World-class musicians performing an eclectic repertoire on a never-seen-before combination of instruments… Harkan is a most outstanding and unusual musical project.
Bringing together French and Tunisian virtuosos, the duet led by Maia Darme on the harp and Mohamed-Amine Kalaï on the qanun (oriental zither) is thoroughly captivating. On stage, they sometimes morph into a trio, with percussionists providing accompaniment on North African traditional drums (bendir, tar, daff…).
Harkan’s concerts include contemporary creations as well as music from all around the Mediterranean: Turkish, North African, Levantine, Hispano-Andalusian, Italian, French and Greek. As the rhythm builds up, lively dances follow languorous pieces.
Harkan is the fruit of two years of research into folk and art music of the greater Mediterranean and MENA regions, collaborations with local contemporary composers and experiments to develop new playing techniques for both instruments in order to allow them to venture into foreign music cultures.
The result is a highly innovative and diverse program accessible to audiences of all ages and backgrounds, that highlights the region’s rich cultural heritage while casting a completely new light on both the kanun and harp.
Seeing the European harp and Oriental qanun together is akin to watching two distant cousins realize they have so much to tell each other. By giving life to this unique duet, Maïa Darmé and Mohamed Amine Kalaï brought new colors to music from all around the Mediterranean.
Two instruments with entrancing timbres echoing each other, dazzling fingers flying on an ocean of strings… The versatility of these performers and their exotic instruments never ceases to amaze. Harkan is a moment out of time and away from reality.
La Presse, 03.06.2018