Tag Archives: Canada

Artist Profiles: Fiamma Fumana

Fiamma Fumana

Fiamma Fumana were formed in 1999 by three people who shared a love for the musical tradition of Northern Italy in general and their native Emilia Romagna in particular, but had otherwise very diverse backgrounds.

Alberto Cottica, accordionist guitarist and pianist, has been active in the Italian folk-rock music scene, for over ten years as co-founder of the highly successful (well over 350:000 albums sold) Modena City Ramblers; Marco Bertoni is an electronic musician and record producer who cooperates regularly with top-rank Italian deejays such as Santos; Fiamma Orlandi, at 22, was then an absolute beginner who had been brought up musically in the Emilian countryside, by her mother and grandmother. Her singing is a unique blend of traditional style and modern sensitivity.

The elements had been carefully selected and balanced: Fiamma Fumana was to be a tribute to the tradition of female vocals of Emilia and Italy in general (like the choirs of mondine, the rice gatherers who were all young girls), and that tradition was to be revitalized by a new generation and its musical culture: hence, electronica, the most natural musical expression for Fiamma and people her age in post-industrial and affluent Italy. The result was an intriguing blend of old Italian dance tunes played to new Italian dance grooves, traditional ballads and state-of-the art electronica.

Fiamma Fumana’s first album, 1.0, was released in 1999 in Italy by Mescal and soon traveled beyond national borders. Universal Music Japan engineered a Japanese release in 2000, and Omnium Recordings an American/Canadian/Mexican one in early 2001, to a wide acclaim. In the mean time, Fiamma and Alberto had built up a permanent (and predominantly female and very young, consistently with the attitude of the project) live band. This includes the versatile Lady Jessica Lombardi (Emilian bagpipes, flutes, electric bass) and Italian-Eritrean female dj Medhin Paolos (loops and samples). The band was invited to WOMAD 2001 in Palermo; to the CMJ Music Marathon in New York in the same year (the event cancelled because of the Twin Towers tragedy); to the Detroit Festival of the Arts in 2002 and to many festivals and gigs in Italy and abroad.

In September 2003 Fiamma Fumana signed to American label Omnium Recordings and released their second album, Home. The new release is even more focused on northern Italian roots than the former one (almost all of the 11 tracks are traditional, and traditional artists of the old generations feature prominently), but it is also more extreme in sound, with a harder, more live approach to electronica. The album was accompanied by a contract with an agent in the USA, SRO Artists, and an American tour, which saw Fiamma Fumana perform on the most important American world music festivals and clubs of the period.


1.0 (Omnium Records, 2001)
Home (Omnium, 2003)
Contatto (Omnium Records, 2004)
Onda (Omnium Records, 2006)


Artist Profiles: Donal Clancy

Donal Clancy

Donal Clancy was born in Canada in 1975 and later moved to Ireland. He has been involved with the best bands in Irish music, starting out in Clancy, O’Connell, and Clancy with his father Liam and his cousin Robbie O’Connell, helping to found the band Danú and them moving on to become part of Eileen Ivers Band before taking a pivotal spot playing guitar with one of the hottest Irish and Irish American bands around, Solas. When it was time to make a change, he found his old band Danú in need of a guitar player again, and that’s still one of his main gigs.


Close to Home (Compass, 2006)
Songs of a Roving Blade (2014)
On the Lonesome Plain (2018)


Artist Profiles: Loga Ramin Torkian

Loga Ramin Torkian

Loga Ramin Torkian was the guitarist and musical director of Axiom of Choice. Born in Iran, he moved to the United States after the revolution. When asked to speak about his musical background, he says, “The path to defining one’s music is never straight. I reflect upon the day I left my flamenco guitar teacher – disheartened by his truthful comment that after practicing for years, the only way to bring myself to professional standards would be to move to Spain, otherwise my playing would always have an accent.

