Performers for the 2021 “Building Bridges Among Faiths” Concert
Ensemble Topaz Paromita Karr is an accomplished dancer and her husband, Mike Anklewicz is an incredibly talented musician on clarinet, saxophone and Eastern wind instruments.
Melanie Gall is an internationally acclaimed vocalist and award- winning composer who writes and tours solo shows, many of which have been performed at the Edmonton Fringe Festival. These include “Piaf and Brel: The Impossible Concert” and “A Stitch in Time,” featuring “lost’ knitting music from both world wars. She has performed in Africa, South America, the Caribbean, the Semaine de la Francophonie, the American Spring Festival in the Czech Republic and at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and Royal Albert Hall in London. Melanie tours countries that are under-represented theatrically: Zimbabwe, Algeria, Morocco, Zambia, Sudan, and Chad, leading outreach programs in schools and orphanages. She has also shared her gifts with First Nations communities in Manitoba, building performance skills in youth.
Martin Kerr’s storytelling spans the spectrum of emotions. His powerful voice and song writing have earned praise from legends like Sara McLachlan and Bruce Cockburn. Martin says, “You have to make people laugh before you make them cry,” and seeing people in the audience experience a range of feelings is one of his favorite parts about being a musician. A practising member of the Baha’i faith, Martin weaves universal spiritual concepts and imagery into his work. Baha’u’lah, their spiritual leader said, “We have made music a ladder by which souls may ascend to the realm on high.” Martin’s songs are intended to uplift those who hear it.
Sharmila Mathur has a gold medal from the University of Rajasthan, India for her outstanding achievements in sitar and where she was an assistant professor in music. She has lived in Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, and The United Arab Emirates before coming to Canada. Since 2005, she directs the Indian Music Ensemble at the University of Alberta, bringing with her many distinctive music styles from other countries. Sharmila’s unique and lyrical sitar music backed Maria Dunn for the launch of Maria’s GWG “Piece by Piece.”