16th Arab World Festival of Montreal

The Arab World Festival of Montreal (Festival du Monde Arabe de Montréal or FMA) is an event dedicated to the meeting of Arabic and Western cultures. Through its four sections – Performing Arts, Culture Forum, Cinema, and Orientalys – the FMA presents modern bodies of work through original productions in dance, music, theater and multidisciplinary arts, debates, conferences, lectures and films.

Performing Arts (partial list)

Arias From the Levant
November 1, 2015 8:00 pm – Salle Claude-Léveillée, Place Des Arts

Acclaimed by Musical Toronto for her “signature warm lyrical voice” and by The Globe and Mail for her ability to “express every emotion with exactness and feeling,” Lebanese-Canadian soprano Miriam Khalil has performed across Canada.

Showing influences from her native Lebanon, Miriam Khalil interprets traditional Arab songs accompanied by virtuoso pianist Julien LeBlanc, a soloist, chamber player and accompanist who is much in demand in Canada and abroad. With disconcerting sensitivity and accuracy, the two artists show great flair in blending classic training with an Oriental repertory in a recital that will be the stuff of dreams!

For tickets and information: www.placedesarts.com 514-842-2112 or 1-866-842-2112

Lamia Yared & The Zaman Ensemble
November 3, 2015 8:00 pm – Salle Claude-Léveillée, Place Des Arts

A singer and oud player of Lebanese descent, Lamia covers the Ottoman musical era in all its forms, whether in Asia Minor or the Middle East. After settling in Montreal, she founded the Zaman Ensemble consisting of Nizar Tabcharani on qanoun, Khalil Moqadem on oud, Nathaniel Huard on riq and bendir and Nicolas Royer Artuso on violin.

Come back to poems about unfulfilled love, inebriation and passion, crossing instrumental and Muwashahat improvisations, vocal embroidery and simple melodies, the Zaman Ensemble takes us into the heart of an era long past but still alive, from the old souks of Aleppo and Cairo to the gardens of the Alhambra.

For tickets and information: www.placedesarts.com 514-842-2112 or 1-866-842-2112

November 4, 2015 8:00 pm – Salle Claude-Léveillée, Place Des Arts

In a show blending refinement and innovation, Shahriyar Jamshidi, accompanied by his acolyte Raphael Weinroth-Browne, eradicates the boundaries between East and West to give way to a magical conversation between the kamancheh, an Iranian string instrument, and the cello.

With melodies that range from melancholic to intense and fiery, this duo weaves a unique musical fresco that mixes the subtlety of traditional Persian and Kurdish music with the rigour of Western classical music.

Kamancello provides a rare opportunity to discover and savour an accomplished musical alchemy!

For tickets and information: www.placedesarts.com 514-842-2112 or 1-866-842-2112

Les Papiers de L’Amour de Slimane Benaïssa
November 5,  8:00 pm – Cinquième Salle, Place Des Arts
In French
by Slimane Benaïssa

“Choosing to have a Palestinian man meet a Jewish woman is to go back up the roads of hatred and war, first building peace between them and then love.” (Slimane Benaïssa)

Rachid is invited to Geneva to take part in a gathering on the Israel-Palestine issue. Sarah is in the audience, and they meet one another at a reception. This is how their love story begins, simple and trite. Some time later, Rachid learns that Sarah is Jewish and decides to break off their relationship but, two months later, he returns.

Despite current events and despite their differences and disagreements, they love one another without denial and without disavowing their convictions. They love each other because it is possible and because there is no need for justification, authorization or papers to be in love…

For tickets and information: www.placedesarts.com 514-842-2112 or 1-866-842-2112

Salim Halali, Le Grand Hommage
November 8, 2015 8:00 pm – Cinquième Salle, Place Des Arts

Ten years after his death and 40 years after a memorable show at the Place des Arts in Montreal, the legendary Salim Halali will have a select place at the 16th FMA.

A cosmopolitan artist, a polyglot, an offbeat and hedonistic humanist, Salim Halali (whose real name was Simon Halali) was a star of Arab-Andalusian music, which he spread worldwide. His talent coincided with the heyday of the fashionable cabarets of the 1950s, in France and Morocco alike, and his influence over an entire generation of artists left an indelible mark.

A tribute worthy of this name, with the participation of musicians who accompanied the great artist, an evening rich in emotions for nostalgic fans and neophytes alike!

For tickets and information: www.placedesarts.com 514-842-2112 or 1-866-842-2112

Sirène des Sables
November 13, 2015 8:00 pm – Rialto Theatre, 5723 du Parc Ave.

Lynda Thalie is back at the FMA for a unique, bold and unconventional performance of her show Sirène des sables, specially concocted for this 16th edition of the FMA.

A breeze of sensuality, audacity and madness will sweep over the Rialto during this original show, with Lynda Thalie going through yet another transformation, to which she alone holds the secret. Moving between whimsical and mischievous, at times an Amazon, this Scheherazade from the Thousand and One Nights will offer her audience a performance with multiple roots and waves.

Originally from Algeria and marked by various cultures, Lynda Thalie is also Québécoise at heart and by adoption. Her music shows this – an expression of a universal and borderless world. This desert rose, intense and biting, is fuelled by hope and resilience. She has relied on her instinct as an eternal romantic and a fighter throughout her career, making a trademark of her mixed heritage. Her music is hybrid, made of harmonious arrangements and sounds with varied influences. As a lyricist, composer and performer, she has often celebrated the strength, sensuality, boldness and verve of Arab women, whom she describes as sirens who lead, through their chants, those who wander on the tides of ignorance.

