Wednesday, March 28, 2012, 8 PM
St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St. East
Artistic Producer: Evelyn Tauben

Lower Orchestra: $45 | Upper Orchestra: $30
A limited number of $20 student tickets are available
Koffler Members: Lower Orchestra: $35 | Upper Orchestra: $25
Membership starts as low as $50, become an Envision member today!

A one-of-a-kind journey mixing and melding the musical traditions of Middle Eastern Jews together with Eastern European Jewish music, all performed by an international supergroup. This soul-stirring concert blends the sounds, messages and flavours of piyyutim (liturgical poems set to music) and nigunim (spiritual melodies). The performance will be the culmination of an intensive residency at the Koffler Centre of the Arts, where globally renowned violinist and oud player, Yair Dalal (Israel) and trumpetist Frank London (USA) from the Grammy-winning Klezmatics will compose new repertoire with a marvelous, diverse group of Toronto’s top musicians: Waleed Abdulhamid, Aviva Chernick, Rick Shadrach Lazar, Lenka Lichtenberg, Demetrios Petsalakis, Debashis Sinha, and Maryem Tollar – plus surprise guests including a large ensemble of all ages! Don’t miss this dynamic ensemble, as they unveil new layers of an uplifting tradition, ready to be discovered in unexpected ways. 


Waleed Abdulhamid is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, vocalist, producer and filmmaker, who has been an active member of the Toronto music scene since his arrival in Canada in 1992. Waleed was born in Sudan and began performing at the age of 6, touring across his country, Egypt, Syria, Kuwait and the Emirates. After leaving Sudan, he performed and toured extensively, appearing at major European music festivals. He demonstrates his versatility on guitar, bass, drums, flute, harmonica, marimba, balimbo, congas, djembe, to name a few, and is known for his striking vocals, innovative bass technique, and his speed and precision on percussion. Waleed has played and recorded with David Clayton Thomas, Jackie Richardson, Jully Black, Deborah Cox and Zaki Ibrahim. He also scored and produced the documentary film, “Let’s Find A Way,” which raised funds to help children affected by HIV. Waleed has musically directed shows at the Caliban Arts Theatre, Inner Stage, and various dance companies, and has composed and produced music for several TV shows and films. Waleed is a Resident Artist at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts.

Tom Allen of Canada’s National Broadcaster has said: “Aviva Chernick is a fearless musical adventurer.“ She is the lead singer of the Juno-nominated ensemble Jaffa Road, touring and recording a new album of original melodies. Ongoing projects include Adjuntaremos – a reimagining of the Balkan Ladino repertoire with partners Eric Stein (Beyond the Pale), Drew Jurecka (Jill Barber) and Joel Schwartz (Great Lake Swimmer), as well as La Mer, a collaboration with Juno-nominated singer Maryem Tollar, in which the singers share their combined repertoires in Hebrew, Arabic, French and Ladino. Aviva is in the process of recording her first album of Devotional music, original Jewish prayer songs with a superb ensemble of World Music makers. Aviva is also a cantorial soloist, leading prayer at congregations in and around Toronto as well as travelling to congregations around North America as a guest leader, teacher and facilitator of her workshops entitled Freeing the Voice.

Yair Dalal is a composer, violinist, oud player and singer. Much of Dalal’s work reflects his extensive skills in both classical and Arabic music and his strong affinity for the desert and its habitants. Dalal has performed around the world both in solo concerts and with his Alol ensemble. He has collaborated with top international musicians from different disciplines, including celebrated western classical conductor and Maestro Zubin Mehta, Jordi Savall and Hesperion XXI, the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Kamerata Jerusalem Orchestra, and many more. Dalal participates and lectures in various music educational institutes in Israel and worldwide and is also the initiator of Mediterranean Musical Dialogue in Israel. Apart from creating music, Dalal devotes his time to preserving musical heritages from becoming extinct – the Babylonian musical heritage and the music of the Bedouin (the Sinai desert nomads). Dalal is also a peace activist, devoting much of his time and energy to helping to remove ideological barriers between different cultures and, in particular between Jews and Arabs.

Rick was voted Percussionist of the Year five times by Jazz Report magazine and has produced and released 4 CDs with his group Montuno Police: “Bang,” “Touch,” “The Call,” and “Nomads.” Rick has toured / recorded with such artists as Bruce Cockburn, Barry White, Paul Shaffer and is a regular collaborator with Loreena McKennitt on her recordings and tours. Rick is the creator and artistic director of Samba Squad and has written, produced and released 2 CDs with this group, “Samba Squad” and “Batuque.” He is also an educator at York University (ESCOLA DE SAMBA AND CUBAN MUSIC COURSES). Lazar has also developed workshop techniques, which are being successfully used in the Samba Kidz and Samba Teens programs. Rick’s knowledge of world drums and passion makes him a unique percussionist who is first call for a diverse array of artists.

