Experience the work of exemplary artists who show us the myriad ways cultures communicate through the performing arts. Linked thematically with HERE, the Museum’s first exhibition devoted to contemporary Canadian art, our Conversation Nation series of events offers a chance to see and hear innovative, inspiring, and socially relevant performances by renowned Canadian artists.

Vocalists Maryem Tollar, Brenna MacCrimmon, Sophia Grigoriadis, and Jayne Brown present fresh, engaging melodies that take inspiration from Arabic, Balkan, Macedonian, Turkish, and Albanian folk songs. United by friendship and a shared passion for singing and storytelling, the JUNO-nominated quartet celebrate life through music inspired by their respective cultural traditions. They’ll be joined by four guest musicians — Demetri Petsalakis (oud), Naghmeh Farahmand (percussion), Ernie Tollar (sax, flutes) and Andrew Downing (cello) — adding expressive improvisatory vignettes and their instrumental mastery to the evening.

Special guests The Balkan Experiment, a collective of female singers/percussionists who are, at times haunting, at others, riotous, present the entrancing polyphony of the Balkans, Eastern Europe, and beyond — with a modern twist.

This event includes same-day Museum admission.

Maryem Tollar is a renowned Egyptian-Canadian vocalist who has contributed to the theme of CBC’s Little Mosque on the Prairie and A.R. Rahman’s Bollywood hit song “Mayya Mayya.” Tollar was the featured vocalist in Tafelmusik’s 2016 production of Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee Houses, and she performed the world premiere of Christos Hatzis’ piece Syn-Phonia – Migration Patterns with The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Inuit throat singer Tiffany Ayalik.

Brenna MacCrimmon is a Toronto-based interpreter of Turkish and Balkan songs — an adventure that began with a trip to a local public library’s vinyl collection in 1983. She has studied and performed with many notable masters of the traditions in both Turkey and the US. She works on a diverse range of musical projects and travels frequently to perform and teach.

Sophia Grigoriadis is a musician and teacher. In the last 30 years her study of Greek, Balkan, and Middle Eastern singing and percussion has led her to compose, perform, and tour with many Toronto world and fusion music ensembles. At Clapping Land Music Studio, she designs music programs for children and their families. Her compilation world music CD Sound Adventures — Global Music for Children (2006) garnered a Parent’s Choice Foundation Silver Award.

Jayne Brown has been learning, performing, travelling, and recording with several ensembles since switching to folkloric singing from classical, including the Latin American ensemble Nazka, Afro-Cuban ensemble Ilédé, Macedonian band Staro Selo, Mediterranean mash-up band Maza Mezé, and the Maryem Tollar Ensemble. For the past couple of decades, Jayne has been concentrating her efforts on Greek folkloric song, studying in both Greece and Toronto. Jayne balances her time between music and her psychotherapy practice.


Showcase Performance
Incantations with Moe Clark

Saturday, September 16, 8 pm

Showcase Performance
Under the Syrian Musical Sky by Constantinople with Kinan Azmeh

Friday, October 13, 8 pm

Showcase Performance
Fleur Persane by Perséides featuring Amir Amiri and Jean Félix Mailloux

Saturday, November 4, 8 pm

Showcase Performance
Origins by The Canadian Arabic Orchestra

Thursday, November 9, 7 pm

Showcase Performance
Haram with Gordon Grdina

Saturday, November 18, 8 pm

Showcase Performance
All Rivers at Once by The Israeli-Iranian Musical Initiative

Saturday, November 25, 8 pm

Photo by Mark Maryanovich Photography

Nazar by Turkwaz

$40, $36 Friends
Includes same-day Museum admission