The Maison de la culture Ahuntsic and Festival Accès Asie proudly present Kimia, The Chemistry of flamenco and Persian Music. This creation, a collaboration of artists Shraddha D. Blaney, Saeed Kamjoo, Ziya Tabassian, Pooria Pournazeri, Hugo Larenas, and Fernando Gallego “El Bancalero”. A dance workshop and debate will also take place at the same venue on Sunday, May 14th at 2 pm.
Mixing flamenco and Persian genres has a long history. Two thousand years ago, the Romani people from the Indus Valley in India travelled to Persia. Gypsy artists, inspired by the subtleties of Persian music, combined them with flamenco as they journeyed through Andalusian lands.
Kimia takes the audience on a journey of flamenco and Persian music, an exploration of their deep, mysterious sounds. Kimia creates a hybrid language to express their infinite passion and emotion, musically bridging the two cultures. By combining influences from Spain and Persia, Kimia creates a renewed flamenco of genuine fragility and force connecting artists and audience in a space without borders or time.
After dancing in the opera Carmen and touring in South Korea, Shraddha D. Blaney established the company Caravana Flamenca and the Ensemble La Poesía del Flamenco. She received two bursaries from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec to train alongside great Spanish masters, such as Manuel Reyes, Eva de Juan, Rafaela Carrasco, Belén Maya, Rosario Toledo, and Domingo Ortega. In 2009, Blaney discovered Sema, a sacred dance of the Sufi Whirling Dervishes, and travelled to Istanbul, Turkey to deepen her knowledge of it. Blaney has taught dance for 15 years and choreographed for the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal under the direction of Maestro Nagano as well as many television shows.
Instrumentalist and composer, Saeed Kamjoo plays the kamancheh, an ancient Persian instrument. Kamjoo, one of the most creative musicians of his time, is known for delicately combining authenticity and innovation in his music. Kamjoo received a music degree from the University of Tehran. Self-taught in the techniques of his instrument, he performs a classical Persian repertoire. Kamjoo has performed with maestros such as Ardeshir Kâmkâr, Ali Akbar Shekârchi, and Ostad Asghar Bahâriand and in festivals all over the world. He frequently gives workshops and performs at conferences. Since his arrival in Canada in 1997, Kamjoo has collaborated with music ensembles such as the Constantinople Ensemble and the Dastan Ensemble.
Born in Montreal of Chilean parents, Hugo Larenas is an interpreter, arranger-composer, and guitar instructor at Collège Stanislas. Larenas began studying guitar at the age of eight and now holds a Master’s degree in performance from the Université de Montréal under the tutelage of Peter McCutcheon. In 2006, he won the first edition of the Montreal Guitar Grand Prix. Throughout his music career, Larenas has explored several styles from the folk music of his ancestral land, to rock, flamenco, and classical music. His great versatility has allowed him to share the stage with Les Frères Diouf, Alejandra Ribera, and Jorane. Larenas is a member of the group Intakto, de Color Violeta, Willy Ríos Ensemble, Impulso Flamenco, and guitar duo Con Fuoco.
Pooria Pournazeri learned to play the Kurdish Tanbur (a lute of Kurdish origin) at the age of six and continued his studies with Keykhosrow Pournazeri – his uncle and master of Sufi music – who taught him traditional Persian and Kurdish repertoires. Pournazeri gave his first concert at the age of 16 in a competition at the Fajr Music Festival (Tehran), where he was awarded third place. Pournazeri then joined the famous Shams Ensemble, with which he recorded the Iranian top selling album, Mastan Salamat Mikonand. In 2011, he recorded his first solo album, Zhoor. Since arriving in Montreal, he has helped found the Tabassian Brothers and the Constantinople Ensemble. Pournazeri is currently working on a fourth opus.
A tombak player since the age of ten, Ziya Tabassian has studied classical Western percussion in Montreal. He has been involved in the ancient music scene, as well as the world music scene, collaborating with many ensembles and soloists and performing at prestigious festivals around the world. Tabassian has recorded on a number of albums and, in 2007, released his first solo album, Tombak, under the label Ambiances Magnétiques. Tabassian currently plays with Ensemble Âstân, founded by Bashir Faramarzi in 2013. (www. ziyatabassian.com)
Born in Cadiz, Spain, Fernando Gallego Torres, “El Bancalero”, began his career at the age of nine. Gallego has performed in numerous flamenco venues and festivals throughout the Iberian Peninsula. He has also collaborated with several companies notably those of Carmen Romero, Zingari Flamenco, Esmeralda Enrique, María Serrano, Rosanne Dion, and the band Jorge Miguel Flamenco. Gallego has shared the stage with great flamenco vocalists such as Manuel Moneo and María del Mar Fernández. Gallego has performed at Festival Flamenco de Montréal (2012-2014) and Toronto Flamenco Festival (2012-2013). While collaborating on recordings of other artists, Gallego is currently working on his first album.
Singer of Persian origin, Mirjaberi began learning Persian Classical repertory (Radif) under supervision of N. Nasehpour and gained knowledge of techniques and voice-producing by Mohsen Keramti. He has worked with various ensembles and has given so many concerts in Iran. Mirjaberi, participated with Regard Persan at the Festival du monde Arabe in Montreal in 2016.
Shraddha D. Blaney – Dancer and Choreographer
Saeed Kamjoo – Kamancheh Player
Hugo Larenas – Guitarist
Pooria Pournazeri – Tanbur Player
Ziya Tabassian – Percussionist
Fernando Gallego “El Bancalero” – Singer
Behshid Mirjaberi – Singer