ABOUT THE SHOW
Tamar Ilana’s childhood was spent gathering songs from small villages on the edge of the Mediterranean and dancing flamenco, and Ventanas’ band members are from across the globe. Together, and in true Canadian fashion, they intertwine their musical cultures to create an all-encompassing world of their own in which they lead audiences down the less traveled paths of the Mediterranean, mixing in contemporary interpretations of ancient ballads, original compositions and new choreographies, inviting audiences of all backgrounds into their lives and music.
ABOUT TAMAR ILANA
Tamar Ilana is a Toronto-born multifaceted artist who grew up on stage singing in multiple languages, touring internationally and dancing flamenco since a very young age. Of Jewish-Indigenous-Romanian-Scottish descent, Tamar sings in 20 languages and is most influenced by the Sephardic and Flamenco traditions.
Tamar’s music and fierce talent reflect her personal and cultural history growing up in multicultural Toronto; accompanying her ethnomusicologist mother, Dr. Judith Cohen, on village fieldwork expeditions and on stage as a child; and living in Ibiza, Barcelona, Paris and Seville as a teen and young adult. Drawing on these experiences, Tamar founded her world music project, Ventanas, in 2011 with whom she has released three albums and been nominated for four Canadian Folk Music Awards including Best Traditional Singer. Tamar has collaborated with such renowned artists as Jesse Cook, Briga, Eliana Cuevas, Lenka Lichtenberg, Jaffa Road, Sultans of String, the Lemon Bucket Orkestra, and Tara Moneka. A highly sought-after flamenco dancer and singer, Tamar performs with the Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company, and at the Academy of Spanish Dance. Tamar has also been featured in award-winning, innovative international musicals in New York, San Francisco, Washington DC, the UK and Germany.
In 2020, Tamar co-founded the presenting arts organization FabCollab, and has since presented over 100 BIPOC women and minority artists at venues such as Koerner Hall and the Aga Khan Museum.
Founded in 2011, Ventanas interweaves flamenco, Sephardic and Balkan music and dance, and their own original compositions. They have released three albums (2013, 2015, 2019) and have toured extensively throughout North America, including a sold-out show at the Skirball Centre in Los Angeles in 2019. They have been nominated for four Canadian Folk Music Awards, including Best Traditional Singer and Best Ensemble. The six-piece Toronto-based world music ensemble is fronted by Jewish-Indigenous powerhouse vocalist and dancer Tamar Ilana, and features the city’s finest world musicians. They perform in over 20 languages such as Ladino, Spanish, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Hebrew, French, Romani and Arabic, drawing inspiration from today’s worldwide themes of migration and the questioning of one’s identity.
Throughout the pandemic, Ventanas served as the house band for the new performing arts organization, FabCollab and the Women in Song series, collaborating with primarily BIPOC world class women artists such as Tara Moneka (Iraq), Eliana Cuevas (Venezuela), OKAN (Cuba), Aline Morales (Brazil), Maryem Tollar (Egypt), Kaeja d’Dance (Canada), Dimitra Kahrimanidis (Greece), Nastasia Y (Ukraine) and others, in iconic Toronto venues such as Koerner Hall, the Aga Khan Museum and Lula Lounge. This series was also live-streamed by the National Arts Centre garnering over 100,000 online views.
Ventanas has toured throughout Canada, the United States and Colombia.