About the Project

Canada is one of the most multi-ethnic countries in the world. According to Statistics Canada’s Report on Immigration and Ethno-Cultural Diversity in Canada more than 200 ethnic origins were reported in the 2016 National Household Survey (NHS).

That’s why multiculturalism underpins the official ideology of Canada. Its objective is to preserve and advance the cultural diversity of the society while accommodating people of different ancestries and traditions, historic and religious backgrounds, and various psychological types. The policy of multiculturalism helps immigrants preserve their cultural heritage, while at the same time embracing what it is to be Canadian.

Multi-ethnicity is a reality in Canadian’s everyday life. We know that our neighbors are Filipinos, the apartment above us is occupied by a German family, and the owner of a bakery at the corner is an Italian. On Sundays, we like to have dinner at a Japanese restaurant, my daughter's friends are nice Hindu folks, and we all enjoy celebrating the Chinese New Year.

And yet we know very little about the people with whom we live side by side in one country.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to learn about and understand different cultures, to value and respect people of those cultures is the music, whose universal language does not require any translation. Therefore, this year, when Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary, we decided to launch a special project – Sounds of Canada.

The digital series Sounds of Canada serves precisely this purpose. It’s a unique project, where individuals and bands representing almost all ethnic and national groups in Canada will be, for the first time, given an opportunity to perform their favorite music. Those performances and concerts will present all genres of music, from classical to rock and rap.

The special feature of this series will be the opportunity given to a variety of artists living in Canada, from well-known performers to young and talented beginners, to showcase their talents worldwide. Who knows, participation in Sounds of Canada might make them the talk of the country.

The first season will feature musicians from the following ethnic communities: Russian, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Filipino, Arabic, Hungarian, Cuban, Irish, Indian, and Italian.

Ethnic Music Instruments

BAYAN

  

The bayan (Russian: бая́н, IPA: [bɐˈjan]) is a type of chromatic button accordion developed in Russia in the early 20th century and named after the 11th-century bard Boyan.

The bayan differs from western chromatic button accordions in some details of construction:

- Reeds are broader and rectangular (rather than trapezoidal).
- Reeds are often attached in large groups to a common plate (rather than in pairs); the plates are screwed to the reed block (rather than attached with wax).
- The melody-side keyboard is attached near the middle of the body (rather than at the rear).
- Reeds are generally not tuned with tremolo.
- Register switches may be operated with the chin on some larger models. (also possible with some larger European button accordions)
- The diminished chord row is shifted, so that the diminished G chord is where one would expect the diminished C chord in the Stradella bass system.
- Converter switches that go from standard preset chords to free bass (individual bass notes) are common on the larger instruments.
- Newer instruments may feature a register where every tone played actually produces a perfect fifth.
The differences in internal construction give the bayan a different tone color from Western instruments, and the bass has a much fuller sound. Because of their range and purity of tone, bayans are often the instrument of choice for accordion virtuosi who perform classical and contemporary classical music. Two Soviet composers of note who wrote compositions for bayan are Vladislav Zolotaryov and Sofia Gubaidulina. Russian Bayan virtuoso Stas Venglevski has premiered contemporary works by Yehuda Yannay, Anthony Galla-Rini and William Susman. In his work Drang (1999), John Palmer has pushed the expressive possibilities of the bayan to the limits of virtuosity

BAGPIPE

  

Bagpipes are a woodwind instrument using enclosed reeds fed from a constant reservoir of air in the form of a bag. Though the Scottish Great Highland bagpipes are the best known in the Anglophone world, bagpipes have been played for a millennium or more throughout large parts of Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia, including Turkey, the Caucasus, and around the Persian Gulf. The term bagpipe is equally correct in the singular or plural, though pipers usually refer to the bagpipes as "the pipes", "a set of pipes" or "a stand of pipes".

The evidence for pre-Roman era bagpipes is still uncertain but several textual and visual clues have been suggested. The Oxford History of Music says that a sculpture of bagpipes has been found on a Hittite slab at Euyuk in the Middle East, dated to 1000 BC. Several authors identify the ancient Greek askaulos (ἀσκός askos – wine-skin, αὐλός aulos – reed pipe) with the bagpipe.[2] In the 2nd century AD, Suetonius described the Roman emperor Nero as a player of the tibia utricularis.[3] Dio Chrysostom wrote in the 1st century of a contemporary sovereign (possibly Nero) who could play a pipe (tibia, Roman reedpipes similar to Greek and Etruscan instruments) with his mouth as well as by tucking a bladder beneath his armpit.

