Sunday, October 8, 2017

Recording: Bassam Bishara with Pedram Khavarzamini

Artist: Bassam Bishara with Pedram Khavarzamini

Song: two unknown songs*

Recorded at 918 Bathurst (Labyrinth Ontario Launch / Fundraiser), September 15, 2017.

Bassam Bishara with Pedram Khavarzamini - unknown #1

Bassam Bishara with Pedram Khavarzamini - unknown #2

This night was the formal public launch of Labyrinth Ontario, a new initiative founded by local musicians Araz Salek and Jonathan Adjemian to promote "the study and enjoyment of global traditions of modal music". Bringing together some diverse ensembles, this night featured music of the highest calibre — an auspicious sign of things to come as the group begins to organize a number of teaching workshops and concerts next year.

It was a genuine treat to close out the night to see this duo of two local masters of their instruments. I had seen tombak player Pedram Khavarzamini a few times before (including earlier in the evening) but witnessing Bassam Bishara on oud was a joyful revelation. With no setlist, the pair would simply suggest songs to one another and then go, usually leading off with Bishara establishing the tune on his own before Khavarzamini would join in to buoy him along. With a slight smile and playful twinkle in his eye, Bishara looked like any musician engaged in a casual back porch jam session, but that would belie the sheer staggeringly advanced level these two were operating at. A real reminder of the musical richness that exists in this city around us.

* Does anyone know the titles to these? Please leave a comment!

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