World on a String

Small World Music Society
Toronto, ON

Five remarkable Toronto musicians for whom ‘the string is the thing’ come together to remount their brilliant performances at Fort York during the Small World Festival. In the intimate setting of the Small World Centre, artists from a range of cultures will showcase their traditions and create new combinations that highlight musical ‘common ground’. The five participants will perform individually to demonstrate their instruments and music before bringing their impressive talents together in a unique global string session.

Cihat Ozturk is a gifted performer of Turkish baglama, who won the Turkish Folk Music competition for Turkish Radio Television as a young man. His love for Turkish folk music followed Chihat as he relocated to Toronto, where he has found new inspiration in teaching baglama to every race, every culture and anyone who is interested, to foster cultural understanding and build a community of Turkish music enthusiasts.

The voice of the ‘Little Mosque on the Prairie’ theme, Maryem Tollar is also a highly qualified performer on qanun, the Arabic plucked zither. Her repertoire encompasses centuries’ old Arabic songs plus her own poly cultural creations. A key presence in Toronto’s world music scene for two decades, Maryem has performed in numerous configurations, including with Turkwaz, also performing at Fort York on Saturday afternoon.

Erhu player Amely Zhou is trained in both Eastern and Western traditions. She began her music studies at an early age at the Shenzhen Arts School. In 2007, she joined the Toronto Chinese Orchestra, where she is currently the orchestra’s bow-string section assistant principal, helping to promote Chinese orchestral music in Canada. In 2010, she co-founded the Chinese-Western fusion band Spire, who impressed in their performance at Small World’s Asian Music Series.

Anton Apostolov is a virtuoso guitarist and an innovative composer. Although he was trained as a classical guitarist, Anton is equally proficient performing in a variety of genres. Anton’s ability to organically combine the complex rhythmical structures of his native Bulgarian folk music with diverse jazz and global music influences makes him a unique and in-demand musician.

Anne Lederman is recognized as one of Canada’s premier fiddlers. A force in this country’s music since the ‘80s, Anne is strongly rooted in several Canadian musical traditions, old and new – Metis and French-Canadian, Scottish, Irish and Old-Time Canadian, Eastern European and African. She is active in a variety of performing ensembles and has overseen the growth of International Fiddle Day, taking place each May in Toronto.


Noura Mint Seymali

Small World Music Society
Toronto, ON

“gutsy, declamatory playing and singing…Impressive.” – The Guardian (UK)

Noura Mint Seymali is Mauritania’s most internationally renowned performing artist. Drawing on the ancient repertoire of the Moorish griot, her band creates “a full blown sandstorm of hypnotic grooves, melding traditional Mauritanian instruments, like the ardine and tidinite, within an electrified psychedelic rock band.” (The Quietus – UK) Reared in a transitive culture where sounds from across the Sahara, the Magreb, and West Africa coalesce, Noura Mint Seymali currently drives the legacy forward as one of Mauritania’s most adventurous young artists.

“The arrival of Mauritanian vocalist Noura Mint Seymali in front of Western audiences feels like the start of a new era.” – National Public Radio (USA)

Though performances at events like globalFEST (USA), Festival-au-Desert (Mali), Hayy Festival (Egypt), Jeux de Francophonie (France) and Festival Timitar (Morocco) and collaborations with artists like Tinariwen, Bassekou Kouyaté, and Baaba Maal, the band is actively exposing Mauritanian roots music to the world. In a rare merger of cultural authority and experimental prowess, Noura Mint Seymali applies the ancient musical traditions of the griot with a savvy aesthetic engagement in our contemporary moment, emerging as a powerful voice at nexus of a changing Africa.

“Seymali and her group are impeccable, a riot of traditional Mauritanian music and psychedelic rock” – The Wire (UK)



Small World Music Society
Toronto, ON

ODE is a new band consisting of three glimmering stars in the Swedish folk music sky: Olle Linder (percussion, guitar, vocals), Dan Svensson (percussion, vocals, guitar) and Emilia Amper (nyckelharpa and vocals). Their chemistry as persons and musicians is extraordinary and their captivating songs, contagious groove and charming stage presence makes audiences smile, cry and dance. Their repertoire is built solely on their own newly composed material, and their texts are inspired by things that concern here and now. The setting and sound is full of rhythmical influences from Sweden, West Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, from traditional music, contemporary folk and pop.