In the early part of the second millennium, definite clear attestations of bagpipes began to appear with frequency in Western European art and iconography. The Cantigas de Santa Maria, written in Galician-Portuguese and compiled in Castile in the mid-13th century, depicts several types of bagpipes.[5] Several illustrations of bagpipes also appear in the Chronique dite de Baudoin d’Avesnes, a 13th-century manuscript of northern French origin. Though evidence of bagpipes in the British Isles prior to the 14th century is contested, bagpipes are explicitly mentioned in The Canterbury Tales.

— Canterbury Tales
Bagpipes were also frequent subjects for carvers of wooden choir stalls in the late 15th and early 16th century throughout Europe, sometimes with animal musicians.

Actual examples of bagpipes from before the 18th century are extremely rare; however, a substantial number of paintings, carvings, engravings, manuscript illuminations, and so on survive. They make it clear that bagpipes varied hugely throughout Europe, and even within individual regions. Many examples of early folk bagpipes in continental Europe can be found in the paintings of Brueghel, Teniers, Jordaens, and Durer.

The first clear reference to the use of the Scottish Highland bagpipes is from a French history, which mentions their use at the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1547. George Buchanan (1506–82) claimed that they had replaced the trumpet on the battlefield. This period saw the creation of the ceòl mór (great music) of the bagpipe, which reflected its martial origins, with battle-tunes, marches, gatherings, salutes and laments. The Highlands of the early seventeenth century saw the development of piping families including the MacCrimmonds, MacArthurs, MacGregors and the Mackays of Gairloch.

Evidence of the bagpipe in Ireland occurs in 1581, when John Derrick's The Image of Irelande clearly depicts a bagpiper. Derrick's illustrations are considered to be reasonably faithful depictions of the attire and equipment of the English and Irish population of the 16th century. The "Battell" sequence from My Ladye Nevells Booke (1591) by William Byrd, which probably alludes to the Irish wars of 1578, contains a piece entitled The bagpipe: & the drone. In 1760, the first serious study of the Scottish Highland bagpipe and its music was attempted, in Joseph MacDonald's Compleat Theory. Further south, a manuscript from the 1730s by a William Dixon from Northumberland contains music that fits the border pipes, a nine-note bellows-blown bagpipe whose chanter is similar to that of the modern Great Highland bagpipe. However the music in Dixon's manuscript varied greatly from modern Highland bagpipe tunes, consisting mostly of extended variation sets of common dance tunes. Some of the tunes in the Dixon manuscript correspond to tunes found in early 19th century published and manuscript sources of Northumbrian smallpipe tunes, notably the rare book of 50 tunes, many with variations, by John Peacock.

As Western classical music developed, both in terms of musical sophistication and instrumental technology, bagpipes in many regions fell out of favour due to their limited range and function. This triggered a long, slow decline that continued, in most cases, into the 20th century.

Extensive and documented collections of traditional bagpipes can be found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the International Bagpipe Museum in Gijón, Spain, the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, England and the Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum in Northumberland, and the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.

CONGAS

  

The conga, also known as tumbadora, is a tall, narrow, single-headed drum from Cuba. Congas are staved like barrels and classified into three types: quinto (lead drum, highest), tres dos or tres golpes (middle), and tumba or salidor (lowest). Congas were originally used in Afro-Cuban music genres such as conga (hence their name) and rumba, where each drummer would play a single drum. Following numerous innovations in conga drumming and construction during the mid-20th century, as well as its internationalization, it became increasingly common for drummers to play two or three drums. Congas have become a popular instrument in many forms of Latin music such as son (when played by conjuntos), descarga, Afro-Cuban jazz, salsa, songo, merengue and Latin rock.

Most modern congas have a staved wooden or fiberglass shell, and a screw-tensioned drumhead. They are usually played in sets of two to four with the fingers and palms of the hand. Typical congas stand approximately 75 centimetres (30 in) from the bottom of the shell to the head. The drums may be played while seated. Alternatively, the drums may be mounted on a rack or stand to permit the player to play while standing. While they originated in Cuba, their incorporation into the popular and folk music of other countries has resulted in diversification of terminology for the instruments and the players. In Cuba, congas are called tumbadoras.

