New York-based musicians from five countries perform at Noor Cultural Centre

The Noor Cultural Centre and York University are presenting six New York-based musicians from India, Turkey, Palestine, Lebanon and Tunisia who together will perform “Re-encounters on the Silk Road: Turkish, Kurdish and Indian Music” as a way to recreate the cultural exchange of human experience which occurred along the ancient routes making up the Silk Road.

The performance will take place Saturday, April 11 at 7:30pm at the Noor Cultural Centre, 123 Wynford Dr. (Don Valley Parkway & Eglinton Avenue East), Toronto.

Right: Taoufiq Ben Amor

The Silk Road is a network of ancient routes extending over 5,000 miles from eastern China all the way to the Levant and the eastern Mediterranean basin. This road was travelled not only by traders and merchants, but also by pilgrims, monks, soldiers and prospectors. As such, it was instrumental in the exchange of commodities such as rare textiles, spices, incense and tea, but also of cultures, languages, ideas and belief systems.

Left: Zafer Tawil

Tunisian vocalist, percussionist and oud player Taoufiq Ben Amor has been part of projects that have brought together North Indian, Afro-Brazilian and Iranian musicians. He is founder of the Middle Eastern Music Ensemble at Columbia University, where he teaches Arabic. Palestinian musician Zafer Tawil, who plays the oud and the violin, has performed throughout the US and the Middle East and was part of the Spirit of Fès 2006 US Tour.

Ramzi El-Edlibi is a dancer and percussion player who has mastered the tabla, riq (Arab tambourine) and frame drum. His dance career began in Lebanon and continued with the Caracalla Dance Theatre where he was a principal dancer. He has performed Middle Eastern folk dance in Russia, Japan, Spain, France, the UK, Egypt, Libya and Iraq. Ben Amor, Tawil and El-Edlibi are members of the group Tarab.

Right: Ramzi El-Edlibi

Vocalist Ozan Aksoy’s father began teaching him the art of baglama, or Kurdish tembur, an instrument of symbolic importance for the Kurdish Alevi minority in Turkey, when he was a child. He has recorded five albums and given concerts across Europe and Turkey with Kardeº Türküler, performing the local music of Anatolia, the Balkans and Caucasus.

Shah Gaurav, who performs vocals, harmonium and bansuri, blends Indian classical and semi-classical music with American songwriting. As an undergraduate at Harvard University, he co-founded the band Karyshma. Satyan Shah has been learning tabla for the past 12 years and has performed with various artists around the US.

In a world that is becoming increasingly fortified against immigration and the direct exchange of human experiences, New York City stands at the crossroad of a new Silk Route as a unique place where such encounters can be re-imagined. Through playing together, this group of New York-based musicians is attempting to recreate these kinds of encounters.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children ages 12 and under, and $15 for students with ID.