The common thread that unites these three female artists is how these varied folk traditions have informed—and transformed—their music-making.

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Tickets: $15 on BeMused Network or $20 at the door


On Sunday night, the stars line up for the Toronto-based Ozere and Ventanas along with the Montreal-based Briga Trio to share the stage at Lula Lounge. Wanderlust promises to be a eclectic night of folk instrumentals, vocals and flamenco dance, as interpreted and reinvented by three up-and-coming Canadian female artists in this emerging genre.

When Jessica Hana Deutsch—founder of Ozere—was performing with the Lemon Bucket Okestra, she was introduced to flamenco dancer and vocalist Tamar Ilana and her band Ventanas, which Jessica eventually joined as a member. Performing at the Mill Race Traditional Festival of Folk Music in 2012, Tamar and Jessica met Briga who was also performing, and something just clicked between the three of them.

“We’d have late-night jams in our dorms, and we started playing with Briga in that context, trading songs, learning from each other,” says Tamar Ilana.

The three women share an affinity for the folk repertoire which they pursue in their own unique ways. They sought out opportunities to perform together, bringing their bands to each other in Toronto and Montreal, and the idea of a show with all three bands started to form.

Ilana’s Ventanas draws from the varied backgrounds of its members, which cover Middle Eastern, Turkish, Greek, Sephardic, Ukrainian, and Balkan styles, interlaced with her Flamenco dance, a powerful visual highlight to the group’s sound.

Celtic and bluegrass motifs are strong in Ozere’s original pieces, often found alongside jazz, Klezmer, Spanish, and Balkan sounds. Deutsch combines all these with classical elements – something that is not often done when it comes to folk music. She writes and performs music that is meant to allow for all of those sounds, which she likens to Yo-Yo-Ma’s Goat Rodeo Sessions, which share similar instrumentation.

Briga’s musical roots are no less complex: Drawing primarily from Bulgarian and Serbian traditions, her music combines Roma, Klezmer, and south-east European influences, but then blends them with such modern sounds as funk. “A little bit of good old Canadian folk, a little bit of urban influence. We throw in a bit of synthesizer in there and call it Turbo Folk,” she says.

Each band offers its own take on musical traditions in different parts of the world, but the common thread that unites these three female artists is how these varied folk traditions have informed—and transformed—their music-making. As Briga says, “you may not be able to pinpoint it with words, so much as able to feel it.”

“Expect to dance,” says Briga. “This is music that makes you want to move and dance.”

“There will be beautiful fiddle tunes, familiar instruments and ones you’ve never seen before.” Says Ilana. “We try to present things in a casual manner that everybody can feel at home with, and appreciate the music without it feeling too foreign and far away.”

This is a one-of-a-kind concert featuring some of Canada’s top musicians. It promises to be an evening of passion, intensity, romance and joy. What better way to herald the arrival of spring?

Tickets are $15 in advance at BeMused Network and $20 at the door. To guarantee seating, make dinner reservations at Lula Lounge by calling (416) 588-0307.