“ILLUMINATION” – Persian & Turkish Sufi Concert

Saturday Feb 17, 2018


Vancouver Playhouse

600 Hamilton St.
Vancouver, BC

Vashaan Music Society and Caravan World Rhythms once again join forces to present a sublime evening of Persian and Turkish music, reuniting international-renowned Turkish Sufi musician Omar Faruk Tekbilek with Vancouver’s premiere Vashaan Persian Music Ensemble, and whirling dervish Raqib Burke, who performed together in the memorable concert “Sufi Journey” to a full house at the Chan Centre in 2014. These uniquely talented artists, joined by Israeli-Canadian guitarist Itamar Erez, will embark on a new presentation called “Illumination”, led by female santour player and musical director, Saina Khaledi.

Persian and Turkish cultures share many similarities as the two countries developed side by side for thousands of years.  These include similar instruments, similar rhythms and musical scales, though the approaches are very different. This concert revolves around the spontaneous musical and exchange between artists from different cultures who have a shared vision and a strong musical and personal connection. Audiences will be swept away by the uplifting and sublime energy created by these talented performers in “Illumination.”

The Vashaan ensemble strives to give creative voices to groups and people who are not often heard.  This year, the ensemble has focused on giving a stronger representation to Iranian female composers who have done remarkable work in their field but have not received the recognition they deserve.  Saina Khaledi is a fine example of talented Iranian women who are making great strides in Persian music. Saina is an award winning santour player from Iran and has played a central role in the creative development of the Vashaan Ensemble.  She has composed many pieces and has toured and performed with some of the best singers and musicians from Iran.  She has composed new pieces for this concert which are both technically challenging to perform, yet melodic and beautiful. Her compositions are inspired by the Sufi poetry of Rumi, which also inspires the music of Omar Faruk Tekbilek.


Omar Faruk Tekbilek is the most important international exponent of Sufi-inspired music from Turkey, who has created a loyal following across a variety of communities including World Music, Middle-eastern dance, and Jazz, since he began touring 30 years ago. He is a virtuoso on several instruments, including the nay (bamboo flute), the zurna (double-reed oboe like instrument), the baglama (long-necked lute) and a variety of hand percussions. Omar Faruk brilliantly interprets the Sufi, folk, and contemporary music of the Middle East.

Gathering together some of the finest classically trained Persian musicians working outside Iran, the Vashaan Ensemble draws upon Iran’s rich musical past to perform joyful and memorable Persian Traditional songs Members of the group include Reza Honari (kemanche – spike fiddle), Fathieh Honari (vocals), Hamin Honari (percussion), Ali Razmi (tar Persian lute), Saina Khaledi (santur), and Ali Sajjadi (oud).

Itamar Erez is an internationally renowned composer and guitarist who has shared the stage with such musicians as Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Tomatito, Avishai Cohen, Jean-Louis Matinier, Zohar Fresco, and others. Born in Israel, but making his home in Vancouver, Itamar’s music holds a depth and sensitivity that touches listeners deeply; It blends the delicateness of Middle Eastern music, the freedom found in Jazz and the passion of Flamenco, creating a unique sound all his own.

Rounding out the presentation is the internationally renowned Whirling Dervish, Raqib Brian Burke and his guest ensemble, known for their strong adherence to the spiritual Sufi tradition while exploring new movement vocabulary that reaches deep into the soul of those watching them.

ARTIST LINKS:  www.omarfaruktekbilek.com, www.vashaanensemble.com, www.itamarerez.com


The 2018 JUNO Awards Host Committee, in partnership with Creative BC and Music BC.