The Israeli-Iranian Musical Initiative (I=I) is a Toronto based collective of Israeli and Iranian musicians whose mission is to suggest a path of cultural reconciliation in place of the diplomatic hostility that persists between these two nations. Formed in 2013, the group celebrates the peaceful coexistence of these communities in Canada, where dialogue and artistic collaboration serve as a path to peace and understanding. The group’s work thus far has explored the rich and vibrant worlds of Israeli and Iranian cultures, revealing striking similarities and intriguing contrasts between their respective folk and traditional music styles. For Ashkenaz 2016, the co-artistic directors of the group, Noam Lemish, Parisa Sabet and Dan Deutsch, have assembled a new collective of Iranian/Persian and Israeli/Jewish musicians, including guest artists kamanche great Saeed Kamjoo (Montreal), tombak virtuoso Pedram Khavarzamini (Toronto) and Persian-Jewish vocalist Galeet Dardashti (NYC). Moreover, just as the concert bridges political distances, it also offers a distinctive integration of diverse musical worlds, featuring traditional performers, jazz musicians, and western classical instrumentalists. Connecting new and old music, innovative and traditional, classical and vernacular, political and artistic, this concert promises to provide an extraordinary kaleidoscopic tapestry. Also featuring Jacob Gorzhaltsan, Andrew Downing, Kianoush Khalilian and Anthony Michelli.
“An unforgettable evening, one that reminded us of the power of music to transcend divergence, rise above dissent and speak volumes.” SEE Change Magazine, July 20, 2015
“I equal I breaks musical ground for Israeli-Iranian dialogue” BeMused Network Blog, May 7, 2015
“In Toronto, Iranians and Israelis make music, not war” Haaretz, March 25, 2015