Opening Concert – Sufi Music and Dance

June 5, 2017 | Blog | Reza Khanahmadi

Hello everyone, we are proud to present you with the performance line up for the opening ceremonies taking place on Thursday July 27th, starting at 8:30pm.  This is a ticketed event, and they are on sale now so get yours here

There will be two main performances, by Regard Persan and Rumi Canada Whirling Sufi Dance, for which we’ve included a detailed artist bio.

Regards Persan (

Pooria PournazeriPooria Pournazeri
Pooria Pournazeri began his initiation into Tanboor (lute from Kurdistan) at the age of 6. He then pursued his musical education with his uncle, Keykhosrow  Pournazeri,  master of  Sufi  music, with whom he learned both traditional Persian and Kurdish repertoires. After years of practicing inspirational tones of thousand-year-old music, he started composing his own pieces at the age of 14 and performed for the first time at the age of 16 in a competition for the Fajr music festival in Tehran, where he won the third place.

After this significant milestone, he joined the prestigious Shams Ensemble with whom  he contributed to the  album “Mastan Salamat Mikonand” which remained the top-seller for a decade in Iran.

In 2009, he embarked on two major projects:  He established Rivaan Ensemble with acclaimed artist Majid Pousti  and  Master  Bijan  Parvaz and created the album “Let’s Make the Earth Peaceful” within the framework of the UN’s project “Act on  the  Climate  Change”.  In 2011, he launched his first solo album recognized by the magazine Songlines and described as the best album of October 2011 in Europe.

Since his arrival in Montreal, he has been participating frequently in the creations of the Tabassian   brothers and Ensemble  Constantinople.   Pournazeri has appeared in several musical and multidisciplinary events both in Iran and in Canada, including the  opening  of  the  Aga  Khan  Museum  in  Toronto  in  September, 2014. He presently works on a 4th opus.

Ziya TabassianZiya Tabassian
Ziya Tabassian began playing the tombak (Iranian drum) at the age of ten. After a brief initiation period in Iran, he continued his autodidactic training in Quebec, his adopted homeland. From1994 to 2001, he studied western classical percussion with Julien Grégoire and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in interpretation from the Université de Montréal. In a residency at The Banff Centre in the winter   of   2003, he explored the contemporary repertoire with Iranian percussion instruments, which was to have a lasting influence.

A tireless traveler, he is continuing his personal research in advanced courses with Bahman Rajabi  (Teheran), Aziz  Alami  (Fez),  Trichy  Sankaran  (Toronto), MsırliAhmet (Istanbul), Shree Sundarkumar and Yogesh Samsi (India).

As a percussionist, Ziya Tabassian is professionally active in early music (medieval, renaissance and baroque), as well as contemporary, current and world music.  He performs with several other musical groups, including the Ensemble Caprice and has performed several concerts in almost 40 countries in some prestigious festivals and concert halls. Supported by the Conseil des arts et des lettres  du  Québec and  the  Canada Council for the Arts, he has many albums to his credit on some major labels.  He has also performed in recordings by the Kronos Quartet, Kayhan  Kalhor,  Mercan  Dede, Hossein  Omoumi,  En Chordais  and  Lo’Jo.  His first solo album, Tombak, stemming from his acoustic explorations and research on the rhythmic cycles of early Persian music, was released in 2007 on the Ambiances Magnétiques label.

Saeed KamjooSaeed Kamjoo
Saeed Kamjoo is an Iranian musician and composer. He graduated in Music from Tehran University and continued his studies with renowned masters such as Aredshir Kamkar, Ali Akbar Shekarchi and Master Asghar Bahari.

Kamojoo’s approach to playing kamanche is based on his perception of the values inherent in classical Persian music. Combining creativity and authenticity with innovation, although his music has its roots in classical Persian music, he allows himself to explore new territories. Kamjoo has recorded many albums and performed in numerous music festivals all around the world.  He has also performed as guest artist with Parissa and Dastan Ensemble.

His most recent album “No dawn, No dusk” for Qheychak solo was released by Mahoor Records in summer of 2016.

Habib HoseiniHabib Hoseini
Habib Hoseini is a Persian classical singer. He was one of the 35 young singers selected by the great maestro Mohammad Reza Shajarian among 2000 participants in an audition held by Iranian Academy of the Arts in 2007 to attend Shajarian’s master classes, where he continued his studies in Persian classical music and voice training with maestro Shajarian for 7 years. Habib’s singing has its roots in Persian classical and folk music. However, living in Canada has provided him with the opportunity to extend his experience in collaboration with musician from other cultures and nationalities.

Habib has recorded and performed in different ensembles as a soloist in both Iran and Canada.  He has also been invited to perform in some very outstanding musical festivals and events. He is currently working on two new albums in Persian and multicultural music.

Rumi Canada Whirling Sufi Dance:
Raqib Brian Burke

Raqib Brian Burke
Hailing from Vancouver, Raqib has over 40 years of education and experience in Sufi Whirling and Sema. He performed in the first ever Sema Ceremony by North American dervishes in Konya, Turkey, at the tomb of M. Jalaluddin Rumi. Having attended many Sama ceremonies all around the world, Raqib is a Semazanbashi (master) of Sema (Sufi Whirling Dance Meditation), and he has trained many students such as Mira and Farzad.

Mira HunterMira Hunter
It can be argued that Mira Hunter has been whirling for most of her life. A visual artist and second-generation Sufi Mevlevi, she began her traditional training at the age of 16 with her father. She lives and works in Vancouver, BC and Brooklyn, NY.

Farzad Attar JafariFarzad AttarJafari (Farzad AJay)
Born in Tehran, Farzad has classically trained in Sama. He has studied with many teachers including Kabir Helminski, Camille Helminski (co-director of the Threshold Society, author) & Raqib Brian Burke. He has been studying mysticism and Persian mystical poetry for over 10 years. He has been part of many Sama Ceremonies and perform ances in the U.S. and Canada. He is the head of Rumi Canada and is part of the Threshold & Vancouver Rumi Society. He currently lives in Toronto.