Constantinople & Ablaye Cissoko: Mediterranean and West African fusion

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  • A Unique and Exquisite Fusion of Persian and West African Music

    Constantinople, formed in Montreal in 1998, comprises Kiya Tabassian (voice, setar), Pierre-Yves Martel (viola da gamba) and Ziya Tabassian (tombak, percussion). The ensemble is rooted in the exquisite and delicate art of Persian classical music, but was created to bridge between cultures, and to explore connections between different traditions.

    “This is a concert for those who want to revel in music that is uplifting, deep, and often subtle,” says artistic director Andy Hillhouse. “These are highly accomplished musicians from different traditions – Persian, European, and West African – who have found common ground between their styles, and have developed a beautiful collaboration.”

    Over the years the ensemble has collaborated many artists from Mexico, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Iran, India, China, Mongolia and Uzbekistan. Joining Constantinople here is Senegalese kora player, singer and composer Ablaye Cissoko, who hails from a line of Mandinka griots, the hereditary musicians of his homeland. The project’s conceptual “itinerant garden” cultivates a spiritual communion wherein Persian strains (the Tabassians were born in Tehran) engage West African and Western classical elements on mutual aural terrain. Viola and percussion underpin the kora, setar and voice, fostering a deferential exchange that conjures sonic beauty through graceful simplicity.

    The concert will begin at 8:00pm on Saturday, May 5 inside the Harrison Memorial Hall. Doors will open at 7:30pm. Tickets are available at harrisonfestival.com, by calling 604-796-3554, or at the Agassiz Shoppers Drug Mart.

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