Conga players are called congueros, while rumberos refers to those who dance following the path of the players. The term "conga" was popularized in the 1930s, when Latin music swept the United States. Cuban son and New York jazz fused together to create what was then termed mambo, but later became known as salsa. In that same period, the popularity of the Conga Line helped to spread this new term. Desi Arnaz also played a role in the popularization of conga drums. However, the drum he played (which everyone called a conga drum at the time) was similar to the type of drum known as bokú used in his hometown, Santiago de Cuba. The word conga came from the rhythm la conga used during carnaval (carnival) in Cuba. The drums used in carnaval could have been referred to as tambores de conga since they played the rhythm la conga, and thus translated into English as conga drums.

Qanun is played on the lap while sitting or squatting, or sometimes on trestle support, by plucking the strings with two tortoise-shell picks (one for each hand) or with fingernails, and has a standard range of three and a half octaves from A2 to E6 that can be extended down to F2 and up to G6 in the case of Arabic designs.

The instrument also features special metallic levers or latches under each course called mandals. These small levers, which can be raised or lowered quickly by the performer while the instrument is being played, serve to slightly change the pitch of a particular course by altering effective string lengths.

OUD

  

The oud (/uːd/) is a short-neck lute-type, pear-shaped stringed instrument (a chordophone in the Hornbostel-Sachs classification of instruments) with 11 or 13 strings grouped in 5 or 6 courses, commonly used in Persian, Greek, Turkish, Jewish, Eastern Roman, Azerbaijani, Arabian, Armenian, North African (Chaabi, Classical, and Spanish Andalusian), Somali and Middle Eastern music.

In the first centuries of Arabian civilisation, the oud had 4 courses (one string per course – double-strings came later) only, tuned in successive fourths. These were called (for the lowest in pitch) the Bamm, then came (higher to highest in pitch) the Mathnā, the Mathlath and the Zīr. A fifth string (highest in pitch, lowest in its positioning in relation to other strings), called ḥād ("sharp"), was sometimes added for theoretical purposes, generally to complement the double octave.

MANDOLIN

  

A mandolin (Italian: mandolino pronounced [mandoˈliːno]; literally "small mandola") is a stringed musical instrument in the lute family and is usually plucked with a plectrum or "pick". It commonly has four courses of doubled metal strings tuned in unison (8 strings), although five (10 strings) and six (12 strings) course versions also exist. The courses are normally tuned in a succession of perfect fifths. It is the soprano member of a family that includes the mandola, octave mandolin, mandocello and mandobass.

There are many styles of mandolin, but three are common, the Neapolitan or round-backed mandolin, the carved-top mandolin and the flat-backed mandolin. The round-back has a deep bottom, constructed of strips of wood, glued together into a bowl. The carved-top or arch-top mandolin has a much shallower, arched back, and an arched top—both carved out of wood. The flat-backed mandolin uses thin sheets of wood for the body, braced on the inside for strength in a similar manner to a guitar. Each style of instrument has its own sound quality and is associated with particular forms of music. Neapolitan mandolins feature prominently in European classical music and traditional music. Carved-top instruments are common in American folk music and bluegrass music. Flat-backed instruments are commonly used in Irish, British and Brazilian folk music. Some modern Brazilian instruments feature an extra fifth course tuned a fifth lower than the standard fourth course.

Other mandolin varieties differ primarily in the number of strings and include four-string models (tuned in fifths) such as the Brescian and Cremonese, six-string types (tuned in fourths) such as the Milanese, Lombard and the Sicilian and 6 course instruments of 12 strings (two strings per course) such as the Genoese.[2] There has also been a twelve-string (three strings per course) type and an instrument with sixteen-strings (four strings per course).

Much of mandolin development revolved around the soundboard (the top). Pre-mandolin instruments were quiet instruments, strung with as many as six courses of gut strings, and were plucked with the fingers or with a quill. However, modern instruments are louder—using four courses of metal strings, which exert more pressure than the gut strings. The modern soundboard is designed to withstand the pressure of metal strings that would break earlier instruments. The soundboard comes in many shapes—but generally round or teardrop-shaped, sometimes with scrolls or other projections. There is usually one or more sound holes in the soundboard, either round, oval, or shaped like a calligraphic f (f-hole). A round or oval sound hole may be covered or bordered with decorative rosettes or purfling.

