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Agent (Québec, Canada, USA, Asia)

Agent (Festivals Québec, Canada, USA)

Canti di a Terra

Territory represented: Québec, Canada, USA, Asia

An encounter between Corsican polyphonies, Persian and ancient music.

Created in Montreal in November 2008, Canti di a Terra brought together Constantinople and the Corsican vocal quartet Barbara Furtuna. It has since travelled the globe with some twenty performances. A fine way, therefore, of celebrating renewed contacts and hybrid forms of inspiration.

This bold alliance has roots in two lands, two vital sources of contrasting geographies. On the one hand, the insular beauty of Corsica, between land, sky and sea, austere and powerful, embodied in these polyphonic vocals in turn melancholic and festive; on the other, the refinement of the musical and poetic traditions of Persia, which dictated its magical laws to the East.

The common denominator here is certainly their modal form of expression, but even more it is their contemporary language that the Corsican quartet and Montreal trio wished to see converge. “To avoid the traps of juxtaposition (…), to go elsewhere by listening to and understanding the Other (…), to create a fresco that can be viewed as a unique work” (Kiya Tabassian): such is the goal of these exploratory artists, who share an unquestionable sense of harmony.

The musical understanding they developed over the years has here given rise to magnificently accompanied sacred and profane songs, revived lamentes and folias, as well as new co-creations. Deep and vibrant, the music seems to arise from the bowels of the earth.

Agent (Québec, Canada, USA, Asia)

Agent (Festivals Québec, Canada, USA)

Paths to the Summit

Rediscovered treasures of Persian classical music

Territory represented: Québec, Canada, USA, Asia

Paths to the Summit sheds light on an obscure period in Persian history, when large numbers of Iranian musicians migrated to the neighbouring Ottoman and Byzantine cultural centres during the Safavid dynasty (1501-1736).

These musical jewels, of great refinement and beauty, vividly evoke the Safavid court, which up to now we have only been able to imagine by contemplating the paintings and frescos of palaces in Esfahan, such as the Chehel Sotun.

While retracing this migration route, we came across manuscripts from the 16th to the 18th centuries, which annotated and preserved compositions by Iranian musicians from the era. These manuscripts had been kept for centuries in palace and monastery libraries in Turkey and Greece. They testify to the influence of Iranian music in these regions and the many fruitful exchanges between Iranian musicians and those from neighbouring countries. These sources open paths to reach and understand more the Iranian music prior to the 19th century (before dastgah).

These works have several features and particularities that distinguish them:
they are composed in the maqam system, with musical phrasings and formal developments that are distinctly Persian in coloration; they contain the complex ancient rhythmic cycles that disappeared from the Persian dastgah; they reveal the practice of singing exercises known as taranom, which we know only in theory and which are in some ways the predecessors of the tahrir found in post-19th century Persian music.

With the discovery and decoding of this repertoire, we shall be able to better understand the history of the art music of Iran and to reconstruct the broken bridge between the practices of its glorious past and those of its present.

In this project they are resurrected after centuries of silence, performed by some of today’s finest Iranian musicians and their colleagues from Turkey and Greece — as they were at the time of their creation.

Siamak Aghaei, santur and vocals (Iran)
Didem Başar, kanun (Turkey — Canada)
Kyriakos Kalaitzides, oud (Greece)
Kiya Tabassian, setar, vocals, direction
Pierre-Yves Martel, viola da gamba
Ziya Tabassian, tombak, percussion

Agent (Québec)

Et je reverrai cette ville étrange

Territory represented: Québec

Agent (Québec, Canada, USA, Asia)

Agent (Festivals Québec, Canada, USA)

Beyond the Horizon

Turning our ears to distant lands, toward imagination and illusion, we create the present moment.

Territory represented: Québec, Canada, USA, Asia

An unprecedented meeting between the deeply moving worlds of accordionist Didier Laloy and musical adventurer Kiya Tabassian, along with their respective cohorts, this new creation for the two duos will immerse you in a marvellously rich acoustic world, one of breathtaking originality and virtuosity.

75 minutes with no intermission.

  • Didier Lalon, diatonic accordion
  • Kathy Adam, cello
  • Kiya Tabassian, setar and voice
  • Didem Basar, kanun

Agent (Québec, Canada, USA, Asia)

Agent (Festivals Québec, Canada, USA)

Itinerant Gardens

Territory represented: Québec, Canada, USA, Asia

A poetic encounter between strings and voice, from the epics of the Mandingo Kingdom to the music of the Persian court…

“My garden is my work. My memory is the soil of my garden, which grows in this earth, spreads its roots and penetrates the soil to go elsewhere, to unite with the universe.”

— Kiya Tabassian

Everywhere, from time immemorial, the Word has been embodied by the bard, the troubadour, the griot. These wordsmiths, at once messengers and peacemakers, are the links with the forces of nature, the inexpressible divine, the memory of the ancients. It falls to them to maintain the realm of the collective soul.

Nowadays, these freethinkers and travellers are making the world their garden… Like Constantinople and Ablaye Cissoko, a griot from Saint-Louis, Senegal, an eternally migrating bird who is also a master of the kora. It is said that this 21-string bridge-harp of the ancient Manding Kingdom (13th century) was the most precious, most fought-over possession of the woman-sage. From this celestial creature, the musician seems to have inherited the quality of grace. The sweetness of his tone, the finesse of his melodic lines, the fluidity of his touch, his virtuosity without ostentation, his purity and generosity—all of these qualities are combined in this stellar musician who travels from childhood to wisdom anytime. By turns historian, storyteller and philosopher, Ablaye perpetuates the oral tradition of his land and embraces the great family destiny.

This meeting between Ablaye and Constantinople, between strings and vocals, goes back in time to evoke the beauty of being. It is a joint passage through the common sites of the imagination, like a long breath before the inexorable march of the world and time.

Agent (Québec, Canada)

Agent (Festivals Québec, Canada)


Territory represented: Québec, Canada

Where merges contemporary dance, music of Persian inspiration and interactive real time video:

  • “At the same time extremely poetic, inspired and inspiring, hypnotic. Sunya is a sublime piece, an invitation to a subtle journey, sensual and spiritual. A touching beauty.” — La Presse, Canada
  • “An enchanting atmosphere. A particularly beautiful and fabulous show…” — Radio Canada, Canada
  • “Sunya is a unique and highly successful collaboration… The dance is highly stylized yet deeply communicative.” — Bachtrack, Canada
  • “This creation amazes and touches through the depth of the artistic approach and the high sensitivity that emerges from it. Sunya is definitely a strong work that truly challenges us.” — PatWhite, Canada

Every sound stems from a gesture, but in an abyss of silence, can movement take place? Every expression is based on a memory, but when memory is plural, how does it resonate? And what happens when two artists, a choreographer and a composer, each at the crossroads of cultures, join forces? Starting from both nothing and everything they are made of?

Śūnya (in Sanskrit,”zero” and “number”) refers to this fundamental paradox of being, of language, of movement… The movement of exile, the movement of art-hybridization.

Four dancers, three musicians, a sound designer and a video artist experiment here, guided in turn by the Indo-Armenian dancer and choreographer Roger Sinha and Iranian-born gatherer of musical pearls Kiya Tabassian, immersed in dialogue. From the universal quest for identity to the collective epic, a creative gesture like the dreamlike echo of a world reconciled.

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