Music is commonly referred to as a universal language, but for the members of Toronto-based Ventanas, it’s just one of several languages within their repertoire.
Ventanas formed out of a desire in that city to bring together different cultures’ music and dance, and collaborate with one another. The six members come from Greek, Ukrainian, Indian, Mexican, Romanian and French Canadian backgrounds, and their music spans those cultures and more.
“Our music is a reflection of all the background of our members,” said singer Tamar Ilana. “People love hearing it. We get asked a lot of questions, ‘What languages are you guys singing? What do the lyrics mean?’”
The languages include Spanish, Macedonian, Turkish, Greek, Bulgarian, Arabic, Hebrew, Serbian, Ukrainian, Ladino – with a little bit of French and English.
Ventanas returns to Victoria as part of the 2nd annual Victoria Flamenco Festival this month.
“We were there last year, at the first Flamenco Festival, which was really exciting to play the very first show at an inaugural festival, so we’re really excited to come back,” Ilana said. “Come out – you’re going to get not only music, but a lot of visual representation of the music. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Ventanas performs a free show in Centennial Square at noon on Aug. 11.
The festival features free lunch-hour performances all week, plus ticketed evening shows throughout the festival. This all leads up to a full weekend festival in Centennial Square Aug. 16-17. See victoriaflamencofestival.com.