An eclectic celebration of love and diversity through music and dance.
Throughout the ages people have struggled to extend the love and respect offered to those familiar to us to others who are different and unknown — to minorities, immigrants, refugees and other vulnerable members of society. Artists, musicians, and religious and civil leaders alike have all advocated variations of the theme “Love your neighbor” or “Welcome The Stranger.” This call to acknowledge the common humanity of all people — and by extension their individual human rights — is a founding principle of modern society.
Kiran Ahluwalia’s LOVEfest combines the talents of sacred and secular artists from both Muslim and Sikh traditions (two communities currently experiencing an alarming rise in hate crimes). Featuring the passionate vocals of Kiran Ahluwalia (from India), inspired Arabic songwriting of Souad Massi (Algeria), combined with traditional Sikh temple singers (here for the first time on the concert stage) and the colorful whirling of Egyptian Tanoura Sufi dancers, LOVEfest illuminates a diverse world of cultural artistic expression; offering performers and audiences alike an opportunity to “Welcome The Stranger.” See Bios below
Sikh Spirituals by Bhai Kabul Singh
The spiritual songs of the Sikhs – known as Kirtan – are a music tradition hidden from most of the world. These mystic melodies and powerful rhythms are performed only in Sikh Temples. LOVEfest brings this sacred music to the concert stage for the very first time. The Bhai Kabul Singh trio of tabla, two harmoniums and three voices originates from the holy Golden Temple in Amritsar India. The group is currently based in Canada where they immigrated as political refugees in the 1980s.
Born in Algeria, residing in France, Souad Massi is the most successful female singer-songwriter in the Arabic speaking world. Her songs speak of freedom in Africa and the Arab world and of the creativity and tolerance that was the hallmark of early Muslim civilizations. Her new project at this festival will be an all female trio of voice, cello and luth.
Abul Gheit Whirling Dervishes
Tanoura is Sufi dance from Egypt. It is performed by men who spin continuously in the dervish style. This dynamic spinning is augmented with upper body movement and peeling off layers of colorful skirts. The circular movement is based on the philosophy that all movement in the world begins at a certain point and ends at the same point. The program will have two dancers and 3 musicians.
Kiran Ahluwalia is a two time JUNO (Canadian Grammy) winner. Rooted in Indian and Pakistani music her songs are heavily influenced by African desert blues and jazz. She sings of divine love in the form of Sufi mysticism and yearning sensual love in the style of her progressive Indian music. Her 5-piece group includes electric guitar, electric bass, tabla and accordion and voice.