Ablaye Cissoko & Ensemble Constantinople
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Ablaye Cissoko & Ensemble Constantinople

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Montréal, Quebec, Canada
Established on Jan, 2014
Band World




"Ensemble Constantinople's Press reviews"

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Unprecedented subtlety
“Musical arrangements that reveal unprecedented subtlety, making even the best European ensembles green with envy.”
“They open up the doors of an extraordinary garden.”
– Michel Ferland, Radio-Canada-CBC (Canada)

An exciting evening!
“…The sacred is there, beneath our eyes on the stage, through the great communion of the musicians, by their complicity in the improvisations, by the invisible joining of their talents that they have all shown with brio. “
“Without hesitation, artists that deserve five stars.”
– Guy Marceau, La Presse (Quebec)

Quote: 9/10
“I highly recommend Constantinople’s effort as one of the successful of ‘East-meets-West’ conceptualizations on disc.”
– David Vernier, Classic Today.com

Virtuosity draws the listener into magic
“The connection of these brothers to each other, to their diverse musical influences and interests, and the drawing out of inner resources and virtuosity draw the listener into the magic created.”
– Diane Wells, Thewholenote.com

5 DIAPASONS rating
The French magazine gave us a 5 DIAPASONS rating for TERRES TURQUOISES launched in 2005.
“Their approach, seeking the instantaneous gestures of improvisation, has a novel sound, a certain innocence created from the meeting of rare tones, even if it means taking on the risky, yet so invigorating territory of re-creation.”
– Roger Tellart, Diapason (France)

A musical level never reached before
“On a musical level, never before has a work pushed the Quebecois folklore that far in space!”
“Constant in the quality of the interpretation.”
“What emerges is a free and subtle music that we never want to stop listening to.”
– Yves Bernard, Le Devoir (Quebec)

One the finest Early music ensembles
“Constantinople is one of the world’s finer Early music ensembles.”
– Doug Spencer, The Weekend Planet (ABC, Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

Nothing superficial
“Constantinople manages to make us believe in the mythical Middle Ages clothed in mysticism.”
“There is nothing superficial about their music.”
“They have brilliantly reached their goal, one that we were anxious to share in once again.”
– François Tousignant, Le Devoir (Québec)

By heart
“An hour and a half of intense and improvised exchanges between two musicians who know each other by heart… The buzz around these precious musicians will continue for a long time.”
– Mondomix (France)

A dream
“Their mission seems to be to make us dream. They take us on a voyage to another world.” – Véronique Robert, L’Actualité
“These artists transported us a long way. Far into time, into space… and with such great ease. Bravo! »
- L’Union (France)

Free and rigorous
“An approach at once free and rigorous.”
– La Scena Musicale (Canada)

A Bull’s eye score
“Credible, erudite, sensitive, Constantinople’s approach scores a bull’s-eye.”
– Christophe Huss, Le Devoir (Quebec)

“Constantinople presented a convincing evening of exquisite music-making.”
– Vancouver Sun (Canada) - Various

"Ablaye CIssoko's press reviews"

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Ablaye released 6th albums on his own name and collaborate on 3 more albums
All discography can be seen here 


Ensemble Constantinople released more than 12 albums 
All discography can be seen here



The project "Itinerant Gardens" :

Everywhere, from time immemorial, the Word has been embodied by the bard, the troubadour, the griot. These wordsmiths, at once messengers and peacemakers, are the links with the forces of nature, the inexpressible divine, the memory of the ancients. It falls to them to maintain the realm of the collective soul. Nowadays, these freethinkers and travellers are making the world their garden  

Like Constantinople and Ablaye Cissoko, a griot from Saint-Louis, Senegal, an eternally migrating bird who is also a master of the kora. It is said that this 21-string bridge-harp of the ancient Manding Kingdom (13th century) was the most precious, most fought-over possession of the woman-sage. From this celestial creature, the musician seems to have inherited the quality of grace. The sweetness of his tone, the finesse of his melodic lines, the fluidity of his touch, his virtuosity without ostentation, his purity and generosityall of these qualities are combined in this stellar musician who travels from childhood to wisdom anytime. 

This meeting between Ablaye and Constantinople, between strings and vocals, goes back in time to evoke the beauty of being. It is a joint passage through the common sites of the imagination, like a long breath before the inexorable march of the world and time.

Ablaye Cissoko's biography

Kimintang Mahamadou Cissoko was born in 1970 in Kolda. He made his first appearance on stage with his kora at the age of 12 before entering the conservatory of music in Dakar. In 2003 pour he recorded his first compositions on Diam, then in 2005 on Le Griot Rouge which tells the West African legend of the Kimintang, the red griot. With these albums he became internationally recognised as a part of a new generation of artists who incarnate the crossover between Mandinka traditions and contemporary musical creation.

He worked and recorded with Omar Pene, Francois Jeanneau, Emmanuel Bex, Francois Verly, Volker Goetze, Magid Bekkas, Simon Goubert on various projects, stages and albums between 2007 and 2013, playing in different universes (classical, jazz, world and improvisated music)

Ensemble Constantinople's biography

Drawing inspiration from the ancient trailblazing city illuminating East and West, the ensemble, founded in 1998 in Montreal, was conceived as a forum for encounters and cross-fertilization by Kiya and Ziya Tabassian, who grew up in effervescent Teheran.

 Kiya plays setar, sings and composes, while Ziya explores the infinite possibilities of the tombak and other percussive instruments. Steeped in the classical Persian traditions, both musical and poetic, each of them has a blend of self-taught, academic and traditional training. Knowing each other by heart and continuing to discover more, they have used their virtuosity and creativity to open up and reinvent the heritage of their native land. Their exile and discovery of Quebec in adolescence seems to have given them wings!

 In 2008 the ensemble evolved, welcoming Pierre-Yves Martel to its ranks, a viola da gamba player of improvisational brilliance who was as insatiable and adventurous as the two brothers. An inspired musician with a multifaceted background and a balancing figure in Constantinople, Pierre-Yves has always embraced new languages, always felt at home in the crossroads of early and contemporary music, in the traditions of Persian music.

 In its research and creation, Constantinople joins forces with other leading figures on the international scene, including singers Francoise Atlan, Savina Yannatou, Rosario La Tremendita, Ghada Shbeir and Irasema Terrazas, the Greek ensemble En Chordais, the polyphonic choir Barbara Furtuna, the Quebec group Vent du Nord, the Afghan rubab virtuoso Homayoun Sakhi, DJ Mercan Dede, and such prominent percussionists as the Istanbul-based Msrli Ahmet or Israeli Zohar Fresco.

 Constantinople is regularly invited to international festivals andworlds major stages, including the Festival dAix-en-Provence (France), the World Sacred Music Festival of Fez (Morocco), the Festival dle de France (Paris), the Onassis Centre (Athens), the Festival de Mxico en el Centro Histrico (Mexico), the Festival de Lanaudire (Quebec), or the MusicFest Vancouver (Canada),  ...

 The ensemble is supported by the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres of Quebec, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Conseil des Arts de Montral.

Band Members