Constantinople is a musical ensemble that chose the journey—geographical certainly, but also historical, cultural and inner as its cornerstone. It draws inspiration from all sources and aims for distant horizons. Inspired by the ancient city illuminating the East and West.
Everywhere, from time immemorial, the word has been embodied by the bard, the troubadour, the griot. These wordsmiths, at once messengers and peacemakers, are the links with the forces of nature, the inexpressible divine, the memory of the ancients. Nowadays, these freethinkers and travellers are making the world their garden… Like Kiya Tabassian, the ambassador of Persian setar and Ablaye Cissoko, griot from Saint-Louis, Senegal, both eternally migrating birds. From the start, this dialogue between the kora and the setar seemed to come from the depths of the earth, as though these instruments, along with the viola da gamba and percussion, had always existed side by side. This natural symbiosis gave the musicians wings to fly towards distant horizons, and their music has been heard over two hundred time in various festivals and halls around the world.
Since its founding, the ensemble promotes the creation of new works incorporating musical elements of diverse musical traditions around the world, drawing from medieval manuscripts to a contemporary aesthetic, passing by Mediterranean Europe to Eastern traditions and New World Baroque. Underpinned by a spirit of research and creation, Constantinople has joined forces with leading international artists such as singers Marco Beasley, Françoise Atlan, Savina Yannatou and Suzie Le Blanc; the Mandingo griot Ablaye Cissoko; the Greek ensemble En Chordais, the Belgian duo Belem and the American group The Klezmatics; sarangi virtuoso Dhruba Ghosh, Syrian clarinettist and composer Kinan Azmeh, and Iranian kamancheh master Kayhan Kalhor.