QANUN

  

The kanun, ganoun or kanoon (Arabic: قانون‎, translit. qānūn;Greek: κανονάκι, translit. kanonaki; Hebrew: קָנוֹן‬, qanon; Persian: قانون‬‎, qānūn; Turkish: kanun; Armenian: քանոն, translit. k’anon; Azerbaijani: qanun; Uyghur: قالون‎, ULY: qalon) is a string instrument played either solo, or more often as part of an ensemble, in much of the Middle East, Maghreb, West Africa, Central Asia, and southeastern regions of Europe. The name derives from the Arabic word qanun, meaning "rule, law, norm, principle", which is borrowed from the ancient Greek word and musical instrument κανών (rule), which in Latin was called canon (not to be confused with the European polyphonic musical style and composition technique known by the same name). Traditional and Classical musics executed on the qanun are based on Maqamat or Makamlar. As the historical relative of santur from the same geography, qanun is thought to trace its origins back to Assyria, where an ancestral homologue might have been used in Mesopotamian royal courts and religious ceremonies. The instrument today is a type of large zither with a thin trapezoidal soundboard that is famous for its unique melodramatic sound.

Arabic qanuns are usually constructed with five skin insets that support a single long bridge resting on five arching pillars, whereas the somewhat smaller Turkish qanuns are based on just four. This allows Arabic variants of the instrument to have more room for the installation of extreme bass and treble strings. Kanuns manufactured in Turkey generally feature 26 courses of strings, with three strings per course in the case of all regional variants. Contemporary Levantine designs use Nylon or PVC strings that are stretched over the bridge poised on fish-skins as described on one end, and attached to wooden tuning pegs at the other end.

Ornamental sound holes called kafes are a critical component of what constitutes the accustomed timbre of qanun. However, they normally occupy different locations on the soundboard of Turkish kanuns compared to Arabic qanuns, and may also vary in shape, size and number depending on geography or personal taste.

The dimensions of a Turkish kanun are typically 95 to 100 cm (37-39") in length, 38 to 40 cm (15-16") in width, and 4 to 6 cm (1.5-2.3") in height.[1] In contrast, an Arabic qanun measures a bit larger as mentioned.

Qanun is played on the lap while sitting or squatting, or sometimes on trestle support, by plucking the strings with two tortoise-shell picks (one for each hand) or with fingernails, and has a standard range of three and a half octaves from A2 to E6 that can be extended down to F2 and up to G6 in the case of Arabic designs.

The instrument also features special metallic levers or latches under each course called mandals. These small levers, which can be raised or lowered quickly by the performer while the instrument is being played, serve to slightly change the pitch of a particular course by altering effective string lengths.

BAGLAMA

  

The bağlama (Turkish: bağlama, from bağlamak, "to tie", pronounced [baːɫaˈma]) is a stringed musical instrument.

It is sometimes referred to as the saz (from the Persian ساز‎, meaning an instrument), it is also sometimes referred to as the "cura", although the term "saz" actually refers to a family of plucked string instruments, long-necked lutes used in Ottoman classical music, Turkish folk music, Iranian music, Azeri music, Kurdish music, Assyrian music, Armenian music, and in parts of Syria, Iraq and the Balkan countries. Instruments resembling today's bağlama have been found in archaeological excavations of Sumerian and Hittite mounds in Anatolia dating before Common Era, and in ancient Greek works.

According to The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, "the terms 'bağlama' and 'saz' are used somewhat interchangeably in Turkey."Like the Western lute and the Middle-Eastern oud, it has a deep round back, but a much longer neck. It can be played with a plectrum or with a fingerpicking style known as şelpe.

In the music of Greece the name baglamas (Greek: μπαγλαμάς) is given to a treble bouzouki, a related instrument. The Turkish settlement of Anatolia from the late eleventh century onward saw the introduction of a two-string Turkmen dutar, which was played in some areas of Turkey until recent times.

The bağlama is a synthesis of historical musical instruments in Central Asia and pre-Turkish Anatolia. It is partly descended from the Turkic komuz. The kopuz, or komuz, differs from the bağlama in that it has a leather-covered body and two or three strings made of sheep gut, wolf gut, or horsehair. It is played with the fingers rather than a plectrum and has a fingerboard without frets. Bağlama literally translates as "something that is tied up", probably a reference to the tied-on frets of the instrument. The word bağlama is first used in 18th-century texts. The French traveler Jean Benjamin de Laborde, who visited Turkey during that century, recorded that "the bağlama or tambura is in form exactly like the cogur, but smaller." He was probably referring to the smallest of the bağlama family, the cura.

