Moneka Jazz (Canada)

In collaboration with Neruda Arts

Rooted in jazz and blues, Moneka Arabic Jazz draws on bandleader Ahmed Moneka’s Afro-Arabic heritage and influences along with Toronto’s own multicultural mix to create a distinct, funky sound.

Since Ahmed arrived from Baghdad in 2015, the Toronto music and theatre communities have warmly embraced his Iraqi artistic heritage – its stories and songs – into their own growing cultural narratives.  His work in the city that he calls “the meeting place” has led to collaborations with, among others, the Canadian Opera Company, Lulaworld, the Aga Khan Museum, Tafelmusik, Koerner Hall, Modern Times Stage and Jaberi Dance Theatre.  In addition, Ahmed was Artist in Residence with Driftwood Theatre Group and a founding member of the border-hopping band Moskitto Bar.

A Stingray Rising Stars Award finalist at the 2019 TD Toronto Jazz Festival, Moneka Arabic Jazz takes Moneka’s creative journey to the next level.  It introduces Maqam, the Arabic music tradition that Ahmed learned growing up, while weaving his African identity, heritage and influences into the fabric.  Jazz and blues are perfect genres to bridge Moneka’s Middle Eastern background with those of his five stellar North American bandmates whose music embodies the great diversity of the T.O. arts scene in 2020.

The current members of Moneka Arabic Jazz are Ernie Tollar (saxophone, Arabic flute), Waleed Abdulhamid (bass guitar, vocals), Fethi Nadjem (electric violin, kora), Demetrios Petsalakis (oud, guitar), Max Sennitt (drum kit) and Ahmed Moneka (vocals).

Watch the live stream on Facebook & Youtube Dec. 9 @ 8:00pm