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Calgary-Montreal : A Musical Conversation

02 Nov Posted by in Schedule | Comments
Calgary-Montreal : A Musical Conversation

Calgary-Montreal: A Musical Conversation 

Calgary-Montréal is a collective of musicians from Montréal and Calgary. Coming from different horizons, these artists find a common interest in traditional music and improvisation. Their original show presents their conversations in music; conversations between two cities often pictured as wildly different, conversations between different musical traditions. Playing with elements of traditional music from China, Quebec, and different parts of Europe, they present an assorted original program bouncing between various traditions and experimentation, with brand new compositions and arrangements. 

From Calgary we have FOONYAP (vocal, violin), Jeremy Gignoux (violin, viola), Jiajia Li (flutes, dizi), and Robin Tufts (percussion, drums). Visiting from Montreal are Aurélien Tomasi (clarinet, saxophones), Hugo Blouin (double bass), Mathieu Langlois (guitarra flamenca, saxophones), and Sébastien Leblanc (guitars, caval, tilinca). 


Aurélien Tomasi 

Aurélien Tomasi began learning classical saxophone at 8 years old. 

He pursues his studies at Université de Montréal and graduates in Jazz Interpretation in 2015. He is the musical director for JUNO-nominated Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra. With Sesquialtera, a horn ensemble exploring the vast world of waltzes, he presents his most personal musical project. 

Aurélien sincerely believes in the social role of music and creates the Fanfare de l’Île as a joyful response to the context of the COVID 19 pandemic. 

Aurélien recorded, composed, and arranged for numerous projects, including Cirque Eloize and les Grands Ballets Canadiens. In parallel to his artistic career he develops a passion for pedagogy and teaches in several institutions including music-oriented secondary school Dorval-Jean XXIII. 


FOONYAP is a classically-trained violinist showcasing a sound that swings between fragility and explosive dynamism. Drawing comparisons to Björk and Tanya Tagaq, her work navigates her sheltered Chinese-Catholic heritage and the intense music training of her childhood. She marries brittle traditional melodies with classical deconstructionism and a minimalist electronic aesthetic. 

FOONYAP has toured extensively throughout the UK, Europe and Canada, garnering increasing acclaim from publications such as The Fader, The Line Of Best Fit, and the Toronto Star, while also appearing on CBC Q + Music Lab. Her current projects explore the history of Calgary’s Chinatown and its role in the cultural ecosystem. 

Hugo Blouin 

Bassist Hugo Blouin composes with life’s musicality. Since 2005, he has been active in jazz, folk and new music. His compositions draw melodies and rhythms from concrete sounds found in various archives, including human speech. A playful example is “Charbonneau ou les valeurs à’ bonne place”, with songs created from the archives of the Charbonneau inquiry commission on corruption in Quebec. Volume 1 was winner of Jazz album of the year and Jazz concert of the year awards in Quebec ; Volume 2 was released in 2022. 

Hugo Blouin plays in various projects and ensembles, including L’abîme, the JUNO nominated Christine Tassan Quintet and poet Véronique Bachand’s “Avec le rire de ma grand-mère”. His work has been heard in Canada and the United States, as well as in Mexico, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Poland and Ghana. Hugo Blouin lives and works in Montreal. 

Jeremy Gignoux 

Jeremy was born and raised in France, but went to study at the Université de Montréal before settling in Mohkinstsis on Treaty 7 Land (Calgary, AB). Calgary-Montréal: A Musical Conversation is a way for him to reconnect with some old pals while bringing new artists into the fold. The project also epitomises his love for both old traditions and new creations. 

As a composer, improviser and violinist/fiddler, his wide artistic interest brings him to collaborate with a vast array of creators. He has worked for dance and theatre 

companies the likes of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, Dancers’ Studio West, and Rosebud Theatre, and has collaborated with clown performer Jacqueline Russell and dancer choreographer Catherine Hayward. 

He has performed with many different musicians including William Parker, Nick Fraser, Carolina Slim, Matt Masters, Shnock ‘n Shanti, Alex Ginella, Liquor Mountain, Mike Tod and Nathan M. Godfrey. 

His main project the Acoustic Ensemble plays lyrical instrumental music that defies genre classification, stretching from Parisian Swing to folk experiments. His compositions for the Ensemble are featured in his album Cinacoustic. 