According to the historian Hammer, metal strings were first used on a type of komuz with a long fingerboard known as the kolca kopuz in 15th-century Anatolia. This was the first step in the emergence of the çöğür (cogur), a transitional instrument between the komuz and the bağlama. According to 17th-century writer Evliya Çelebi, the cogur was first made in the city of Kütahya in western Turkey. To take the strain of the metal strings the leather body was replaced with wood, the fingerboard was lengthened and frets were introduced. Instead of five hair strings there were now twelve metal strings arranged in four groups of three. Today, the cogur is smaller than a medium-size bağlama.

KAMANCHEH

  

The kamancheh (also kamānche or kamāncha) (Persian: کمانچه‎), is an Iranian bowed string instrument, used also in Armenian, Azerbaijani, Turkish, and Kurdish Music and related to the rebab, the historical ancestor of the kamancheh and also to the bowed Byzantine lyra, ancestor of the European violin family. The strings are played with a variable-tension bow. It is widely used in the classical music of Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kurdistan Regions with slight variations in the structure of the instrument.

In 2017, art of crafting and playing with Kamantcheh/Kamancha, a bowed string musical instrument in Azerbaijan and Iran was included into the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.

In the Safavid and Qajar periods, Kamancheh was one of the most important instruments which was used in celebration scenes. Furthermore, it was described in celebration and war scenes paintings, from Mongol and Timurid periods. A wall fresco at Chehel Sotoun Palace in Isfahan shows a Kamancheh player among a group of court musicians at the royal court. A banquet scene of Shah Abbas II was depicted in the wall painting in honor of Nader Mohammad Khan emir of Turkistan in 1646. Additionally, a woman playing the Kamancheh was painted in another wall painting at Hasht Behesh Palace in Isfahan.

TAR

  

Tar (Persian: تار‎; Azerbaijani: tar) is an Iranian long-necked, waisted instrument, shared by many cultures and countries like Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, and other areas near the Caucasus region. The word tār (تار) means "string" in Persian, though it might have the same meaning in languages influenced by Persian. This has led some Iranian experts to hold that the Tar must be common among all the Iranian people as well as the territories that are named as "Iranian Cultural Continuum" by the Encyclopædia Iranica.

This is claimed to be the root of the names of the Persian setar and the guitar as well as less widespread instruments such as the dutar and the Indian sitar. Though it was certainly developed in the Persian Empire, the exact region in which it was first made and played in the Persian Empire cannot be confirmed.

Tar is one of the most important musical instruments in Iran and the Caucasus. The formation, compilation, edition, and inheritance of the most authentic and most comprehensive versions of radif are all worked on tar. The general trends of Persian classical music have been deeply influenced by tar players. In 2012 art of Azerbaijani craftsmanship and performance art of the tar was added to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The tar appeared in its present form in the middle of the eighteenth century in Persia. The body is a double-bowl shape carved from mulberry wood, with a thin membrane of stretched lamb-skin covering the top.

The fingerboard has twenty-five to twenty-eight adjustable gut frets, and there are three double courses of strings. Its range is about two and one-half octaves, and it is played with a small brass plectrum.

The long and narrow neck has a flat fingerboard running level to the membrane and ends in an elaborate pegbox with six wooden tuning pegs of different dimensions, adding to the decorative effect. It has three courses of double "singing" strings (each pair tuned in unison: the first two courses in plain steel, the third in wound copper), that are tuned in fourths (C, G, C) plus one "flying" bass string (wound in copper and tuned in G, an octave lower than the singing middle course) that runs outside the fingerboard and passes over an extension of the nut. Every String has its own tuning peg and are tuned independently. The Persian tar used to have five strings. The sixth string was added to the tar by Darvish Khan. This string is today's fifth string of the Iranian tar.

BLOG POSTS

  • Mediterranean Sounds of Canada

    During the months of May and June, we were filming an episode of Mediterranean Sounds of Canada featuring dancer Joanne Comilleri. The filming was done in Sultan’s Tent, one of the best and…

    Read more
  • Korean Sounds of Canada

    In late June, our filming crew went to the Korean Cultural Center of Toronto which houses the Korean Dance Studies Society of Canada (KDSSC). We shot several interviews with members of the ensemble,…

    Read more
  • Season2. Backstage Pass.

    Read more
  • Rolling Stronz

    If you want to fool around and get paid for it, you must have a big talent and an even bigger sense of humour. That’s exactly what the Rolling Stronz possess in addition…

    Read more
  • Indian Sounds of Canada. Backstage.

    Dance With SL is a South Asian dance and choreography collective, founded by Shereen Ladha, that trains and showcases the top Bollywood performers in Canada. Dance With SL is the creative force behind several viral YouTube videos and…

    Read more