The Daily Northwestern

Group aims to bridge gap between NU students, Chicago musicians

The+four+students+behind+Yikes+Productions+at+a+concert+in+January.+Yikes+seeks+to+give+a+platform+to+local+artists+and+expose+students+to+the+Chicago+music+scene.+
The four students behind Yikes Productions at a concert in January. Yikes seeks to give a platform to local artists and expose students to the Chicago music scene.

The four students behind Yikes Productions at a concert in January. Yikes seeks to give a platform to local artists and expose students to the Chicago music scene.

Credit: Sky Patterson

Credit: Sky Patterson

The four students behind Yikes Productions at a concert in January. Yikes seeks to give a platform to local artists and expose students to the Chicago music scene.

Alan Perez, Assistant Campus Editor

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A new group on campus is looking to give a platform to local artists and introduce students to musicians from Chicago.

Yikes Productions, a group approved for Associated Student Government funding last week, will showcase Chicago musicians through concerts in Evanston. McCormick junior Omar Carey, a founding member of the group, said Yikes hopes to “bridge the gap” between campus and Chicago music.

“We want to expose Northwestern students to the rich music culture (of) Chicago,” he said. “We’ve always felt like no one really knows about it, and it’s not really a good place here to facilitate that relationship.”

Carey said the distance from the city can make it difficult for students to see and hear Chicago artists. McCormick junior Yasmeen Wood, another founding member, said it can also be hard to navigate the Chicago music scene, especially for students not from the area.

Yikes hopes to overcome that barrier by inviting artists to perform free concerts in Evanston. A test concert during the summer proved successful, prompting Yikes’s official launch in January, Wood said.

Yikes also invites students to perform, and hosted musicians from NU and Chicago at its second event last Friday, where self-described rapper, lyricist, musician, artist, emcee, visionary and icon Aaron Clarke freestyled with saxophone accompaniment.

Clarke, a Weinberg senior said he appreciated the work of Yikes because it fosters a community for musicians and people who like music. Every artist should be given a chance to participate, he added.

“The fact that Yikes is able to do something that’s accessible and democratic, and folks coming together with a range of musical interests and ability, is awesome,” he said. “It’s cool that we have people that are really committed to doing that in an intimate way and are also trying to turn it into something bigger than that.”

The concerts are held in a Yikes member’s apartment, but Wood said the group hopes to expand to larger venues and partner with other organizations like WNUR, a student-run radio station. Yikes is planning for a potential live performance in March on the station by a band from Montreal, Canada, she said.

The idea for the group started when Wood, Carey and Jessica Collins, another founding member, noticed the difficulty of accessing the Chicago music scene.

Carey, a lifetime music fan and musician, said the group discussed the idea as early as his freshman year. He said he was motivated to bring the plan into fruition after witnessing the music culture at a concert in Chicago.

“Everyone knows each other, everyone was there supporting each other, having a good time,” he said. “We wanted to bring that vibe, that whole idea, up to Northwestern to have it be a part of that.”

ASG Chief of Staff Lars Benson, the chair of the Wild Ideas committee that funded the group, said its function — bringing together local artists to perform a free concert — is something that’s been missing on campus.

The Weinberg senior said he was excited to aid the group’s expansion because of its past success. Benson added that it gives students the chance to hear talented artists and showcase their own talent.

“It’s really awesome to have a structured group that’s working really hard to not only discover really talented people at Northwestern and in the community, but then help them reach out to a wider audience by engaging community members and bringing together people from across campus,” he said. “I think it will do a lot to enrich the music culture on campus.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Weinberg senior Aaron Clarke’s name on a second reference. The Daily regrets the error

Email: aperez@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @_perezalan_

 

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