that will feature a series of work on social justice issues."

Among the people Antongiorgi has performed with is jazz, blues and soul singer Lizz Wright. Antongiorgi noted how amazing it was for her to perform with Wright and calls it an enormous honor. She explained that as a fan of Wright's work, she was floored to learn that she wanted to open for her and join her onstage for a few songs.

"Lizz is a special person whose musicianship is profound and deeply rooted; it is a blessing to have worked with her and to know her," said Antongiorgi.

Antongiorgi's new EP of original songs centered on love, betrayal and letting go will be released Jan. 18, coinciding with her show at City Winery. ( It was recorded in Chicago and New York City. )

"The City Winery family is committed to sending over 100 team members to Puerto Rico to help the farming community following the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria; this event is another way for us to support local talent and fundraise for this effort," said City Winery Chicago Marketing Director Dan Conroe. "In addition to being a talented visual artist, Sandra is sharing her musical talent with our guests. We hope everyone will come out to enjoy an amazing time and show support."

"I look forward to performing and connecting with the audience at City Winery," said Antongiorgi. "Please come and enjoy an evening of live Latin music that supports fundraising to help our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters on the island."

To purchase advance $22 tickets ( $25 day of show ), visit www.citywinery.com/chicago/sandra-antongiorgi-1-18-18.html .

See www.santongiorgi.com/ for more information .


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