Irish and Mexican Histories Combine in ‘Los San Patricios’ Performance at BAC

Two highly respected Chicago organizations, each representing a community with deep immigrant roots, will share one stage when Mexican folk music ensemble Sones de México Ensemble joins forces with Irish fiddler and director of the Irish Music School of Chicago Seán Cleland and the Kilgubbin Band for a performance of “Los San Patricios: The Irish Soldiers of Mexico,” Wed., Nov. 16, 7:30 p.m., at the Beverly Arts Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St. Tickets are $35 and available at of at the BAC box office, 773-445-3838.

The performance will use the music of fiddles, harps, accordions, foot tapping of Irish jigs, and voices of Mexican song for a unique theater experience. The script by Molly Sturdevant and poetry by Vincent Velázquez tell the little-known story of Los San Patricios — the St. Patrick’s Battalion — which fought on the side of Mexico during the Mexican-American War of 1846-48.

Several complimentary tickets for the performance will be available to students at local schools on a first come/first served basis. For information contact BAPA School Liaison Tina Jenkins Bell,

Americanos, 11060 S. Western, will be offering a special prix fixe dinner menu for people who attend the “Los San Patricios” performance at the BAC. The menu includes chips and alsa roja; Aguachile Verde with shrimp, red onion, cucumber, jalapeño, avocado; Jamaica tostadas with refried beans, hibiscus flower, avocado salsa, queso fresco, red onion, cilantro; Mole Verde with the choice of chicken breast or chile rellenos, with mole verde, pumpkin seeds, queso fresco, red onion, cilantro, rice and beans; Arroz con Leche empanadas and vanilla ice cream; and a choice of a beverage: classic Margarita, Mezcal Margarita, hibiscus Margarita or Paloma. The price is $50 per person, and reservations can be made at 773-941-6787.

Performing with Kilgubbin Band are Seán Cleland, fiddle; Jesse Langen, guitar; James Reilly, as John Reilly, vocals flute/whistles bodhrán; Niall O’Leary, dance, piano, accordion; and James Conway, harmonica, whistles, vocals.

Performing with the Sones de Mexico Ensemble are Victor Pichardo, violin, clarinet, guitars, vocals; Juan Dies, bass, vocals; Zacbe Pichardo, harp, huapanguera, percussion; Eric Hines, drums, percussion; Lorena Iñiguez, dance, vihuela, jarana, percussion; Irekani Ferreyra, violin, requinto, guitars, vocals; and Vincent Velázquez, poetry, dance.

“From the very first time we jammed with these musicians back in 1999, I felt an instant musical affinity; 6/8 time, fiddle tunes, marches, harps, foot-tapping and a rich balladry tradition,” said Sones de México co-founder and Music Director Victor Pichardo. “After learning more about Irish history and playing with these musicians on several other occasions, I’ve continued to realize just how many parallels exist in our cultures.”

Seán Cleland, an award-winning Irish fiddler who played on Sones de México’s 2002 album “Fandango on 18th Street,” said “I first heard of the story of San Patricios around 1995.” At the time, he was touring with The Drovers and teaching at the Old Town School of Music where Juan Díes of the Sones de México Ensemble, also worked.  “His band and my band were quite friendly with each other, Cleland said. “I brought this story to him and we have been developing the music and songs over these many years to reality.”

“Los San Patricios” is are made possible in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, the Chicago Cultural Treasures Fund, Latinos Progresando, MacArthur Funds for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the CityArts program from the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, and the generosity of individual donors supporters.

Formed in 1994, Sones de Mexico Ensemble is Chicago’s premier folk music organization specializing in Mexican ‘son,’ a genre encompassing the roots of mariachi music and other regional styles. Its mission is to promote greater appreciation of Mexican folk and traditional music and culture through innovative performance, education, and dissemination.

For more information, visit

The Irish Music School of Chicago teaches children and adults as a collaboration between Irish musicians, teachers, students and the community itself. It was founded in 2003 and is committed to maintaining the strong tradition of Irish music, song and dance, to involve more people in the community of Irish music, and ensure that this type of music does not disappear in Chicago and the United States. For more information, visit

Concert will tell the story of the St. Patrick’s Battalion, Irish immigrants
who fought on the side of Mexico during the Mexican-American War of 1846-48


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