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  • Musicians from the Constantinople Ensemble showcased percussion and string instruments from the East and West.
    Musicians from the Constantinople Ensemble showcased percussion and string instruments from the East and West. Asif Murji
Concert brings sounds of Istanbul to Ismaili Centre
Amber Savja
Zulfikar Hirji
22 July 2015
  • Toronto, 6 June 2015 — The Montreal-based Constantinople Musical Ensemble, along with special guests from Greece and Turkey, gave a concert at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. Their performance recalled the sights and sounds of Istanbul (formerly Constantinople), a city rich in history and culture.

    The Golden Door: Memories and Visions of Istanbul included Byzantine Christian chants, Ottoman Muslim ilahis and other genres composed by artists of Jewish, Persian, Greek and Central Asian backgrounds. The classical, sacred and popular music of The Golden Door illustrated the diversity of a place that sits at a crossroad of civilisations.

    The audience was captivated by the dialogue between art and culture. In addition to female and male vocalists, the Constantinople Ensemble includes percussion and string instruments like the oud, sitar, kamanche, daf, and qanun that have evolved in both the East and the West, and continue to be used in the modern era.

    The concert also featured a musical piece performed in conjunction with the Toronto Ismaili Youth Choir, conducted by Hussein Janmohamed. The following day the ensemble held a special workshop with the choir, and the two groups performed an impromptu recital in the Aga Khan Museum.

    The concert and workshop are part of Cities of Arrival — a curated programme of lectures, workshop, symposia, exhibitions, roundtables, and performances taking place at the Ismaili Centre that explore the past, present and futures of cities and urban life.