FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Brennan Gilmore: email@example.com +00 -21-984-051 (Tunisia) or Ann Marie Calhoun: firstname.lastname@example.org (540)-832-0826 (United States) www.kantaramusic.com HEADLINE: ARAB-APPALACHIAN FUSION GROUP KANTARA EMBARKS ON FIRST U.S. TOUR BODY: It’s safe to say that Kantara is a wholly unique musical experiment. This group represents the first time a bluegrass picker from Virginia and a classical Arab musician from Tunisia have brought together their two musical traditions, allowing the entirely distinctive elements of Appalachian bluegrass and old-time to play off those of traditional North African composition. There’s no precedent for a combination like this, and the result is something entirely new, and enormously appealing. The first time an audience hears those distinctive elements come together to create an acoustic synthesis that is at once totally novel yet eerily familiar, the results are electrifying. Kantara was formed in the Maghreb city of Tunis, where lead singer and multi- instrumentalist Brennan Gilmore of Lexington, Virginia met and began playing with oudist (a type of lute used in Middle-Eastern music) and composer Riadh Fehri in 2005. In the following months, each brought new members into the fold. Brennan introduced fiddle player Ann-Marie Calhoun (acclaimed for her work with Dave Matthews and Jethro Tull), bass player Zach Blatter, and guitar player Brian Calhoun, long-time collaborators from the U.S., while Riadh rounded out the group with renowned Tunisian percussionist Lassaâd Hosni and vocalist Amel Boukhchina. Since its inception, Kantara has played to packed houses in world-famous venues in North Africa and Europe, such as the Roman Theatre at Carthage, the National Theatre of Tunisia, the Mohamed V National Theatre of Morocco, the Sala di Tricoloro and the Romolo Valli Theatre in Reggio Emilia, Italy. Kantara has also participated in three regional tours sponsored by the U.S. Department of State as part of its cultural and Muslim outreach programming--as the U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia wrote, “[this] extraordinary music brings Americans and Arabs closer. It is a brilliant synthesis of two musical traditions, yet it is wholly new. It brings home, in a way that only music can do, our common humanity and inspiration.” Through international television and radio specials on Kantara, the group’s music and message had reached millions throughout Europe and the Arab world – from Morocco to France to Iraq – and beyond. Having excited the imaginations of audiences across the Mediterranean, this spring and summer Kantara will be touring the U.S. to promote their debut album, due to be recorded in Virginia in May. The tour will include perf ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ÿ ö Ö ÿ ÿ Ö ÿ ÿ Ö ÿ ÿ Ö ÿ ÿ4Ö l aö o p q r ~ • € • “ ” • – ¥ ¦ s goal is to share not only its music, but also real-life examples of cross-cultural understanding and outreach. Every Kantara concert is a demonstration of what is possible when we pass beyond suspicion and prejudice and come together as fellow human beings. In an environment of increased tension between Arabs and Americans, Kantara is a practical example of how music can create a community that disregards these divisions and encompasses both groups as part of a greater whole. The music of Kantara ignites and sustains that new creation. Throughout the Mediterranean region, media coverage has highlighted the "harmony" of the band’s mix of cultures and repeatedly responded with great enthusiasm to this entirely new sound. Below are some of these responses: “[Kantara’s music is] magic, creating an atmosphere where the Arab and American cultures merge to grow together and explore new, undiscovered paths, at the same time delivering a message of peace" (il Resto del Carlino – Bologna, Italy). “[Kantara] succeeded in sowing joy throughout the audience by offering a display of jubilatory art to make us forever forget hatred. We spent an evening of happiness.” (Le Quotidien – Tunis, Tunisia) “[Kantara] knows no borders… [it] has created a program which departs from the ordinary and allows a harmony between different types of music which one might believe impossible.” (Le Temps – Tunis, Tunisia) “The music is a dream, binding by its accord, the fluidity and lightness of its notes and rhythms, and the solid complicity between the Tunisian and American instrumentalists.” (La Press – Tunis, Tunisia) Group members are available for interviews. To set up interviews, arrange media access to concerts or otherwise contact Kantara, please e-mail or call Brennan Gilmore or Ann Marie Calhoun. Television and radio outlets interested in filming and/or recording the group’s performances for broadcast are encouraged to contact Gilmore or Calhoun for further information. Please visit Kantara’s website at www.kantaramusic.com for more information, performer biographies, mp3's, performance videos, and an online press kit.