Wajd – Songs of Separation with Performance by Rumi Canada


Wajd – Songs of Separation with Performance by Rumi Canada

Date: Sat, Mar 02, 2019 08:00PM
Price: $20, $18 Friends, $12 students and seniors
Includes same-day Museum admission (redeem at Ticket Desk)

Amar Chebib, 2018, 87 min.


Join us for a screening of the documentary Wajd – Songs of Separation, followed by a Q&A with the film’s director, and a whirling dervish performance accompanied by live Sufi music from Rumi Canada.


In 2010, filmmaker Amar Chebib was in Syria exploring sacred Sufi music when the civil war broke out, prompting him to focus instead on the lives of three musicians forced into exile. Five years later, when the musicians are living as refugees in Turkey and Holland, they turn to their love of Sufi music to help find meaning in the aftermath of atrocity.


Featuring pre- and post-war footage of Syria, stirring musical performances, and extremely rare Sufi ceremonies, what unfolds is a testament to the life-affirming power of music and creative expression.


The evening’s live music comes from Rumi Canada musicians: Amir Koushkani (tar, setar, and arranger), Nour Khedder (vocals), and Zohreh Shabazy (daf). The Sufi Sama whirling dervishes are Farzad AttarJafari and Lindsey Ridgway.


This film screening and performance are part of our 2018/19 Performing Arts season, The Other Side of Fear, featuring acclaimed artists who have transcended fear through music, dance, and spoken word.



Amar Chebib is a Syrian-Canadian filmmaker, who grew up between the Middle East and North America. He graduated from the Vancouver Film School in 2006, and has since directed various short films, music videos, and commercials around the world. Chebib currently lives in Vancouver where he directs and produces short branded documentaries through his production company, Luminus Films. Wajd is his first feature length documentary.


Amir Koushkani’s training in Persian music began in Iran, where he was introduced to traditional Persian themes under the tutelage of Master Dariush Pirniakan. He holds a Masters Degree in Western Musical Composition and received a PhD in Ethnomusicology at York University, where his dissertation covered the history and theory of Iranian musical transcription. He has recently published a two-volume study on the Persian Avaz in collaboration with master Mohammad-Reza Shajarian and Professor Rob Simms at York University. He most recently performed at the Aga Khan Museum and Ismaili Centre Toronto during Nuit Blanche programming in October of 2017.


Farzad AttarJafari studied classical Sufism under the direction of several masters. He has trained as a Semazan (whirling dervish) and studied a range of Sufi dances, music, and poetry. Born in Tehran, he has performed across the US and Canada and currently lives in Toronto, where he serves the Sufi whirling dervishes community and hosts regular educational sessions.


Lindsey Ridgway is a classically trained dancer and has studied Sufism including sama, the ritual whirling meditation, for the past nine years. Over this time, she has shared sama throughout North America including with Omar Faruk Tekbilek, the Vashaan Ensemble, and the Threshold Society. Lindsey is also a producer on the film Wajd - Songs of Separation, and she lives in Vancouver with her husband Amar Chebib.


Nour Khedder is a singer and performer. After pursuing her studies at Homs University in Syria, she moved to Canada and began a career with the Canadian Arabic Orchestra. She has performed in various venues across Ontario and Quebec. Her performances have been diverse in nature ranging from Muwashahat to a fusion of Indigenous and Arabic Music called “Origins.” She is proud to have sung one of the first original pieces of the Canadian Arabic Orchestra composed by Hasan Tamimi.


Zohreh Shahbazy is a talented daf and kamancheh player who was a member of the Iranian youth orchestra ensemble of Vahdat Hall, and has performed in more than 350 concerts in Iran alone. Since arriving in Canada, she has collaborated with organizations including Rumi Canada, Janna, the Andalib Ensemble, and others.


Two Rivers Ensemble

Friday, April 6, 2019, 8 pm

Hamza Akram Qawwal and Brothers

Friday, April 19, 2019, 8:30 pm

Ashwini Bhide Deshpande

Saturday, April 27, 2019, 7 pm

In partnership with

Rumi Canada

With support from

Ontario Arts Council



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