Media Release: Notes From the Araxes Basin

Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra presents Festival of Middle Eastern Music

Global Soundscapes Festival: Notes From the Araxes Basin

February 19-29, 2016

Various venues in Vancouver, North Vancouver & Victoria

Tickets & information

This February, Vancouver-based musicians and composers will collaborate with virtuoso soloists from Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon and Iran, and visiting Canadian ensembles from Victoria and Montreal, to present traditional, contemporary and intercultural music of the Middle East and Canada. Notes From the Araxes Basin promises to be a great musical adventure, guaranteed to expand horizons and transcend borders.

The Araxes (or Aras) River starts in Turkey, and flows along the border with Armenia into Azerbaijan, where it continues along another border (with Iran), until it joins the Kura and together they reach the Caspian Sea. As major rivers often are, the Araxes is a boundary marker, but also a roadway, where tributaries, travellers, cultures and ideas meet and are swept along on voyages of discovery. The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra’s annual Global Soundscapes Festival takes similar journeys in musical form. This year’s edition, subtitled Notes From the Araxes Basin, showcases the musical traditions and instruments of the Middle East. Over 10 days of concerts, chamber recitals, educational events and more, the VICO will present an impressive list of special guests:

  • Neva Özgen (kemençe) from Turkey
  • Gevorg Dabaghyan (duduk) from Armenia
  • Charbel Rouhana (oud) from Lebanon
  • Didem Basar (qanun) from Iran
  • Emily Carr String Quartet from Victoria
  • Persian-Canadian setar player Kiya Tabassian and his world music/fusion trio Constantinople from Montreal

Also featured will be BC’s own Hossein Behroozinia (barbat), Ramin Bahrami (tombak) and Hamin Honari (tombak & daf), Saina Khaledi (santur), Navid Goldrick (oud) and Niel Golden (tabla).  Featured composers include Ahmed Adnan Saygun (Turkey), Mohammad Taghi Massoudieh (Iran), Vartapet Komitas (Armenia), Artyom Kim (Uzbekistan) as well as Vancouver’s Mark Armanini, Rodney Sharman, Farshid Samandari, John Oliver and Moshe Denburg.

“This is truly music without borders”, says VICO artistic director Mark Armanini. “When all the artists involved are not only virtuoso talents, but also creative, flexible and willing to work hard at communicating across cultural and stylistic differences…what you get is a brilliantly expanded sound palette – so many more colours and rhythmic nuances! – and music that is both rooted in ancient traditions and excitingly fresh to the ear. It’s a really beautiful demonstration of the power of artistic collaboration, and how it can transcend boundaries – cultural, geographical, political, historical.”

Please visit the VICO website for detailed event information, artist bios and instrument descriptions. Read a Q&A with communications manager Melanie Thompson & the festival team in Artslandia Magazine.