Lenka Lichtenberg is an award-winning Canadian, Prague-born composer, singer in Yiddish, English, Czech, French and Hebrew, arranger, producer, bandleader with 5 solo CD releases and several collaborations on her resume. She is in the midst of a diverse career, most recently performing at festivals in Poland, Czech Republic and Argentina, and the Chutzpah! Festival in Vancouver, B.C.  Lenka holds a Master of Arts degree in ethnomusicology from York University. She was nominated for the 2011 Canadian Folk Music Awards as a World Music Artist of the Year, solo, for her recording of original Yiddish music, Fray. Her current projects are: Bridges, Jewish and Arabic music in dialogue; Lullabies from Exile, a recording project of Yiddish and Babylonian music with Yair Dalal, and Songs for the Breathing Walls, recordings of liturgy in 12 Czech and Moravian synagogues.

Trumpeter and composer, Frank London is a member of the Grammy award-winning Klezmatics as well as Hasidic New Wave. He has performed around the world with John Zorn, LL Cool J, Mel Torme, Lester Bowie¹s Brass Fantasy, LaMonte Young, They Might Be Giants, David Byrne, Jane Siberry, Ben Folds 5, Mark Ribot, Maurice El Medioni and Gal Costa, and is featured on over 100 albums. His own recordings include the cantorial music of Invocations, Frank London¹s Klezmer Brass Allstars, as well as Nigunim and The Zmiros Project of Jewish mystical songs together with Klezmatics vocalist Lorin Sklamberg. He has composed widely for theatre and films and taught Jewish music in Canada, Crimea and the Catskills.

Originally from Athens Greece, Demetrios Petsalakis is a Toronto based musician participating in the multicultural music scene of the city.  Performing in a variety of styles, he is involved with bands such as Samba Squad, Ventanas, and Nomadica where he is featured playing a variety of stringed instruments including electric guitar, outi, bouzouki and the greek baglama.

Debashis Sinha’s creative output spans a broad range of genres and media, from world music percussion on the concert stage, to solo audiovisual performances in galleries, to the interior spaces between two headphones.  Driven by a fierce commitment to the primacy of sound, Sinha has developed a distinct palette of creative practice by weaving together his own experience as a second generation south Asian Canadian, his training with master drummers from various world music traditions, a love of electronic and electroacoustic music and technology, and a desire to transcend the traditional expectations of how these streams might intersect and interact.  This approach has led Sinha to realize projects spanning the genres of radiophonic art, single and multi-channel video, audiovisual performance, installation art, and music, traveling from Banff to Berlin to exhibit and perform in a variety of contexts.  As a drummer, he can be found playing for Turkish/electronica group Minor Empire, northern music group Ensemble Polaris, and chamber electronica duo Knuckleduster, with noted Berlin laptop musician Robert Lippok, among others.

Over more than a decade, Maryem Tollar has built a reputation as a performer who can live and thrive in a variety of milieus.  She was born in Egypt and raised in Canada with frequent sojourns in the Middle East. She performs classical/traditional Arabic music as well as her own original music. She was a featured performer playing ‘Ariana’ in R. Murray Schafer’s Dora Award winning piece, “The Children’s Crusade” (premiered in Luminato 2009).  She has toured across Canada several times with a variety of projects including her own ensemble; Christos Hatzis’ multimedia project, “Constantinople” and his large scale work “Sepulcher of Life”.  She premiered “From the Song of Songs” by Christos Hatzis and commissioned by Tafelmusik in March 2008. Maryem has sung on several film and television scores including the theme music for CBC Television’s “Little Mosque on the Prairie” and A.R.Rahman’s hit “Mayya Mayya” in the Bollywood movie “Guru”.  Her CD “Cairo to Toronto” was nominated for a 2009 Juno Award in the world music category. She performed and created the live music in Heather Raffo’s “Nine Parts of Desire” in May 2010, a play about 9 Iraqi women, and was nominated for a Dora Award (Outstanding ensemble cast).  In 2011, she collaborated with Natasha Greenblatt providing music, in her play “The Peacemaker”.  Her music was adapted in Alumni Theatre’s production of “Trojan Women”, directed by Alexandra Seay.  You can get her CD “Cairo to Toronto” by going to