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Besides the regular members of the Sergiu Popa Ensemble, Sergiu regularly collaborates with other musicians; some live in the Montreal area, others meet Sergiu as they are passing through our great city.

Here are a few of the musicians Sergiu loves to work with:

Ismail Fencioglu - oud and voice

Sergiu and Ismail Hakki Fencioglu
Photo: Sylvain Légaré, Festival MMM 2007

Ismail is a brilliant musician and composer who was born in Turkey and studied music extensively in Istanbul. A well-respected expert in the Ottoman tradition of vocal and instrumental music, Ismail has made his mark in the Canadian music scene, as founder and director of his own group (Fenci's Ensemble) and of the Ottawa & Montreal Turkish choirs. Ismail and Sergiu met through Musique Multi-Montreal; he was one of the featured artists for the Shatra Project (2009).

Didem Başar - kanoun

Didem Başar, kanoun
Photo: Studio Avant-Garde, 2009

A recent arrival in Montreal from Istanbul, Turkey, Didem is a true virtuoso of the kanun, a middle-eastern instrument in the zither family that is still little-known in North America. Having studied, taught in an academic setting, recorded and performed for Turkish radio and television, she is gradually establishing herself here, collaborating with Sergiu (as a featured guest for the Shatra Project), and performing as a regular member of Ismail Fencioglu's ensemble.

Jeri Brown - jazz vocalist

Jeri Brown is a world-renowned jazz vocalist, Juno-nominated recording artist and teacher at Concordia University, in Montreal. Committed to the legacy of vocal jazz, Ms. Brown's performances fill the historical spectrum of classic American songbook themes, original jazz compositions, and contemporary world themes with intense vocal improvisations. During the course of her career, she has collaborated with diverse, legendary jazz artists.

As a member of the Jeri Brown Collective, Sergiu has performed at Upstairs Jazz Club and the Chapelle du Bon Pasteur in Montreal, and the Atlantic Jazz Festival in Halifax, NS.

Please click below to hear exerpts from a demo recorded by the Jeri Brown Collective in 2007.

  Improvisation no. 1

  Moscow Blues - composed by Simon Sloutsker

Theodosii Spassov - kaval

Sergiu with Theodossi Spassov and Teodora Enache, 2006
Photo: Jessica Gal

A legend of Bulgarian traditional music and undisputed king of the kaval, a traditional eight-hole wooden shepherd flute, Mr. Spassov is in a class of his own. He has toured the world for the past 20 years, performing with groups such as 'Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares' and Riverdance; he has contributed to over 20 recordings and major film soundtracks. His musical compositions are an inspired blend of Bulgarian folk, jazz, fusion and classical music, and have been described as an 'entirely new genre' of music.

Sergiu met Theodosii Spassov as he was passing through Montreal in 2006, and joined him and Romanian jazz vocalist Theodora Enache onstage for an outdoor performance at Parc Jean-Drapeau. Mr. Spassov has since invited Sergiu to record on his upcoming CD (details to follow!).

Vadim Kolpakov - 7-string guitar

Sergiu, Carmen and Vadim at Café Sarajevo
Photo: Mathieu Di Martino, Romani Yag 2007

Originally from Saratov, Russia, Vadim Kolpakov is one of the world's top 7-string guitarists, an instrument developed within the Russian Roma community, of which he is a prominent member. He has had an illustrious international career, performing for heads of state in Russia, Kazakhstan, Finland, and Portugal. Among his many achievements, he and his uncle, Alexander Kolpakov, have founded 2 groups which have toured with the 'Gypsy Caravan' (1999), more recently with Madonna (2008), played Carnegie Hall, collaborated with the Taraf de Haidouks and Gogol Bordello.

Sergiu and Vadim met in Montreal at the Romani Yag Festival (2007) and plan to record together in the future.

Rona Hartner - voice

Sergiu, Rona and Carmen 2008

An accomplished and talented multi-disciplinary artist from Romania, Rona Hartner has performed in both classical and contemporary theatre and dance, music videos and numerous films, of which the best known in North America is Tony Gatlif's 'Gadjo DIlo' (as Sabina), 2007. She is a trained singer and performs Roma songs with the same charisma and flair as her character does in the film. Sergiu has performed together with her and violinist Carmen Piculeata at Montreal's Café Sarajevo and Dièse Onze jazz club.

Rodrigo Chávez - latin percussion and guitar

Sergiu and Rodrigo Chavez
Photo: Studio Avant-Garde 2009

Rodrigo Chávez was born in Chile, and specialized in classical guitar and Afro-Latin percussion for fifteen years. He has traveled extensively throughout Peru, Venezuela and Cuba, studying the traditional rhythms and musical styles of those countries.

He has performed in Chile, Argentina, the US, Canada and South Korea. Having settled in Toronto, he founded and became the Artistic Director of 'CASSAVA Latin Rhythms' in 1997. With this band, he takes a new musical approach to Afro-Latin rhythms and popular music from Latin America, focusing on Salsa, Cumbia and Samba rhythms. He performs in international festivals, special events and provides musical education as well, at schools and universities.

He and Sergiu met in 2005 at CAMMAC music Center (Arundel, Quebec), and they have been collaborating on various projects since then. He is among the guest artists on Sergiu's CD, 'Obsession Accordéon' (2006), and was featured in the Shatra Project (2009).

Kalman Balogh - cimbalom

Sergiu and Kalman Balogh Gypsy Cimbalom Band, 2009
Photo: Jessica Gal

Kalman Balogh, born into a dynasty of Roma musicians, is one of Hungary's top cimbalom players today. A graduate of Budapest's famous Ferenc Liszt Music Academy, he has toured the world with several ensembles over the past 20 years, including the 'Kalman Balogh Gypsy Cimbalom Band' which he founded and directs. The ensemble performs traditional repertoire from across Eastern Europe, compositions by Kalman and other group members, and a new style of music known as 'Gypsy jazz'.

Kalman and Sergiu met in Montreal during his North American tours, and with barely any rehearsal time, succeeded together in bringing the house down at the Maison de la Culture Ahuntsic in both 2007 and 2009.