I knew I could not leave the United States for years to come and I felt I had reached an end. I did not realize then that I was about to discover something very unique within myself.” Loga spent the next three years studying the tar, a Persian lute and joined for a short period a traditional ensemble. But he quickly learned that he could not satisfy his creativity within the framework of traditional music. It was then that he decided to create the quarter-tone guitar to which he adapted many of the tar techniques and formed Axiom of Choice, which served as a common ground for other expatriates to work with him. “As an emigre artist, I have chosen to express myself in music that is not bound by the confines of traditional Persian music. Yet, my music in its very depth comes from that tradition,” said Loga who continues to use the radif (Persian repertoire) and Persian melodies as the source of his compositions. Many master musicians have welcomed his approach.

Loga’s unique approach to compositions is influenced heavily by years of playing for Masters Theses concerts at U.C.L.A. and by his education in Mathematics. “Dancers,” he says, “count to subdivide the space, not time! In mathematics one defines the axiom before articulating any theory. I find both principles to be of great help when I am composing. I also believe that every composition must have a concept or principle, and should not just be a direct expression of the subconscious. Often I use visual images to inspire and –assist musicians in the creation of these compositions. To me, musicians are like actors on stage. They bring to life through music their personal interpretations of images, feelings, ideas, and that to me is very respectable.”

Loga’s extensive travels around the world have been essential in developing his great sensitivity towards other cultures. He believes that any music originating from a specific tradition that crosses over to other cultures must remain equally convincing for the traditions that it involves.

In 2005, along with vocalist Azam Ali and programmer/producer Carmen Rizzo, Loga founded the best-selling world music group Niyaz. Blending medieval Sufi poetry and folk songs from Iran, the Indian sub-continent and Turkey, rich acoustic instrumentation, with modern electronics.

He is currently based in Montreal, Canada.



Mehraab (Six Degrees Records, 2012)

With Axiom of Choice:

Beyond Denial (Faray-e Enkaar) (X Dot 25, 1996)
Niya Yesh (Narada World, 2000)
Unfolding (Goshayesh) (Narada World, 2002)

With Niyaz:

Niyaz (Six Degrees, 2005)
Nine Heavens (Six Degrees, 2008)
Sumud (Six Degrees, 2012)
The Fourth Light (Six Degrees, 2015)


Artist Profiles: Kiya Tabassian

Kiya Tabassian

Born in Tehran in 1976, Kiya Tabassian received his initial training in Persian music from Mehrdad Torabi at the Bahârlou Institute in Tehran, from Reza Ghassemi in Paris and Kayhan Kalhor in Montreal. He has since continued to develop his instrumental skills independently. He has also studied composition at the Conservatoire de Musique de Montréal with Gilles Tremblay and Michel Gonneville.

In 1989, he founded the Tahmassebi Ensemble. In addition to directing the group, he contributed several compositions to its repertoire. The ensemble gave several concerts throughout Iran and performed on the Iranian national broadcasting network. In 1990, upon his arrival in Canada, he co-founded the Darvish-Khan Trio, an ensemble devoted to classical Persian music. He is also the co-founder of Constantinople, an ensemble that specializes in medieval and Renaissance music, and Nowrouz, which is devoted to classical Persian music. Both ensembles have performed in a number of Canadian cities.

Kiya has collaborated with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) on several occasions as a performer and special co-host. In addition, he performs regularly throughout the U.S., France, Greece and Mexico, both as a soloist and in collaboration with other musicians.

In 2000, he was composer in residence for Musique Multi Montréal with a project entitled “Poussières d’étoiles.” Along with his brother Ziya, he recorded his first CD of Persian classical music titled Garden of the Memory on the XXI-21 label. He has also recorded several CDs with Constantinople on the ATMA label.

Since March 2002, he has been an active member of the MediMuses project, as a member of the research group on the history of Mediterranean music.

Kiya is a member of the Conseil Québécois de la Musique. He has received several grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. Kiya has frequently been invited to give lectures and presentations on Persian music.


