Based in London, Ontario, the Light of East Ensemble consists of six musicians from diverse musical upbringings and ethnic descents that endeavour to create unique interpretations of Near- and Middle-Eastern music. What began as one musician’s desire to explore his family’s heritage through their traditional music has turned into a full ensemble seeking to create music that touches people of all cultures. Though most did not grow up listening to this style of music, they feel its rhythms and sounds resonate deeply inside all humans and appeal to even the first-time listener. The ensemble members combine traditional Eastern instruments, rhythms, and sounds with those of the West to create new interpretations of and fresh perspectives on Middle- Eastern music. From the soulful sounds of Greek Rembetika to the fast-moving dance music of Turkey, the Light of East presents varied and eclectic performances each time they hit the stage.
The Light of East Ensemble sees their performances as vehicles for educating and enlightening people of all backgrounds. They bring the music of Armenia, Greece ( Asia Minor – Smyrni, and Konstantinoupoli ), Turkey, and other Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria to audience members who originate from those regions and provide an educational and informative introduction to the art form for “Westerners” who may be new to the genre. The desire to create a musical experience that reaches out to listeners in order to enrich, educate, and ignite their souls is a primary goal of this group. The inherent characteristics of this music and the performers involved in its creation explore the universality of music as a language that can break down cultural and social divides.