Caravan World Rhythms

Ventanas & Lache Cercel Roma Ensemble

  • Date:

    Sat February 24

  • Time:

    Doors 7pm / Show 8pm-Midnight

  • Venue:

    Russian Hall, 600 Campbell St., Strathcona

  • Tickets:

    $25 Advance / $30 Door

Get Tickets Now

“MIGRATIONS” – A unique double bill of featuring the music and dance of migratory cultures that intersected from Eastern Europe to the Iberian Peninsula, including Sephardic Jewish, Spanish-Roma flamenco, Balkan-Roma, Romanian, Turkish, and more.

From Toronto, singer-dancer Tamar Ilana leads the Balkan-Flamenco group Ventanas.

From Vancouver, virtuoso Romanian-Roma violinist Lache Cercel leads his Roma-swing ensemble, with special guest Moroccan singer Meriem Ben Amor, and guest accordionist.

WORKSHOP NOTICE: Tamar Ilana will lead a SEPHARDIC MUSIC workshop on Tuesday, Feb 20, 7pm at the Net Loft on Granville Island, co-hosted by the Gandharva Loka Music Store. Cost $20. Pre-registration is required by calling the store during business hours at 604-683-6733, or email:

Tamar Ilana and her trans-Mediterranean ensemble Ventanas fuse passion and intimate dialogue, embracing the varied instrumental and melodic traditions of North Africa, the Balkans, Turkey and Spain to create fresh interpretations and original songs. flamenco guitar, baglama, violin, darbuka, and percussive flamenco footwork intertwine with surprising harmony, joy and yearning. Tamar Ilana defies easy categorization. The Toronto-born singer’s voice is as fierce and powerful as it is delicate and ornamental, and she is as comfortable enchanting heart-wrenching flamenco arrangements in Spanish as she is breathing mournful Sephardic love songs, or singing playful Balkan party tunes. With her Canadian Folk Music Award-nominated ensemble Ventanas, Ilana skips effortlessly from one genre to the next, and in her original compositions blends these diverse influences with a mastery that makes their synthesis sound like the most natural thing in the world.

Before leaving his homeland, Lache Cercel was one of Romania’s premier musicians. From a musical family, he trained at the Academy of Arts in Bucharest, became a soloist with the Radio and Television Symphony Orchestra and, in 1986, was awarded the “Artist of the People” Citation by the Romanian government. He calls his fusion Roma Jazz or Roma Swing. In the tradition of Django Reinhardt and Stephen Grappelli, Cercel lays classical and improvisational jazz alongside traditional renderings, which makes for a phenomenal sound.

Cercel is a bandleader who lets every musician shine. He plays with the outrageous virtuosity found in contemporary European Roma recordings, and adds his own vision, relaxing the form somewhat. The musicians play with freedom and the listener feels the strong roots and hears the history of tragedy, struggle and ultimate survival that is part of Roma music.


We would like to thank the SOCAN Foundation, and the Government of British Columbia for their support of this project.

Youtube Video

Youtube Video

Youtube Video

Photo Gallery