East-West musical fusion highlight of festival - Metro US

East-West musical fusion highlight of festival

One of the best things about music festivals — no matter what the genre — is that they provide a place for musicians of different styles and backgrounds to play together in a whole new way, creating sounds and live collaborations that might never be heard again.

This year’s Chamberfest features many musical mélanges, but one of the most interesting is a fusion of Middle Eastern sounds with classical chamber fare.

Crossings: A Musical Passage from West to East will feature 13 musicians and various instruments including strings, winds, and innovative percussion.

Representing the “west” component is Toronto-based group Gryphon Trio, among others, and lending the spirit of the “east,” are renowned oud and violin player Simon Shaheen and esteemed drummer and percussionist Jamey Haddad. Both are masters of a variety of Middle Eastern sounds, and according to Chamberfest executive director John Frecker, their unique sounds blended with classical melodies will make for “one of the highlights of this or any festival.”

The concert was originally produced by Music Toronto for the Chamber at Lula series in our nation’s biggest city. The idea behind the series, says Roman Borys — a Music Toronto member and cellist for Gryphon Trio — was to introduce people to chamber music in a venue that was warm, and welcoming. “It was also just a cool way for us to get to work with great musicians of other backgrounds,” he adds.

He says re-staging the concert here in Ottawa seemed like a great fit, since both Gryphon Trio and Simon Shaheen have a strong fan base in the capital.

It’s also the kind of show that can appeal to a wide range of music lovers.

“This is not a stuffy, run-of-the-mill concert,” explains Borys, the cellist in Gryphon Trio. “When we did this in Toronto in January and Simon Shaheen was playing it was electric. People were yelling out, encouraging him, and it was very lively and fun.”

Crossings: A Musical Passage from West to East begins at 8 p.m. tonight at Dominion-Chalmers United Church. For ticket information visit www.chamberfest.comonline.


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