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Ladaniva Live in Concert in Toronto at Meridian Arts Centre

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French-Armenian Band Ladaniva in Concert in Toronto
French-Armenian Band Ladaniva in Concert in Toronto. Photo: Atael Weissman

On Friday April 12, 2024 Ladaniva performed for the first time in Canada at Toronto’s Meridian Arts Centre, George Weston Recital Hall.

The show was attended in full force by Armenian community families, including kids and elderly people who came with desire to re-connect with their homeland and their culture. And Ladaniva did not disappoint.

The show started with a number of traditional Armenian folk songs: Erzumi, Bingyol, Narek, Zepyuri Nman, beautifully performed by Jaqueline and the spectators immediately joined in admiration and singing along. It was a beautiful ethnic synergy flowing from Armenia.

The show continued with the high energy songs Malika, Wayo Waya, with the band producing truly original sound with impressive jazzy improvisations, great beat and soulful accompaniment.

The song Ne do Sna was performed in reggae style in Russian while Pourquoi t’as fait ça? and Je voulais in French.

The culmination of this Armenian party in Canada came with force thru Vay Aman, Shakar and Jako (the latest will be performed at Eurovision, representing Armenia). Kids jumped on the stage to join the band, while parents had been dancing and chanting in the aisles.

The band revolves around Jaqueline and Louis, who are very high level musicians, playing multiple instruments, including traditional saz and duduk.

Ladaniva members are extremely comfortable on stage, and play not only for the audience, but also for each other. They engage in dialogue, respond to each other, take solos or disappear behind the voice. This was a very entertaining high-quality world music show.

As far as the name Ladaniva…the band is named in reference to the off-road SUV Lada Niva made in Russia. According to Thomas, “Jacqueline’s father and my father, when we were kids, both had this car.”

Ladaniva’s music transcends cultural boundaries, inviting listeners on a journey through the diverse landscapes of Armenian music and beyond. With their captivating melodies, dynamic rhythms, and heartfelt performances, the band continues to captivate audiences and leave a lasting impression wherever they go.

Songs list: 1. Erzumi; 2. Bingyol; 3. Malika; 4. Wayo Waya; 5. Narek; 6. Zepyuri Nman; 7. Kef chilini; 8. Ne do Sna (Russian); 9. Yerku Mas; 10. Interlude; 11. Manoushak; 12. Baleni; 13. Vay Aman; 14. Pourquoi t’as fait ça?; 15. Shakar; 16. Je voulais; 17. Jako.

The Band: Jacqueline (Zhaklin) Baghdasaryan: lead singer; Louis Thomas: guitar, trumpet, flute; Pierre Kastler: drums, percussions, pad; Louis Desseigne: guitar, saz; Romain Desreumaux: saxophone, clarinet, duduk; Ninon Thomas: keyboard, vocals.

Show Production: G.D.A.L. Production, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Booking Agency:  Dionysiac Tour, Paris, France.

Ladaniva Performing in Toronto at Meridian Arts Centre
Ladaniva in Toronto at Meridian Arts Centre. Photo: Atael Weissman
About Ladaniva

Ladaniva is a French-Armenian world music group originally from Lille, France founded in 2019 by Armenian singer Jacqueline Baghdasaryan and French multi-instrumentalist Louis Thomas. The group’s music is inspired by traditional songs from Armenia, Russia and the Balkans—with influence from travels in Latin America, Africa and Reunion Islands.  

Jacqueline Baghdasaryan was born in Armenia, grew up in Belorussia and came to France already eight years old. Jacqueline’s connection to the Armenian community has remained strong over the years.  Dancing Armenian dances, singing Armenian songs it was her nostalgia to the roots, and she always wanted to participate in Armenian culture. Jacqueline was into classical music and later got deeper into jazz music. She has been part of several bands in France and has participated in different music festivals.

Louis Thomas was born and raised in France. For him, music is in his DNA; he began playing the trumpet at the age of 7.  “I was born in a musician family. My mother played the classical piano. And since I was a child, I used to play a lot of different instruments,” he stated.   His love for music and adventure have had a big influence in his work and life.

Jacqueline Baghdasaryan and Louis Thomas met at a bar one night during a jazz jam session. They founded the Ladaniva band which immediately became famous in Armenia after the release of the video Vay Aman which went viral in no time, with more than two million views. Jacqueline says her inspiration for songs comes from everyday life. Most of their songs are in Armenian, but they also have songs in Russian and French.

More information: https://www.facebook.com/ladanivayaman

Photos by Atael Weissman [click on thumbnails to enlarge]
ladaniva: shakar (official video)
ladaniva: wayo waya (official video
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