Formed in 2006, London, Ontario’s award-winning The Light of East Ensemble has an extensive body of work rooted in the many lands of the Near and Middle East, and its seven stellar players perform this enchanting music with passion, sensitivity and respect.
The LoEE’s vibrant repertoire encompasses traditional, folk, Classical Arabic, Sephardic and Greek Rembetika as well as 20th century urban music from regions like Armenia, Greece (Asia Minor – Smyrni and Konstantinoupoli) and Turkey, and their neighbouring countries, such as Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Israel. The timeless rhythms and beautiful melodies of the East are nothing less than mesmerizing, and when coloured with tints of classical, jazz, Celtic and folk, they give The Light of East Ensemble a unique, worldly sound.
The current lineup spotlights the professional talents of Mary Ashton (violin, harp), Jedd House (contra basso), Tracey Atin (vocals), Jana Starling (clarinet, accordion), Kareem El Tyeb (percussion) and LoEE Artistic Director Panayiotis Giannarapis (oud, bouzouki, baglama, tzoura, nay). Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the band had enjoyed a busy 2019-20 season, including several appearances for TD Sunfest, and a trip to Sudbury’s new global music festival BLOOM. Outstanding musicianship, an uncompromising work ethic, and a rare sense of grace make every Light of East Ensemble concert a truly memorable occasion
The LoEE has three well-received albums to its credit. Its latest release, titled Sephardic Heart (2019), celebrates the music of the Jewish communities that flourished in Europe and the Mediterranean Basin after the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492. Sephardic Heart is full of passionate love songs, poignant lullabies and fascinating history lessons.