Festival Accès Asie is pleased to present Kalyug: A Queer Cabaret in the Age of Darkness , curated and hosted by Kama La Mackerel featuring The Balcony, Seckin Sinar, Naya Salamé, Jess Tran, Shin Ling, Yassi Vile, and Laila Gulabi a host of artists who are LGBTQ+ immigrants and/or refugees working in poetry, storytelling, spoken word, music and dance.
Known as the Dark Age, Kalyug refers to a period of time when the resources of the earth are depleted and where human beings are driven by fear, scarcity, and the desire to dominate. In this period, we move away from a virtuous life and cause extensive harm and destruction to the earth, to others, to ourselves.
At a time when we are living through an unparalleled environmental crisis, with increased racial tensions and anti-immigrant sentiments, and where there have been ongoing assaults on the existence and well-being of LGBTQ+ communities, Kalyug: A Queer Cabaret in the Age of Darkness, brings together a generation of emerging queer and trans Asian artists to speak their truths, to shed their light, to cast spells of goodness in dark times.
Originally from Mauritus, Kama La Mackerel is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, educator and cultural mediator who lives in Montreal. They are the founder of GENDER B (L) ENDER, Montreal’s unique LGBTQ+ open mic, the founder and artistic director of Our Bodies, Our Stories, an artistic mentorship program for QTBIPOC (Queer & Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) and the curator of The Self-Love Cabaret. Kama’s life’s work, their community work and their artistic practice all interlace around the themes of decoloniality, justice, love, healing & the commitment to relationship building
The Balcony is an acoustic pop-rock/folk musical duo, formed in 2015, and comprised of Rhys Sheng and T.Y Jung who are both immigrants who came to Montreal at a young age. The duo was named after their childhood hangout spot between their two apartments, affectionately named “The Balcony”. Their debut song The Balcony is dedicated to their decade-long friendship. Rhys is a video artist, performer and writer who recently finished his studies in Communications at Vanier College. T.Y is a student at University of Montreal, a dancer and musical theater performer who has worked with local companies such as Mainline Theatre and Centaur Theatre.
Seckin Cinar is a choreographer, performer, actor, dancer, poet, yoga teacher and emerging musician based in Montreal. After studying performing arts in Istanbul and working as an actor and a dancer, he immigrated to Montreal in 2018. He is still in search for the right channel to express his artistic voice at this new land. He is currently in training at True North Insight Living The Heart Of Wisdom, practising Buddhism and is a student of Echart Tolle at his Echart Tolle School of Awakening.
Artist Naya Salamé is an interdisciplinary Lebanese artist. She was born and raised in Beirut and has recently moved to Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal. She is interested in exploring questions of hope, recovery and transformation in a violent, patriarchal, colonial world.
Jess Tran is the youngest child to Vietnamese refugees. Born and raised in Oskana kasetaki/Regina, they now live in Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal.
Shin Ling is a multidisciplinary artist who loves expanding and finding new ways to create art through photography, poetry, art journaling, singing, and playing the ukulele. A strong believer that art should be an experience of healing, empathy, and connection, she explores thoughts and ideas that are authentic to her experience; these include gender, race, sexuality, and mental health. She is currently completing a Communication Studies program and with a minor in Education at Concordia University, and she loves green tea and chocolate!
Yassi Vile is a queer East Asian adoptee. In a broken and stuttering Frenglish, she goes through life having to balance her traumas and hopes. She believes in the intrinsic magic that every women and femmes of color carry as well as in the eventual end of the hetero-cis-white supremacy. In all her stories, she blends feelings of grief and joy together, afterwards coating them up in honesty and care.
From her lip-syncs of Bollywood and Soca hits to the latest Italian Pop singles, Laila Gulabi (she in drag/they out of drag) is a New-York Based drag artist queering her Indo-Guyanese and Italian background through drag. Growing up in New York, a city of proud immigrants, without a doubt, influences Laila’s take on the art. She is one of the few out Muslim and Guyanese drag queens in North America, and she strives to make a space for individuals of her identities and those overlapping with hers through her unique drag in a North American queer world, often homogenous and White-centred.
Kama La Mackerel – Curator and Host
The Balcony –Acoustic pop-rock/folk duo
Seckin Cinar – Multidisciplinary Artist
Naya Salamé – Interdisciplinary Artist
Jess Tran – Spoken Word Artist
Shin Ling – Multidisciplinary Artist
Yassi Vile – Spoken Word Artist
Laila Gulabi – Drag Queen