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October 27, 2015



’Meridian’ is a slippery word. At first glance it conjures up those intangible coordinates called borders that divide and enact very real violence on people. But look listen to and feel instead the music that slips beyond those borders. This music flows through the energy of dancers, singers, and musicians to create new circuits of belonging and understanding.    

– Elan Marchinko, Sarah Sommer Chai Folk Ensemble Dance Director


WINNIPEG, MB -- This is the driving idea behind Meridian, a live music and dance event at the newly-opened Club Regent Event Centre on Tuesday, November 17, 2015.


A unique partnership featuring the Sarah Sommer Chai Folk EnsembleVerba Ukrainian Dance Company, and Klezmer band The Black Sea Station (made up of musicians Daniel Koulack, Ben Mink, Nicolai Prisacar, Victor Schultz, and Myron Schultz)Meridian is the result of a year-long project that sought to share, re-energize, and re-imagine Klezmer, Jewish, and Ukrainian folk traditions.


The project originated in September 2014 when Chai and Verba performed separately during the opening weekend of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Recognizing Verba’s mandate to expand and share the genre of Ukrainian dance, Chai’s dance director, Elan Marchinko, approached the group about joining forces.


Two other partnerships soon followed: Israeli choreographer Shai Gottesman, a long-time collaborator with Chai, was inspired by the original klezmer music of The Black Sea Station. The Black Sea Station, seeing an opportunity to have their music shared in a new way, came on board shortly after. Guest musicians also include (percussionist) Daniel Roy, and (guitarist) Greg Lowe.


Meridian is not just about The Black Sea Station being guests at a Chai concert – it’s much more of an artistic partnership”, says Chai’s artistic director Tracy Kasner Greaves. “Shai [Gottesman] selected pieces from Transylvania Avenue to use for new choreography … and travelled to Winnipeg three times in the past year to work with our dancers. At the same time The Black Sea Station has worked with our musicians to arrange their music for the show”.


Although Chai has performed with Ukrainian ensemble Rusalka in the past and with The Black Sea Station in its previous incarnation, Finjan,Meridian has emerged with a distinct purpose:

“Every culture has experienced some sort of loss and we would do better to think how our histories may bolster one another. The Meridian project illuminates two distinctive cultures coming together, moving with instead of against each other, nourishing each other’s futures”, says Marchinko.


Meridian is on November 17 at 8:00PM. Tickets are $20 for youth and students, $40 for rush seating, and $60 for prime assigned seating. Tickets are available online at or by calling the Chai office at 204-477-7497.





Sarah Sommer Chai Folk Ensemble     


Sarah Sommer Chai Folk Ensemble is one of Winnipeg's most renowned ethnic dance groups. Founded in 1964, Chai has constantly grown in stature and artistic accomplishment, thrilling audiences at home and abroad with its unique blend of music, song, and dance.


With more than 30 talented singers, dancers, and musicians, Chai has performed across North America, Mexico, and Israel. The ensemble has appeared with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra several times and has been a feature attraction at Folklorama's Israel Pavilion – Shalom Square since the first Folklorama in 1970.


The ensemble brings together many facets of Jewish culture through the threads of dance, music, and song to form a captivating and memorable presentation for audiences of all ages.


The Black Sea Station


Before there was gypsy jazz, there were gypsies and klezmorim, the itinerant musicians who travelled the backstreets of Eastern Europe – in Ukraine, Romania, Poland, Russia, and Hungary. They didn’t play in concert halls or clubs, but rather they played for their meals and a few coins at weddings and parties. They would whip the guests into a frenzy with their dazzling technique, or bring them to instant tears with the most heart-wrenching tales of loss.


The Black Sea Station transports listeners to this time and place. With Klezmer at its core, The Black Sea Station got its birth as the North End Klezmer Project – the creation of Victor and Myron Schultz and Daniel Koulack– original members of the seminal Canadian Klezmer outfit FINJAN – along with veteran multi-instrumentalist, producer and Klezmer fanatic Ben Mink and the extraordinary Moldovan accordionist Nikolai Prisacar.


The Black Sea Station performs original material, influenced by both traditional and contemporary styles, as well as traditional material set with contemporary arrangements. This combination is an invigorating blend of old and new that respects the roots of the different traditions, while landing squarely in the 21st century.


Verba Ukrainian Dance Company


Verba Ukrainian Dance Company is a collective of dancers who continually aim to learn about Ukrainian Culture & Dance through active involvement and collaboration in the Dance Community. Verba was founded in 2011 with the mandate to explore the rich Ukrainian Heritage that has evolved to become a part of Canadian Culture.  Verba's members share a passion for learning about this unique culture, and ultimately sharing it with the greater community.



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