Osvaldo Golijov’s ‘Ayre’ To Launch Against The Grain Records

By Francisco Salazar

Against The Grain Theatre is set to launch its new in-house recording label with a new recording of Osvaldo Golijov’s song cycle “Ayre” this December.

The piece, written by the Romanian Jew born in Argentina, blends traditional and electronic instruments with elements of Byzantine chant, Sephardic lullabies, Sardinian protest songs, and Arabic, Hebrew, and Christian texts.

The piece is set to be performed by AtG Founding Member Miriam Khalil, who has made a signature of it and who has been drawn to the eclectic textures and melodies of Ayre.

“When I first heard Ayre, I was mesmerized. I recognized two of the pieces as songs I had sung since childhood – songs my mother and father taught me,” Khalil said in a press release.”With all the anti-Arab propaganda on the news, it was very moving to hear holy music from Arabic culture framed so beautifully, enveloped with real respect by Hebrew and Christian traditions.”

Golijov added, “No one owns this piece in the way that Miriam Khalil does. It is as if she was born to sing it.”

According to Against the Grain Founder and Artistic Director Joel Ivany, the preservation of such transformative works was a major motivator in the establishment of the theatre’s in-house label.

He noted, “Against the Grain is thrilled to be able to share the immediacy and emotion of this live performance, recorded at the breathtaking Ismaili Center in Toronto, with a broader audience. Ayre is an extraordinary and unforgettable adventure.”