Small World Music Society
Toronto, ON

United by long standing friendships and a love of singing, Brenna MacCrimmon, Maryem Tollar, Sophia Grigoriadis and Jayne Brown join forces to celebrate the stories of life through song. Their curiosity and insatiable thirst for musical experience has led to explorations of song traditions from the Middle East and Turkey to Greece and the Balkans. Apart, they have been collecting, performing and recording traditional repertoire – both as solo artists and as members of numerous bands – for over 30 years, lending their voices to films, theatrical productions and multiple Juno-nominated recordings. As the recently formed Nazar-i Turwaz, they have been sharing and exploring this repertoire, creating their own adaptations and cultivating a sweet sonic union that is unstoppable.


Lemon Bucket Orkestra + More!

Small World Music Society
Toronto, ON

Lemon Bucket Orkestra + More – Fri Mar 11th

Part of BRASH – A Horny Music Festival – presented by Small World Music & Lemon Bucket Orkestra

Sat Mar 12th – Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar + Lemon bucket Orkestra

The Lemon Bucket Orkestra is Canada’s only balkan-klezmer-gypsy-party-punk-super-band. Born on the streets of Toronto as a busking band in 2010, the original quartet of guerrilla-folk troubadours quickly amassed a battalion of troops armed with brass and bows and started touring the world. LBO has been nominated for several awards, heralded as ground-breaking by international media, and has performed at international festivals across the globe, but their greatest achievement is their ability to embody the dynamic space between “home” and “exotic” and to welcome audiences into the celebration of that space.

“Adventurously multicultural… amazing” – Wall Street Journal

LBO’s members have even gone as far as the eastern front of the war in Ukraine, using their music as catharsis, support, and even a platform for storytelling and information sharing in a political arena obfuscated by propaganda and misinformation. Their most recent performance project, Counting Sheep, is an interactive video-music-theatre-dinner-play that tells the story of the Maidan Revolution through traditional central and eastern Ukrainian choral songs and welcomes audience members to feel what band-members Mark Marczyk and Marichka Kudriavtseva felt when the protests in Kyiv escalated and snipers opened fire just over a year ago.

“If there was a way to battle the unbridled energy of Lemon Bucket Orkestra’s music and gigs, you’d have to slap a sticker on the contents with warning, Flammable Material” – Toronto Sun

Their new album, Moorka, was recorded in a friend’s barn in Waterloo right after their 3-month Canadian tour and was released in March 2015. It will include re-worked folk songs the band learned in Romania, Ukraine, Serbia, and Macedonia from local virtuosos on their last European tour, each tune spiked with a unique blend of funk, punk, psychadelia, blues and swing to give it that now infamous LBO momentum.

“amazing frenetic, gloriously anarchic and ultimately joyous” – Winnipeg Free Press


Boban Markovic Orkestra + Lemon Bucket Orkestra

Small World Music Society
Toronto, ON

Boban Markovic Orkestar – Sat Mar 12th Featuring ‘Toronto’s Best Band’ (NOW Magazine) – Lemon Bucket Orkestra Part of BRASH – A Horny Music Festival – presented by Small World Music & Lemon Bucket Orkestra

“Fearsome…. phenomenal musicians…” – Mojo

Imagine twelve shining brass instruments blasting away, lead by a trumpet as rapturous as it is melancholic. Imagine the Balkanic fusion of the love of life with its inescapable sadness. Imagine Boban Markovic, judged “best trumpet on Earth” at the legendary Guca festival in central Serbia, playing live in Belgrade. Now stop imagining – they’re back!

”...a stunning blast of exuberance & virtuosity.” – The New York Times

The Boban Markovic Orkestar is the quintessential brass Balkan band and universally acknowledged as the best Balkan brass band on the planet! Originating from Vladicin Han, Southern Serbia, they are a twelve-piece band, wholly defined by their own gypsy lineage whilst giving a knowing nod towards other musical and cultural backgrounds closely related to that of the Romani’s.

“… zigzags between Turkish delights, ballistic Balkan rhythms and funk…genius at work here.” – The Weekend Australian

Boban and the Orkestar have won all of the most prestigious accolades available to players in Serbia: ‘Trumpet Maestro’ (x2), ‘Golden Trumpet’, ‘First Trumpet’, ‘The Best Orchestra’, ‘Best Concert’. Most of these awards have been presented at the notorious “Dragacevski Sabor” in Guca, Southern Serbia – a festival noted to attract both fearsome competition and hundreds of thousands of people.

” …the Boban Markovic Orkestar know where their music’s been but they’re hell-bent on slinging it straight into the future.” – Global Rhythm

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