Terres Turquoises (Atma Classique, 2004)
Mania (Atma Classique, 2005)
Masafat (Ambiances Magnétiques, 2009)

With Constantinople (Early Music ensemble)

Musique du Moyen Âge et de la Renaissance (Atma)
Memoria Sefardí – Jewish & Christian Spanish Music (Atma)
Li Tans Nouveaus (Atma)
De Castille à Samarkand (Atma 22383)
Greece – Carrefour De La Méditerrannée, with ensemble En Chordais (Atma)
Que le Yable les emporte (Atma Classique)
Terra nostra – 17th century Mexico (Atma 22567)
Ay Amor (Atma Classique)
Premiers Songes (Analekta)
Marco Polo (World Village)
Jardins migrateurs (Analekta)


Artist Profiles: Yves Lambert

Yves Lambert

A talented singer-songwriter, versatile musician and consummate Epicurean, Yves Lambert is perhaps best known as a founding member of Quebecois folk supergroup La Bottine Souriante, with whom he played thousands of concerts and television appearances all over the world, from Quebec and the rest of Canada to the US, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

La Bottine Souriante’s 11 albums, in which Yves participated not only as a musician and vocalist but also as co-producer and researcher, have sold more than 500 000 copies worldwide (some going gold and platinum), and have won Felix Awards, Juno Awards and various other distinctions.

In 2002, he launched his solo career with the album Les vacances de M. Lambert (Mr. Lambert’s Holiday). While remaining a leading figure in traditional Qu?becois music, he has sought to promote dialog with the music of other cultures the world over.


Y’a ben du changement, with La Bottine Souriante (Mille Pattes Records, 1978)
Chic ‘n Swell, with La Bottine Souriante (Green Linnet Records, 1982)
La Traversée de l’Atlantique, with La Bottine Souriante (Green Linnet Records, 1986)
Tout comme au jour de l’an, with La Bottine Souriante (Mille Pattes Records, 1987)
La Mistrine, with La Bottine Souriante (1994)
Les Vacances De Monsieur Lambert (Mille-Pattes, 1998)
Récidive ‎(La Pruche Libre Productions, 2004)
Le Monde À Lambert ‎(La Pruche Libre Productions, 2007)
Bal À L’Huile ‎(La Pruche Libre Productions, 2009)
Trio (2012)
Lambert dans ses bottines avec Socalled (Disques Musicor, 2015)
Laissez courir les chiens (La Prûche Libre, 2015)


Artist Profiles: The McDades

The McDades

The McDades At the heart of The McDades are three siblings: the fiddle playing Shannon, Solon on bass, and youngest brother, Jeremiah, a multi instrumental virtuoso on whistles, saxophone, fiddle and flute. The McDades are joined by vocalist and guitarist, Andy Hillhouse and multi-genre percussionist, Francois Taillefer.

The McDade’s sound is immersed in the spirit of improvisation featuring both energetic instrumentals and sensitive vocals performed in English and French. The McDades Celtic rooted music fuses the spontaneity of jazz improvisation and infectious global rhythms.

The McDades have been recipients of the 2007 Juno Award Winners for Best Roots/Traditional Album Group, winners of the 2007 Independent Music Award for Best World Album Traditional and winners of the 2006 Canadian Folk Music Awards for Best World Group and Best Instrumental Group.


Midwinter (2001)
For Reel (Free Radio, 2002)
Noel (2004)
Bloom (Free Radio, 2006)
Winter Rose (2011)


Artist Profiles: Simon Beaudry

Simon Beaudry

Guitarist and bouzouki player Simon Beaudry is from Saint-Côme, Québec. Simon grew up surrounded by traditional music. His maternal grandfather is well known in the area for his repertoire of songs and his paternal grandfather Joseph Beaudry (Tido) is a fiddler. Simon’s father sings and plays guitar and his brother Eric performs with La Bottine Souriante.

Simon has been playing and singing since the age of fifteen and as well as being influenced by the traditional music of Quebec .

Simon Beaudry joined Le Vent du Nord in 2004.


Les amants du Saint-Laurent (Borealis Records, 2005)
Dans les airs (Borealis Records, 2007)
Mesdames et Messieurs (Borealis Records, 2008)
La part du feu (Borealis Records, 2009)
Symphonique (Radio-Canada disque, 2010)
Tromper le Temps (Borealis Records, 2012)
Têtu (Borealis Records, 2015)


Artist Profiles: Olivier Demers

Olivier Demers

Olivier Demers is an accomplished violin player and multi-instrumentalist with a history in classical and Quebecois folk music. He has performed with L’Orchestre des Jeunes Laval-Laurentides as well as many chamber music ensembles, and, in addition, has sung with the Chorale de la Basilisque Notre-Dame de Montreal.

