While organizing a storage room in his house, Levon Ichkhanian came across a box filled with old photos. Sifting through the contents, he found a picture he took as a young boy almost 40 years ago. It was the view from the balcony of his house in Beirut overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. He distinctly remembers taking that photo. As his family was walking out the door to immigrate to Canada all those years ago, Levon ran to the balcony to take one last look at the beautiful sunset, breath in the sea salt air and listen to the soothing sounds of the water rushing to shore. With camera in hand, he quickly snapped a photo, while his dad was calling out to him to hurry up - they had to go to the airport. Seeing the photo again brought a flood of memories for Levon. Memories filled with music, dance, poetry and art.
"I had several monumental experiences growing up which had a rich influence on me culturally and musically. Growing up in a musical family in Beirut, Lebanon, I was exposed to Mediterranean music, in addition to my cultural Armenian. The summers had the most impact on me as the family would travel with my Dad (pianist and Music Director) to places like Jordan, Cyprus, Yemen, Isfahan. He would let me sit in on his band rehearsals during the day, but the evening was when the magic started..."
"Dinner time in the Mediterranean started at 11pm. It wasn't just a meal, it was an experience. Service was first class. Every patron had a dedicated server. There were no menus - the server would just ask you how hungry you were and if you were allergic to anything. Then the food would come; Mazas (tapas) of 20 dishes, followed by meat platters, seafood and pastries. While the food was satisfying your palate, music filled the air creating a celebratory atmosphere. Led by my father, world music ensembles would play everything from jazz to contemporary music featuring soloists and authentic Mediterranean singers belting out tunes in their native tongues - Spanish, Italian, French, Greek, Arabic... Dancers would come out off the stage and perform in front of and beside the audience. Patrons drawn in the moment would get up and dance too. Local artists would display their works and poets would offer their spoken words to round out the evening. Everyone that was present shared a special moment as it was truly an interactive experience, no two evening were the same. As a young child I could only describe it as joy. Mediterraneo is my experience of that moment, recreated on stage."
Mediterraneo will let you experience the feast of French, Hispanic, Ladino, Arabic, Italian and Armenian dance, spoken words and images, featuring a live World Ensemble, Soloists, Singers and Dancers.