Jiajia Li 

Classically-trained flutist Jiajia Li is being praised as “one of the city’s finest and most adventurous flautists”. She was the 2019 recipient of the “Stingray Classical Artist in Residency” at National Music Centre and 2016 recipient of Canada’s “Juno” music award micro grant. Since finishing school in Germany and moving to Calgary in 2014, Jiajia has forged her identity through music and performance, cutting across a wide range of modern musical experimentations and traditions. Her wide interests in music have taken her on a journey from concert hall appearances with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra to improvised shows with the experimental concert series, “Bug Incision”, to directing a traditional Chinese ensemble and forming her latest pop band, “Ginger Beef”. 

A keen and passionate collaborator, Jiajia has been involved in various projects in the music, dance and arts communities. Her most recent pandemic duo project “Who Cares?” with violinist Laura Reid stayed connected with the local arts community by creating DIY music videos and live chats. As an immigrant in the arts, Jiajia tries to bridge the gaps between the communities by initiating projects and creating conversations. Past work includes producing the short film “Off To The Races”, co-producing “Chinese New Year Concert”, and founding the youth ensemble under the Calgary Chinese Orchestra in 2018. 

Alongside her busy but fun life, Jiajia enjoys spending time with her husband Warren and their retired greyhound, Kam, as well as practising yoga and kung fu. 

Mathieu Langlois 

Curiosity, polyvalence and tireless work make Mathieu a musician in constant evolution. His passion for the musical traditions of Spain and Bulgaria leads him to diversify his language and influences to create a sound of his own that combines his knowledge of these different styles. 

To further his expertise, he completed a diploma in classical guitar and jazz saxophone at St-Laurent cégep with Jean-Pierre Zanella and Jean Fréchette as well as a B.Mus in jazz performance at Université de Montréal with Simon Stone. 

Aside from his involvement on both instruments with several groups in Montreal (Ramon Chicharron, Impulso Flamenco, Big BandYT Orcherstre), he founded in 2015 guitar duet Cotnoir Langlois which merges Flamenco and Balkan music with jazz and so-called classical music. Since 2014 he’s actively involved as a performer and composer with Kutsi Merki, a group that plays traditional Bulgarian music with extraordinary energy. 

Robin Tufts 

A drummer, percussionist, accompanist and improvisor, Robin Tufts lives, works and plays in Mohkinstsis in Treaty 7, otherwise known as Calgary. Here, he explores his passion for music, rhythm and drums. No matter the musical form, Robin is known as a willing and eager collaborator who brings care, curiosity, empathy and a smile to the work at hand. As a result he can be found working and playing with some of Calgary’s most exciting music projects.

In Calgary’s rich jazz scene Robin adds his sensitive drumming to the recordings and performances of many fine groups including Deb Rasmussen,The Lorna MacLachlan Quintet, AJ Benoit, The Andrea Petrity Trio, and also his own Trio Velocity. His broad interest in music, regardless of genre, means that Robin is also working with singer song-writers, folk groups, choirs and experimental music projects. 

For many years Robin has also been deeply involved in the contemporary dance world, exploring the connection between music and movement. He is an accompanist in the Dance Division at the School of Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Calgary and has been involved with DJD, Dancers Studio West and Alberta Ballet making music for dance. 

Robin’s love of improvisation and spontaneous music making has resulted in many exciting collaborations, notably his ”Music For Soup” house concerts. A series of intimate duet explorations and spontaneous composition. 

For Robin it is all about connection. Connection with musicians, listeners and movers. Connection with community. Connection with his surroundings and nature. Music is where these connections are often found. 

Sébastien Leblanc 

Sébastien, better known under the nickname “Papi”, discovers the guitar like many others as a teenager. From then on he devotes himself to experiments with the instrument to go beyond the frontiers of the instrument. Always looking for new sounds, he goes from blues to Manouche swing, exploring the numerous and colourful Eastern European musics. Whereas on school benches or in adventures with his musician buddies, Sébastien always strives to develop and enrich his unique guitar technique. His very own sound is best highlighted in his symbiosis with Chantale Urbain’s accordion, with whom he forms the duo Shnock ‘n Shanti. For Shnock, this duo with his lifetime partner represents more than a musical project, and is all but an ode to travel, to vastness and to love.