Olivier also has freelanced with the award-winning French-Canadian band La Bottine Souriante, and toured in Belgium with Musa Dieng Kala, from Senegal. He has participated in numerous recordings.

In 2001, he teamed up with Nicolas Boulerice to produce a duo recording, which was the genesis of acclaimed Quebecois band Le Vent du Nord.


Le vent du nord est toujours fret…, with Nicolas Boulerice (Roues et archets, 2001)
Maudite Moisson! (Borealis Records, 2003)
Les amants du Saint-Laurent (Borealis Records, 2005)
Dans les airs (Borealis Records, 2007)
Mesdames et Messieurs (Borealis Records, 2008)
La part du feu (Borealis Records, 2009)
Symphonique (Radio-Canada disque, 2010)
Tromper le Temps (Borealis Records, 2012)
Têtu (Borealis Records, 2015)


Artist Profiles: Oliver Schroer

Oliver Schroer

Oliver Schroer was born June 18, 1956 in Toronto, Canada.

Oliver Schroer was a unique fiddler/composer whose musical explorations took him far beyond his traditional Canadian roots into the realms of jazz, Scandinavian, Balkan, and Asian music. He melded those elements into a unique and recognizable style of his own: lyrical, fractal, a continuously twisting thread.

Schroer composed over 1,000 pieces and recorded over a dozen albums. He also produced various albums for the Somerset label, two of which went Gold. He also did soundtrack work. Schroer’s playing was heard on the award winning television series Angels in America and on Lemony Snickett, a Series of Unfortunate Events.

He performed across North America and Europe with a wide variety of top acts in venues ranging from intimate clubs to New York’s Lincoln Center. He was a featured guest on virtually every leading Canadian national radio show, and was the subject of numerous special broadcasts

Oliver Schroer’s album, Camino, chronicled the Camino de Santiago – a 1000-kilometer ancient pilgrimage through France and Spain that ends in the heart of Galicia – Santiago de Compostela.

Oliver Schroer died July 3, 2008 in Toronto, Canada.


Jigzup (Big Dog Music, 1993)
Whirled (Big Dog Music, 1994)
Stewed Tomatoes (Big Dog Music, 1996)
Celtica (Avalon Records, 1998)
O2 (Big Dog Music, 1999)
Restless Urban Primitive (Big Dog Music, 2001)
A Million Stars (Big Dog Music, 2004)
Camino (Big Dog Music, 2006)
Celtic Devotion (Avalon Records, 2006)
Hymns and Hers (Big Dog Music, 2007)
Smithers (Big Dog Music, 2007)
Freedom Row (Borealis, 2010)
Enthralled, with Nuala Kennedy, (Borealis, 2012)


Artist Profiles: Nicolas Boulerice

Nicolas Boulerice

Trained as a pianist, Nicholas Boulerice has experimented with many genres of music on the keyboard. A fascination with the unusual led him in 1997 to the ancient European stringed instrument known as the hurdy gurdy, which he subsequently studied in Ireland and France. He is now proficient at both playing and building hurdy-gurdies, having handcrafted the ones he currently plays.

Nicolas toured throughout North America from 1998 to 2002 as a member of the neo-traditional bands Ad Vielle Que Pourra and Montcorbier, whose repertoires included the music of both France and Quebec.

In addition to his talents as instrumentalist, Nicolas is a gifted vocalist known for captivating audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.

He is a member of Le Vent du Nord.



Maison de bois (2015)

With Le Vent du Nord:

Maudite Moisson! (Borealis Records, 2003)
Les amants du Saint-Laurent (Borealis Records, 2005)
Dans les airs (Borealis Records, 2007)
Mesdames et Messieurs (Borealis Records, 2008)
La part du feu (Borealis Records, 2009)
Symphonique (Radio-Canada disque, 2010)
Tromper le Temps (Borealis Records, 2012)
Têtu (Borealis Records, 2015)