Go East, Young Montrealer : The Accés Asie Festival

Oriental Dance Competition. Photo Kiran Ambwani. Oriental Dance Competition. Photo Kiran Ambwani.

During the month of May, Montreal is set to host the 19th annual Accés Asie festival, “Terre d’Asie, Dôme de Montréal” (Asia’s Earth, Dome of Montreal). In celebration of Asian-Canadian art and heritage, the festival will highlight artistic elements from Asian culture here in Canada. Just like previous years, the festival will beautifully and creatively merge the cultures of east and west.

Belly Dance with a Twist. Photo Gilda Boffa

Belly Dance with a Twist. Photo Gilda Boffa

As the oldest festival celebrating Asian heritage here in Canada, this will be a wonderful city wide celebration boasting 11 events across 9 locations in downtown Montreal. With over 40 artists, the city will come alive. Hosting dance, music, cinema, visual art and culinary events, there will be something for everyone!

The festival opens on May 1st with a cocktail evening at the Monument-National theatre on Saint Laurent. As the oldest Quebec theatre still in use, this is the perfect location to celebrate the heritage and immersion of the two cultures. The evening will showcase musicians Ziya Tabassian and Aditya Verma, dancers Jenn Doan and Ted Strauss and finally VJ Pink Rubber Lady will conclude the evening with her electric projections. The evening is sure to be a wonderful taste to all that will be on offer during the exciting and enticing Accés Asie festival.

Dafeena. Photo Philip Szporer

Dafeena. Photo Philip Szporer

Some anticipated events include the performance of Iredea by Woo Me Myth, a science fiction dance opera; the Raqs sharqi, a belly dance competition; a night of Indonesian culinary arts at Nonya restaurant, and a closing Glamboree evening in collaboration with GLAM Montreal.

General and Artistic Director, Khosro Berahmandi, is excited about all that will be on offer during this year’s Accès Asie. And for the first time, the festival will feature prime spokesperson, Vietnamese-Canadian author, Kim Thúy.

Iredea. Photo Tristan A. Brand

Iredea. Photo Tristan A. Brand

Believing that art and culture grow together, hand in hand, Berahmandi sees “the earth as the interwoven foundation from which many of this 19th edition’s artists draw their inspiration.” He says, “Asia’s Earth” refers to the natural vastness of the culture and arts as it is understood and expressed by Canadian artists living here in Montreal. This is where they really feel the artistic and cultural community’s nourishment which is gathered under the one roof, or “dome.”

The festival will showcase both traditional and contemporary art forms with a wide variety of artistic mediums. Throughout this journey, spectators will have the opportunity to travel to 12 Asian countries to experience – touch, smell, taste, see, listen, feel and embrace – the different interpretations of Asian-Canadian culture. Accés Asie will be a wonderful adventure to another corner of our glorious and creative world.

Arashi Daiko

Arashi Daiko

Originating in the United States, before moving to Toronto and finally Montreal, Accés Asie is administrated by Foreign Ghost Society and directed by Steering Company. It aims to reflect Montreal’s cultural climate while encouraging intercultural understanding, breaking down cultural barriers, teaching and encouraging cross cultural relations, art and communication.

Berahmandi, the Accés Asie team and I hope you have the chance to come downtown during the first three weeks of May to experience and embrace what is going to be a collection of wonderful artistic and cultural performances as part of this great Asian-Canadian heritage festival!

Accéss Asie will be held at various locations in downtown Montreal from May 1 to May 18. More information can be found on the Accés Asie website. Click HERE for details.
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