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Fronted by French-Algerian rapper Saidou and Chilean rapper Juanito Ayala, Sidi Wacho unite rebelliousness on both sides of the Atlantic (specifically, Northern Africa and the global south) through activist rap in French and Spanish. Accordionist Jeoffrey Arnone, trumpet player Manel Girard, and drummer Christophe Demazeux accompany the group’s heartfelt, powerful lyrics with dance rhythms from various parts of the world in percussive, driving tunes that fuse Balkan beats, raucous polkas, and banging cumbias. “Lejos de Casa” (“Far From Home”) from their 2022 album, Calle Sound System, is so irresistibly danceable it’ll get every body part you have shimmying and shaking (I dare you to listen and sit still!). But a closer listen to the lyrics reveals the heartbreak of immigrant journeys: “Lejos de casa, risa, tristeza, ¡aguante familia!” (“Far from home, laughter, sadness, hang in there, family!”). Saidou and Ayala’s social-justice anthems uplift with righteously powerful joy and loud, in-your-face badness, expressing their cultural identities with explosive calls to action—“Grita Justicia” (“Yell Justice”), for example, indicts police brutality and other abuses of power. But you don’t have to understand the words to pick up on the emotion behind them; Sidi Wacho are chanting that we refuse to go down quietly. This revolution may not be televised, but we’ll surely be dancing to it.
Sidi Wacho Fri 9/2, 9 PM, Martyrs’, 3855 N. Lincoln, $20, $15 for ILCC members, 21+