The electronic music scene in Toronto has recently exploded with musical fusions that display the diversity of the city and its international connections. Upcoming record label and artist collective, Orient Art, is starting to gain a lot of attention with their monthly podcast, awakening the sensorium through mystical melodies sampled from Eastern instruments. The aural palette gets cleansed through the use of minimalist techniques that allow these Eastern influences to soar in and out of the tracks. For some, this music evokes memories of home, while for other listeners, it cultivates a new sonic experience. Orient Art’s third live showcase – Friday, March 10th at Parlour, a cozy and intimate venue in Toronto – will feature the sweet sounds of local talent from both Montréal and Toronto: adriēn (Orient Art, Kindisch), Gabriel Belmudes, and Mustafa Ismaeel. Orient Art will also be setting up camp at Afrikaburn at the end of April in Tankwa, South Africa. Come see their last showcase before they travel! [ Click HERE for more details ]

Photo: Zafar and Mustafa Ismaeel from Orient Art at Secret Society Sessions, live at Pacific Junction Hotel, January 19, 2017.

Treat yourself to Mustafa’s exclusive podcast for Husa Sounds this week:


Toronto is also honoured to have been hosting Sara Dziri – Sadziky – for the past year. Sadziky, a Belgian native exploring her Tunisian roots through musical fusion, started the Souk Sessions nightlife concept in June 2016, and with each event has earned a larger following. Her driving techno basslines fused with piercing mijwiz samples will get anybody moving on the dancefloor. For anybody with a background in Arabic music – I have a personal theory that the mijwiz is what elevates the audience into a state of tarab or ecstasy. Sadziky does exactly that through her unique Arab-induced techno sets. Souk Sessions’ most recent party – held at ROUND venue in Toronto’s artistic Kensington Market – also featured Jackie Spade, who describes herself as a transplant in Toronto from Montréal, influenced by both cities. When the two femme-fatales went back to back, we didn’t want the party to end. Explore Sadziky’s music live at the Royal Ontario Museum on March 17th for ROM Winter Fridays with Women in Music Canada.

[ Click HERE for more details ]

Photo: Sadziky and the crowd at Souk Sessions’ latest party at ROUND venue.

To encompass all Middle Eastern fusion genres in my own academic writing, I’ve named this music culture the “nu-tarab” movement. Stay tuned for spotlight articles on the artists who are running this new sub-scene.


Article by: Jillian

Jillian Fulton is a PhD candidate at York University in Toronto. Her work explores Arab identity in the electronic music scenes of Toronto and Montréal with a focus on diaspora politics. As a trained musician, she studied classical piano performance at Queen’s University before branching off into world folk and traditional genres in her MA at the University of Alberta, focusing on Arabic music. Fusing her love for folk and electronic music, she is currently getting comfortable on decks. All photography featured in her articles is her own. For more information on her project, find her on social media @chebakhadijah or email her at