Performance Members Bios (in no particular order)
Paul comes from a musical family, from Norway and Northern Greece. Taught piano at an early age by his grandfather, he also played saxophone in stage bands and enjoyed big band and jazz music. Paul has been playing guitar since he was a teenager, composing and performing a variety of musical styles with his bands throughout the club scene in Toronto until the early '90s. In 2005, Paul returned to the passionate rhythms and sounds of his Greek roots as well as the music of Anatolia and the Middle East. He has been studying the dumbek with Suleiman Warwar; percussion director at Arabesque Dance Academy, in Toronto. Paul teaches Middle-Eastern drumming at Arabesque Dance in Toronto and BellyUp Studios in Oakville. Along with various drum projects, Paul performs regularly throughout Toronto and southern Ontario with the Arabesque Drummers and Belly Dance Dumbek Brigade. Paul is a founding member of Obskurah,
Ariane began her musical journey singing with the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus and trained at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, for 14 years. She has performed as a singer/songwriter in theatres and clubs in Southern Ontario with a wide range of artists including Salome Bey, Liberty Silver and composer Ricky Hyslop at CBC Radio. She studies Odissi Temple Dance , Kalbelia Dance, Middle Eastern Folkdance and American Tribal Style Bellydance. Most recently, Ariane spent January 2016 at the Shakti School of Dance in Pushkar, India, training with Raki Kalbeliya. She has studied with Colleena Shakti, Joharah Kolishenco, Simona Jovic, Nourhan Sharif, Faten Salama, Sahra Saeeda, Lubna Eman, Aida Nour and Aisha Ali. She is fascinated with Muwashshahaat poetry and music and has started building her vocal repertoire of these ancient Andalusian-Arabic songs. Ariane is a founding member of Obskurah and is passionate about the history of music and dance.
Mike Anklewicz is a versatile musician who performs, composes, arranges, and teaches in many different areas of music, ranging from classical to jazz to klezmer to the avant-garde. He has recorded and performed with distinguished artists in all of these genres. Mike leads KlezFactor, a "klezmer-fusion" band that plays both traditional and original compositions fusing Eastern European Jewish folk music with jazz, rock and classical musical techniques. With KlezFactor, he has recorded two albums of primarily original compositions and will be releasing the third, "Europa," in the summer of 2016. Anklewicz has performed and recorded in venues in Canada, USA, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Germany. Mike holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario, where he studied composition and saxophone performance. He also holds a Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts in saxophone performance. He also holds a PhD in Ethnomusicology from York University in Toronto, Canada where he wrote his dissertation entitled Musical Hybridities and the Klezmer Revival.
Paromita Kar is Toronto-based professional dance artist and the first to complete a PhD degree in Dance Studies in Canada (York University, Toronto). She is a classical Indian Odissi dancer, trained under Guru Durgacharan Ranbir of Orissa, India. She also professionally performs dances of Central Asia, Turkey and dances of the Romani heritage. She is the recipient of Canada Council Grant to Professional Dancers (2015), Shastri Indo-Canadian Fine Arts Fellowship for Dance (2012), and the Lawrence Heisey Award for Fine Arts for Dance discipline (York University, 2009), and has performed in Canada, India, Netherlands, Czech Republic and the United States. She also performs commercial Bollywood dance with Ekakshara Dance Creations, dances of Middle Eastern and Kurdish heritages with Dilan Dance Company, under the Artistic Direction of Fethi Karakecili, and is the featured dancer of Ensemble Topaz, a Toronto-based music-dance project specializing in music and dances of Turkish, Balkan, Armenian and Klezmer heritages. Her personal website is: paromitakar.wix.com/danseuse
Pedro is a percussionist and member of the Arabesque Dance Company and Orchestra. He first studied piano but quickly decided his main interest was in exploring music from around the world. He was first introduced to Arabic music by Brazil-based Lebanese singer Shaker Akiki and fell in love with its complex and deeply human rhythms and melodies. Pedro moved from Brazil to Toronto in 2009 and has been learning dumbek with Suleiman Warwar since 2010. He sees his passion for percussion as a life-long project in self-exploration and bringing cultures together.
Paul was born in Toronto to Middle Eastern parents. He's had an ear for playing musical instruments from an early age and was introduced to the dumbek at 13, which he has played ever since, performing regularly for family, friends, private functions and festivals. He currently studies with Suleiman Warwar; percussion director at Arabesque Dance Academy and performs regularly with the Arabesque Drummers. Paul also studies Salsa Dance, Martial Arts and maintains a regular practice of yoga and meditation. One of his greatest passions is to spread human consciousness through music.
Valizan began his journey into Middle Eastern Dance when he joined the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), an educational group that learns about the middle ages by recreating them. Teachers Rayah Blackstar and Moira the Black instilled basic techniques, while classes with the sublime Roula Said took him to a new plateau. Current influences include Yazmina Ramsy, FatChanceBellyDance, Jillina, Rachel Brice and Francisco Carranza. He is a sought-after performer and teacher in both North America and Europe because of his powerful style and energy! Valizan began teaching Tribal Belly dance in 2004 at Arabesque Dance Academy in Toronto and became a lead dancer in the Arabesque Dance Company and The Righteous Rogues of Raks. Valizan holds a degree from the Ryerson School of Journalism and was the first male to graduate from the FatChanceBellyDance Teacher Training program as a brother studio.