The Naadaleela Ensemble was born out of a desire to explore the common (and not-so-common) musical ground between the music of the “Eastern” world. Featuring acclaimed musicians from Iran, South India, Taiwan and North America, the sounds of Persian and Indian classical music meet with those of China, tempered with a tinge of North American jazz aesthetics. The group creates new musical works and explorations from its members as well as arranges existing repertoire from their various cultural backgrounds, taking the listener on a fascinating musical journey. The ensemble features Persian ney player Amir Eslami, Carnatic musicians Vidyasagar Vankayala (voice) and Curtis Andrews (mridangam), jazz guitarist Jared Burrows, and members of the adventurous Orchid Ensemble (Lan Tung-erhu, Dailin Hseih-zheng, Jonathan Bernard-percussion).
Curtis Andrews (mridangam/compositions)
Curtis is a Canadian musician with global persuasions. As percussionist/composer he creates music that is informed by decades of experience with world music traditions, yet transcends most categories. As a mridangam player, he is a dedicated disciple of the world-renowned master drummer Sri Trichy Sankaran.
Jared Burrows (guitar/compositions)
Jared is a guitarist, composer, and teacher in Vancouver, Canada. He leads his own ensembles and participates in many other musical projects in jazz, free improvisation, and new music as well as in regular collaborations with musicians from India, Iran, and Ghana. He also has a parallel career as an academic and educator and teaches at Capilano University.
The trio is made up of internationally renowned musicians Lan Tung (Taiwan/Canada) on the erhu/Chinese violin & vocals, Dailin Hsieh (Taiwan/Canada) on the zheng/Chinese zither, and Jonathan Bernard (Canada) on percussion, including the marimba. The ensemble regularly commissions and premieres new compositions. It has embraced a variety of styles in its repertoire, ranging from Taiwanese and Chinese music, World Music, New Music to Creative Improvisation. Its highly regarded interdisciplinary productions fuse music, dance (contemporary, aerial, flamenco, Chinese…etc), visual arts, and media arts.
Lan Tung (erhu/voice/compositions)
Originally from Taiwan, erhu player/composer Lan Tung experiments with contradictions by taking culturally specific materials outside their context. Her influences are wide-ranging and include studies in Chinese music, Hindustani music, contemporary improvisation and she has appeared as a soloist with numerous ensembles internationally.
Dailin Hsieh (zheng)
Dailin graduated from the National Tainan University of the Arts and with a Master’s Degree in Ethnomusicology from Taiwan’s National Normal University. Aside from receiving numerous awards for her artistry, she has premiered numerous groundbreaking works to critical acclaim. Dailin is the founder of Augmented Sixth Ensemble, a soloist with the Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra, and she performs regularly with the Taipei Municipal Chinese Orchestra and Wei Yi New Chinese Music.
Jonathan Bernard (percussion)
Jonathan combines his background in western percussion with a fascination for Asian traditions to create a unique sound palette incorporating a myriad of instruments, techniques and styles. Having premiered over seventy chamber works, Jonathan regularly performs with Turning Point Ensemble, Vancouver Intercultural Orchestra, the Vancouver, Victoria, CBC Radio Orchestras, and is principal percussionist with the Vancouver Island Symphony.
Amir Eslami (ney/compositions)
Amir Eslami was born in Esfahan, Iran, in 1971, and has been playing the ney since 1987. As a composer and ney performer he has received numerous international awards. Since moving to Vancouver in 2015, he has established a record label (Rumi Records), founded the Iranian Music Society of BC, as well as the Vancouver Iranian Choir.
Vidyasagar Vankayala (voice/compositions)
Vidyasagar hails from a family of esteemed musicians in South India. He has won numerous awards and acclaim in India for his vocal performances, and was a disciple of legendary vocalist K.V. Narayanaswamy for many years. Since moving to Vancouver in 1996, Vidyasagar has been active in promoting Carnatic music in the lower mainland, as the founder-president of Vancouver SaPaSa, the artistic director of Sangeetamaruti Arts Academy, and a sought-after collaborator.