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Event Details

Wed, May 30, 2018

21:00 – 22:30

Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Firenze, Italia

A poetic encounter between strings and voice, from the epics of the Mandingo Kingdom to the music of the Persian court.

My garden is my work.
My memory is the soil of my garden, which grows in this earth,
spreads its roots and penetrates the soil to go elsewhere,
to unite with the universe.

  • Kiya Tabassian

Everywhere, from time immemorial, the Word has been embodied by the bard, the troubadour, the griot. These wordsmiths, at once messengers and peacemakers, are the links with the forces of nature, the inexpressible divine, the memory of the ancients. It falls to them to maintain the realm of the collective soul.

Nowadays, these freethinkers and travelers are making the world their garden… Like the eternally migrating birds, Constantinople and Ablaye Cissoko, a griot from Saint-Louis, Senegal.

From the very beginning, the meeting between these musicians was a poetic one. A meeting between strings and voices, between eras, between the Mandinka Kingdom and Persian Empire, evoking the sheer joy of being. This joint crossing of shared regions of the imagination is like a deep breath before the inexorable march of time and the world.

Ablaye Cissoko, kora & voice
Kiya Tabassian, setar and voice
Pierre-Yves Marte, viola da gamba
Patrick Graham, percussion

With the support of Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and Canada Council for the Arts.

Concert in the Limonaia

Featured Biographies



Constantinople is a musical ensemble that chose the journey—geographical certainly, but also historical, cultural and inner—as its cornerstone. It draws inspiration from all sources and aims for distant horizons. Inspired by the ancient city illuminating the East and West, Constantinople was founded in 1998 in Montreal by its artistic director, Kiya Tabassian.

Since its founding, the ensemble promotes the creation of new works incorporating musical elements of diverse musical traditions around the world, drawing from medieval manuscripts to a contemporary aesthetic, passing by Mediterranean Europe to Eastern traditions and New World Baroque. Underpinned by a spirit of research and creation, Constantinople has joined forces with leading international artists such as singers Marco Beasley, Françoise Atlan, Savina Yannatou and Suzie Le Blanc; the Mandingo griot Ablaye Cissoko; the Greek ensemble En Chordais, the Belgian duo Belem and the American group The Klezmatics; sarangi virtuoso Dhruba Ghosh, Syrian clarinettist and composer Kinan Azmeh, and Iranian kamancheh master Kayhan Kalhor.

Regularly invited to perform in international festivals and prestigious concert halls, such as the Salle Pleyel in Paris, the Berliner Philharmonie, the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music in Morocco, the Rencontres musicales de Conques in France, the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, the Cervantino Festival in Mexico, the Festival de Carthage in Tunisia, the Onassis Cultural Centre-Athens and the BOZAR in Brussels, Constantinople is acclaimed by the public, music professionals and critics alike. The ensemble has 16 albums to its credit on labels Analekta, Atma, World Village, Buda Musique and MaCase. Over the course of the decade, Constantinople has created nearly 40 works and travelled to nearly 125 cities in 25 countries.

The 2017-2018 artistic season marks a watershed moment for Constantinople, because in addition to the more than fifty concerts to be presented around the world by the ensemble, its annual season of new works will be fully produced in 4 different cities: Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, and Ottawa