In the footsteps of Rumi – Constantinople & Ghalia Benali

Following in the footsteps of Rumi was a journey marked by remarkable encounters. First, eight centuries ago, there was the meeting in Damascus between Mowlana (‘my master’) Jalaleddin Rumi (1207-1273) and his own master, the great philosopher and poet Ibn Arabi. Then there was the moment when musician Kiya Tabassian first encountered the immensely influential work of Rumi. Finally, there was the moment when Tabassian found a singer with the ideal voice for bringing Rumi’s intoxicating and timeless songs back to life. This last encounter, following in the luminous foot steps of Rumi and ignoring all borders en route, has produced some fiercely vivid music.

Constantinople Ensemble, dir. Kiya Tabassian

 Setar virtuoso and acclaimed composer, Kiya Tabassian has carved out a privileged place on the international music scene with his ensemble Constantinople and also as a soloist. Past master in cross-cultural musical encounters, he travels across the five continents for presenting his creations and his music on stages from all over the world.

At 14 years old, Kiya Tabassian emigrated with his family to Quebec, bringing with him a few years of training in Persian scholarly music and his budding career on the Iranian musical scene. Determined to become a musician, composer and, more broadly, a carrier of memory, he pursued his training in Persian music as an autodidact and through his recurrent meetings with Reza Gassemi and Kayhan Kalhor. In parallel, he studies musical composition at the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal with Gilles Tremblay.

In 2001, he co-founded Constantinople with the idea of developing an ensemble of musical creations at the crossroads of multiple encounters; drawing from the heritage of the Middle-Ages and the Renaissance, from Europe to the Mediterranean and to the Middle-East. Since then, he has assumed artistic direction and has developed more than fifty programs with his ensemble.

Ghalia Benali, voice and composition

Known as “a maker of her own myths” as described by The New York Times, Ghalia Benali is a Tunisian-Belgian artist who started her career in 1992 as a singer, writer, composer, dancer, visual artist, painter, designer and actress.

Blending different types of music, connecting diverse cultures, reviving the old and rooting the new, these outcomes are natural to her since she has lived through the constant mixing of two extremes. Born in Brussels and raised in South Tunisia, she studied Graphic Design at the St. LUC Institute – Brussels. Her music has been noticed for its attribution to multiple genres and as defining contemporary Arabic music.

“Carthage’s Aretha Franklin,” “Wind’s Daughter,” “Ambassador of the Arabic Culture,” “Om Kolthoum’s Granddaughter” are just some of the descriptions given to her.

Benali is esteemed as being among the first ten “Most Fondly Remembered Live Performances of 2013’’ according to The New York Times and has been praised with the “World of Music Award” for best world music song from The British Independent Organization in 2008.

Her artistic achievements have a rich variety, holding over seven music albums with a range of different musical collaborations, roles in five movies and an Egyptian TV series, a book, as well as musical and art exhibitions under her name.

Saturday, November 6, 2021 at 8:00 pm
Bourgie Hall
To purchase your tickets visit:

Bourgie Concert Hall
1339 Sherbrooke Street West,
Montreal, Quebec
H3G 2E8

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