For the first time in her career, she is performing accompanied by the OktoEcho ensemble, directed by Katia Makdissi-Warren, who will give her compositions a new outlook on stage. Lynda will present, in a new light, a selection of her most committed songs, repeats of her favourites, and Hilarus Delirus, the anthem of the 16th FMA. Against the black, grey and hypocrisy of the world, but with charm and a light touch, she will chant her most whimsical wishes to the point of intoxication!

For tickets and information: www.theatrerialto.ca    514-770-7773  or 514-790-1111

Cinema (partial list)

Palestine Stereo
Screening on Saturday October 31 at 5:00 pm and Monday November 2 at 7:00 pm Cinéma du parc
by Rashid Masharawi
Palestine, Tunisia, 2013 – Arabic, English subtitles – 90’.

Samy and his older brother Milad known as “Stereo” are planning to emigrate from Palestine to Canada after an Israeli air force bombing of their family home. Following the attack Samy became mute and deaf and Stereo lost his wife. The two set about earning money for their travel to Canada by buying a secondhand sound system that they rent out for events in Ramallah…

For tickets and information: www.cinemaduparc.com

October 31, 2015 7:00 pm – Cinéma du parc, 3575 Parc Ave.
by Amin Dora
With Georges Khabbaz
Lebanon, Qatar, 2014 – Arabic, English subtitles – 100’.

In a small neighborhood of a traditional Lebanese coastal town, the town’s beloved music teacher Leba (Georges Khabbaz), marries Lara, his childhood sweetheart. After having two beautiful daughters, their son Ghadi is born. While they have the full support of their friends, family, and colleagues, Ghadi is born into the world as a special needs child. As he grows into a young boy, he spends most of his time at the window trying to imitate his father’s singing, but yielding mostly unintelligible sounds which disturb and scare the neighbors. Without any understanding of his condition, the townspeople start calling Ghadi a “demon”, and later getting together to launch a petition to evict him and his parents from the town…

For tickets and information: www.cinemaduparc.com

I Am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced
November 1, 2015 5:00 pm – Ancien cinéma ONF – 1564 St-Dens
by Khadija Al-Salami
France, Yemen, UAE, 2015 – Arabic, English subtitles – 99’.

A little girl walks into a court room, looks at the judge straight in the eye and tells him: “I want a divorce”. In Yemen, where there is no age requirement for marriage, ten-year-old Nojoom is forced to marry a 30-year-old man. The dowry offers the family a small income and one less mouth to feed. A legitimate and acceptable arrangement for all, except for Nojoom who will soon see her life take a turn for the worse. A beautiful plea for all these girls forced into womanhood too soon and for their right to a life on their own terms.

Single, Married, Divorced
November 1, 2015 7:00 pm – Cinéma du parc
November 4, 2015 8:00 pm – Cinquième Salle
by Elie Khalife
With Darine Hamze, Nada Abou Farhat, Nibal Arakji and Marwa Khalil
Lebanon, 2015 – Arabic, English subtitles – 100’.

Yasmina, Taleen, Layanand Zina are four successful ladies approaching their 40’s. They are smart, funny, interesting, yet, the four of them are still single. They meet every Sunday to share the status of their love life, cheer each other up and support one another: heartbreaks, abandon, illness… Like many Lebanese women, they want both love and independence, and are torn between tradition and modernity, between the social pressure to get married and their single life. Sex & the City the Oriental way!

For tickets and information: www.cinemaduparc.com
For tickets and information: www.placedesarts.com 514-842-2112 or 1-866-842-2112

Free Events (partial list)

Iranian Choir of Montreal
October 30, 2015 5:00 pm – Espace Georges-Emile Lapalme, Place des Arts

Men and women, accompanied by a group of musicians, join their voices to perform the hymns of Iranian music. Iran, a country of traditions and struggles, cradle of the Persian civilization, is portrayed through 22 voices.

For more information: www.placedesarts.com   514-842-2112 or 1-866-842-2112

Iranian Children & Young Adults Orchestra of Montreal
October 30, 2015 5:40 pm – Espace Georges-Emile Lapalme, Place des Arts

With pride in their traditions, they express in song the praises of their distant country. The children of Iran take up in unison the words of their elders and together play the instruments of days gone by, such as the tar, the agogô and thetonbak.

For more information: www.placedesarts.com 514-842-2112 or 1-866-842-2112

Arabic Circus
October 30, 2015 4:00pm – Espace Georges-Emile Lapalme, Place des Arts

A talented beat maker, a burst of violin and circus magic: a surprising blend of musical and visual movement to the beat of hip-hop metamorphosed to Arab sounds. Turning to the festival’s delirious theme, two musicians with different styles of training converse on stage, accompanied by an impromptu circus performance.

For more information: www.placedesarts.com 514-842-2112 or 1-866-842-2112

Burdah Ensemble
November 6, 2015 4:00 pm
Espace Georges-Emile Lapalme, Place des Arts – 175, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest

The choir of the Sufi Centre of Montreal stops briefly at the Place des Arts to permeate us with songs filled with wisdom and mystical devotion and to bring us to the inexhaustible source of divine love.

For more information: www.placedesarts.com 514-842-2112 or 1-866-842-2112

Culture Forum (exhibitions, encounters and debates)

The Culture Forum section allows extraordinary encounters with painters, writers, thinkers and authors coming from the Arab World, Europe, the United States and Canada. Well known and famous intellectuals lead debates and forums of thought and exchange about diversity, cross-cultural relations, the Arab World of nowadays and of our ancestors.

For more information: festivalarabe.com