11th edition

Orientalys Festival

This year’s Orientalys Festival, set for August 19 to 22, 2021, will be in hybrid format: at the Old Port’s Quai de l’Horloge and online. Orientalys will again be the scene of vibrant and innovative shows by Montreal and international artists and artisans: a live and in-person component will present performances and workshops by artists from Quebec and across Canada while a digital component will disseminate shows by international groups and a series of themed capsules.

“After a difficult lockdown period caused by the pandemic, we’re happy to be able to resume in-person participation in cultural events like the Orientalys Festival. In addition, these times are conducive to raising awareness and bringing cultures together. Enjoy the festival!” – The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage

VALESKA - Orientalys

Valeska brings to life the delights of various
Afghan traditional dances

“This return edition was made possible by our partners” support, of course, but it also reflects above all our team’s desire to continue holding this annual event, which turns the unlikeliest of encounters into reality,” said Ghiwa Nakhlé, Managing Director of Festival Orientalys. “By juggling the face-to-face and the virtual, we offer our artists possibilities with infinite horizons. The digital dimension that is now an integral part of our daily lives and our reality drives us to reinvent platforms and to recreate spaces. It is from this perspective that we are pleased to unveil our new website specially designed for the dissemination of digital content.

“This hybrid edition will thus be celebrating the return of “our sunshines” with singers, dancers, musicians, animators, calligraphers and artisans rekindling our imaginations, whether at the Old Port or on the web,” Ms. Nakhlé continued. “This year’s program forms a continuation of previous editions: despite health-related restrictions and reduced space for the Medina, no concessions have been made at the artistic level. Our team is continuing its efforts to offer the public a range of quality shows and an array of constantly renewed animation activities and interactive workshops As an alternative to welcoming international artists and holding certain activities, our team has deployed its efforts to offer premières of three international shows disseminated digitally in partnership with the Cabaret Sauvage in Paris. Two digital series have also been devised for this year: two capsules initiating viewers to the cuisine of Lands of the Orient and a focus series on our Quebec artists raising various themes, including artistic expression in the context of a pandemic.

“Other digital projects are also being rolled out: our organization is currently working to develop a digital network grouping Lands of the Orient and several partner organizations to promote common virtual platforms for the dissemination of original digital content,” Ms. Nakhlé concluded.

Shows on the TD Stage

Each evening, the TD Stage will celebrate an Orient that is both ancient and contemporary through an array of artists illustrating the arts and culture of Morocco, Algeria, Iran, Syria, Thailand, Korea and, of course, Canada.

International artists (digital component)
In partnership with the Cabaret Sauvage in Paris and its “Jeudis Oui!” summer program, Orientalys will offer première performances of three original shows by leading figures on the French and Algerian musical scene: Akli D, a top artist on the Kabyle and world music scenes, Djam, former leader of the Algerian group Djmawi Africa, known for his groove with reggae influences, and Sidi Wacho, an Arab-Chilean fusion artist blending hip-hop and cumbia, offering popular musical styles and committed lyrics.

Youba - Orientalys


Artists from the Quebec and Canadian scene
Breakthrough artist Youba will be back at Orientalys and will ignite the stage with his Middle Eastern, raï and flamenco-influenced hits. Rock fans will be treated to the bohemian energy of the group Good Noise, which nurtures its guitar riffs with Gnawa and Berber colours.

In renewed traditional musical styles, the group Salamte Gnawa and the Orchestre Arabi, presented by the Dar Al Maghrib Moroccan cultural centre, will deliver great moments of exaltation borne by Gnawa ritual trances and Arab-Andalusian popular musical styles. Kurdish and Persian dances and musical traditions will be conveyed through the convulsive beats and enchanting sounds of the Ensemble Mast, revealing facets of a little known culture to the public. And the dance troupe Simork, led by Nima Machouf, will perform a colourful array of Persian dances from the various regions and cultures of Iran.

A long night will be devoted to the arts and cultures of Syria, ranging from the oral traditions of the hakawati (storyteller) to theatre and popular dances with the group Syrian trio and their guests and the ecstatic flights of tarab will be presented by the great voice of the famous singer Abdelkarim Shaar.



Urban music and dance styles have a place of honour in this 11th edition program. For the first time, the Festival is welcoming the K-pop group 2ksquad, a troupe of passionate dancers who have come to represent this genre in our metropolis. With sophisticated choreographies in the most expressive of urban styles, the group presents over-the-top music and dance styles linking South Korea with the West. Meanwhile, the explosive duo DE.VILLE invites us to discover a world moving between East and West in an exhilarating swirl of beats and RnB.

This journey across Asia will make a stopover in Thailand with the Thai Dance Troupe of Ottawa and its fascinating multi-hued costumes that tell the mythical story of Ramakien.

Finally, the family audience will not be left out. The magnificent children‟s series “Dounia” by Marya Zarif will be presented in partnership with Télé-Québec, using subtlety and poetry to raise the theme of immigration and exile as experienced and told through a child’s eyes.

Shows on the Medina Stage

The shows on the Medina Stage invite audiences to encounters and sharing through interactive performances and continuous animation. In a joyful and festive atmosphere, festivalgoers can admire shows featuring a wide range of artistic disciplines and styles (music, dance, visual arts, martial arts, etc.

Japanese tea ceremony

Japanese tea ceremony

Initiate yourself in Kathak dance to explore Indian grace, discover the refinement of Persian and Afghan dances, get your hips swaying by daring to try Moroccan folkloric dance and belly dancing, or let yourself be carried away by the spirited “olé” of flamenco. All told, an array of colourful dance shows will enliven the four days of festivities.

Festivalgoers can take part in a traditional Moroccan, Thai or Iranian wedding, admire the beauty of Moroccan caftans, witness the prowess of Chinese circus or discover a Japanese tea ceremony.

They can also get a taste of Arab-Andalusian and chaabi musical styles, the percussive melodies of Japanese shamisen or the vibrant sounds of the oud and the darbouka.

Digital series
In collaboration with “Lands of the Orient,” the beating heart of Orientalys, the Festival team has devised and filmed two digital series aimed at initiating and immersing the public in Oriental arts and cultures.

Travelling to the Orient also means tasting its culinary delicacies, its flavourful recipes and its divinely scented spices that infuse the soul. Orientalys invites its audience to discover authentic and renewed dishes made from recipes passed down from generation to generation. Capsules filmed in local homes, where you learn not only the recipes but also the history and the anecdotes hidden behind the preparation of each dish, will reveal the secrets of Lebanese, Iraqi, Tunisian or Egyptian cuisine.

After more than a year of pandemic and a long hiatus in live in-person shows, what do our artists have to say about the impact of these uncertain times on their artistic paths? What does a return to normal mean to them? In the intimacy of their homes, Orientalys artists speak out about the challenges of their artistic expression in the context of the pandemic while immersing us in their everyday lives. Interviews with Valeska (Persian and Afghan dance), Jacinthe Marcil (shamisen), Noémy Braun (cello), Sergiu Popa (accordion), Joseph Khoury (percussions) and Myriam Nunez (belly dancing).

Workshops – discoveries



On stage or under the big top, Orientalys workshops will let the public discover the traditional and contemporary arts of the Lands of the Orient: tai-chi, cooking and pastry-making, K-pop, belly dancing, Moroccan dance, flamenco dance, carpet-making, calligraphy, percussions, children’s arts and crafts and other workshops will be offered by passionate artisans and artists.

For more information, and to reserve your free place at all in-person events, visit: www.festivalorientalys.com