Although a lack of funding has cut this year’s lineup by about 20 acts, the World Music Festival remains the city’s best and most ambitious music event. Programmer Michael Orlove has scheduled contemporary and traditional music from about 50 local and international acts, a handful of which you may never get the chance to experience live again.

Topping the list of must-see shows is Morocco’s Orchestra of Tangiers at the Chicago Cultural Center on Monday, September 17. Together since 1981, the group plays classical Andalusian music brought to North Africa after the Moors’ expulsion from Spain. Also worth seeing is Argentine accordionist Chango Spasiuk, who plays a raucous folkloric style of music called chamame–a cross between polka and ranchera, with a splash of parched twang from the country’s northeastern province of Misiones. A number of Balkan-flavored groups will also perform this year, but make sure to catch Ismail Lumanovski, an astonishing New York-based clarinetist from Macedonia whose resourceful quintet creates a wild din well beyond its size.

For a complete festival schedule, see the special pullout section in next week’s issue of the Reader. a September 14-20, various venues. –Peter Margasak