CONTACT: Brennan Gilmore:
         +00 [216]-21-984-051 (Tunisia)
or       Ann Marie Calhoun:
         (540)-832-0826 (United States)





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
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  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 for more
information, performer biographies, mp3's, performance videos, and an
online press kit.

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