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Who needs a meteor shower? This unique musical collaboration is like sonic shooting stars

The Perseids are a meteor shower that dazzles the summer sky — and Perséides is a music ensemble invoking the same feelings in us.

Amir Amiri and Jean Félix Mailloux's music seamlessly connects their extremely different worlds

(CBC Arts)

The Perseids are a meteor shower that dazzles the summer sky — and Perséides is a music ensemble invoking the same feelings in us.

For santur player Amir Amiri and contrabassist Jean Félix Mailloux, the diversity of their musical backgrounds has led to a distinct sound combining traditional Persian music with classical jazz.

Watch the video:

Amir Amiri and Jean Félix Mailloux's unique collaboration defies genre conventions. 3:47

Amir Amiri was born and raised in Tehran, Iran and spent much of his youth learning the santur. The instrument is a hammered dulcimer that originated in Persia around 500 BC; it consists of 72 strings that are played with two oval-shaped mallets called mezrabs. Since his arrival in Canada in 1996, he has established himself as a virtuoso of Persian classical music.

Jean Félix Mailloux is a Montreal-based contrabassist who has produced, composed and arranged for film, theatre and dance. His 2011 album Lieux imaginés won an OPUS Prize for Best Record: World Music. He is also the leader of Jean Félix Mailloux Trio and a regular studio musician for film score composer Robert M. Lepage.

(CBC Arts)

The pair began their collaboration two years ago. When they first met, the instant spark led them to record their first album. Instead of focusing on genre conventions, they make music that connects their extremely different worlds — and they do it seamlessly through improvisation. Hence, the ensemble name Perséides that fits them oh so well. In Amir's own words: "It's a good metaphor for this moment: now we see it, now we don't — like stars are also improvising as they are dying."

We caught a glimpse of this unique performance and their amazing onstage chemistry when they performed at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto. The performance was a great reminder of how music has absolutely no boundaries. So while you patiently wait for the next Perseid shower, listen to this duo's music to tide you over.

Follow Perséides ​here.

(CBC Arts)

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About the Author

Asmi Chandola

Asmi Chandola is a video producer with CBC Arts. She enjoys long walks on the beach with her fat and lazy cat. It’s quite a drag.