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Alison Mackay's multimedia projects explore ideas that have profound resonance in today's world. Her latest, The Indigo Project, examines a colour with political, social, and cultural implications, and was created in collaboration with master percussionist Trichy Sankaran and vocalist Suba Sankaran, a father-daughter duo specializing in South Indian music. Narrator and vocalist Cynthia Smithers, members of Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, and student choirs from Earl Haig and Unionville Secondary Schools join Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra under the direction of Elisa Citterio. These performances take place February 27 to March 1 at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul's Centre, and March 3 at George Weston Recital Hall, Meridian Arts Centre. For full program details, visit

The Indigo Project combines street ballads from England and France performed by Cynthia Smithers, baroque music by Handel, Lully, Corelli, Stradella, and Fasch performed by Tafelmusik, and South Indian music by Purandara Dasa, Arunagirinathar, Ponniah Pillai, and Purandara Dasa, among others, performed by Suba and Trichy Sankaran.

Through words, music, and stunning images, The Indigo Project traces the influence of indigo dye on the culture and economy of several countries on different continents. From 17th-century Europe, where indigo dye infused both the royal blue of the Bourbon courts and the denim originally worn by Genoese port workers, to the exploitation of garment workers in the present day, thanks to the effects of fast fashion and globalization; and from India, where indigofera tinctoria was grown, to the North American slave plantations where it was cultivated. The story of indigo provides a vivid backdrop to the kind of immersive concert experience for which Tafelmusik is renowned.

In keeping with Tafelmusik's commitment to community collaborations, The Indigo Project includes the participation of students from three public high schools in the GTA. Fifty students from vocal programs at Earl Haig and Unionville Secondary Schools will sing European baroque works and South Indian classical music. They will be joined on stage by several members of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, led by Ivars Taurins and Suba Sankaran.

Grade 10 students at Marc Garneau Collegiate Institute are taking part in a collaborative experiment in indigo dyeing. Under the mentorship of art teacher Hilary Masemann and textile designer Kate Austin, students have created blue squares embellished with their own personal tokens representing the bonds of friendship and family. These squares will be combined to create a quilt, which will be displayed at Trinity-St. Paul's Centre.

The Indigo Project is generously supported by The Pluralism Fund, Al and Jane Forest, and Leon and Anita Lapidus. Tafelmusik also thanks supporters of the Alison Mackay Innovation Fund: Tom Box, Richard and Ellen Hoffmann, Trina McQueen, and Jane Witherspoon and Brian Stewart. The Alison Mackay Innovation Fund was established in 2019 to support inventive new projects from various artists, including Mackay's future creations, new commissions and original presentations.

Following the public concerts, Tafelmusik will perform four free education concerts based on The Indigo Project for 2000 TDSB students.

A free pre-concert chat with program creator Alison Mackay one hour before each concert is included with admission. Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra directed by Elisa Citterio.

Tafelmusik Box Office: (416) 964-6337


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