TORONTO: Alim Qasimov of Azerbaijan has been proclaimed to be “simply one of the greatest
singers alive, with a searing spontaneity that conjures passion and devotion, contemplation
and incantation.” And Sashar Zarif “a superbly expressive and charismatic dancer.”
Now together, with their ensembles, they come to Toronto on December 21 at George
Weston Recital Hall of the Toronto Centre for the Arts at to celebrate Winter Solstice, in
Mr. Qasimov stands in the company of very outstanding musicians like Dmitri
Shostakovich, Leonard Bernstein, Ravi Shankar and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, all of whom
have been honoured with prestigious UNESCO Music Prize, one of the highest
international accolades bestowed on a musician.
Mystical strains that reverberate in the haunting music, with its rich and deep origins in
Azerbaijan, Iran, the Middle East and Central Asia, remind us that despite the pettiness of
certain people and groups, music can soar to heights that touch on the divine. That is how
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Ravi Shankar (who passed away this week) have made the
music of the East into universal language of joyous transcendence.
This show presents a short film, Three Apples Fell from the Sky, about the dancer Sashar
Zarif’s journey to Baku to learn Dance of Mugham, and to revive an old tradition.
It should be an evening to lift the heart and soul in an imaginative and joyous presentation
of dance, music, film and art.
Sama-e-Rast is being presented on December 21 at George Weston Recital Hall, Toronto
Centre for the Arts.