Arab World Festival of Montreal presents

Alep Ya-Lala-Li

Aleppo, the city of a thousand eras, the jewel of eternal Syria, will be at the heart of this original production by the Festival du Monde Arabe, bringing together artists and creators from all over the world. Aleppo, the musical ear of the Arab world, known for its demanding audiences, will be the guest of honour of our pluralistic Montreal for a truly stirring tribute. A major project in this 18th edition, the show will offer a fireworks of intertwining horizons in a true artistic epic.

All the opulence and splendour of an ancient city is gathered in an enjoyment of the arts that unleashes souls gripped by the beauty of the centuries. This is the amazing portrait offered in this crossroads of different worlds, where qudud blend with Andalusian musical styles in all their forms – flamenco, malouf and muwashahat, as well as with Middle Eastern Sufism and its profane derivatives, along with sophisticated and refined Persian sounds.

Ahmad Azrak, from Aleppo, the singer with a passionate and passion-stirring voice who fascinated the Montreal audience during the memorable FMA production Le Cercle de l’Extase, will be back for this new moment of unmatched effervescence. The musical trances induced by his voice with its sensitive and deeply moving timbre, handling maqamats, adwars and sacred rituals with great suppleness, give him a powerful stage presence, enabling him to deliver all the secrets of a cosmopolitan Aleppo heritage open to the world.

Tunisian diva Dorsaf Hamdani, who led the triumphal closing of the 2016 festival, is joining this special evening to offer her full talent in poignant performances of varied repertories ranging from classical Arab song to the deep incantations of Sufi music. Accustomed to fusions that are both original and thoughtful, true grace and charisma mark her encounter with Ahmed Azrak as they weave vocal frescoes worthy of the great gatherings at the famous musical salons of Aleppo.

To this leading duo will be added an original ballet featuring Shahrokh Moshkin-Ghalam, an Iranian dancer specializing in revisited Middle Eastern mystical and traditional dance styles, and Karine González, his Spanish fellow artist. The two dancers will engage with fervour in a contrasting and sensual pas de deux, an improvised mutiny of bodies in which they dialogue and appropriate the sophisticated codes of sacred rites and of Persian dance, the mother of kathakali and flamenco.

While the wasla, or link, of the great Zyriab influenced the genesis of western symphonies, his chanted onomatopoeia ya-la-lal-li succeeded in raising musicality to the rank of poetry, the supreme art in Arab tradition. He is celebrated here, in all his finery, in sumptuous delight. Alep Ya-la-lal-li, an odyssey to a thousand eras under the intrepid and dazzling “three’ seasons” aegis!

For tickets and information: 514-842-2112 or 1-866-842-2112

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