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Garo and Friends

Garo and Friends are a group of musicians playing contemplative music based on sacred poetry, composed by Garo Altinian. Over the years, Garo has had the honor and joy of being accompanied by various accomplished musician friends with different cultural backgrounds, playing wide range of instruments including Cello, Piano and Keyboard, Bass Guitar, Guitar as well as Turkish Ney (Reed Flute) and Kanoun, and Iranian Santour.

The desire to express his feelings through the poetry Garo had written, lead him to learn to compose and play the guitar. For many years he preferred to play solo to express himself as freely and without boundaries as he could in the folk/pop style. The real desire to play with other musicians came when he was introduced to the Sufi spirituality in his forties and, by then he had composed dozens of songs for which he was privileged to have like-minded musicians to be part of his journey.

Garo’s most profound experiences with music came when he started concentrating on the writings of Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi. Inspired by the ageless wisdom of the great teacher, poet and spiritual master, Garo has turned a number of Rumi poems into music. Combining the instruments of the east and west, his music produces unique, meditative, and contemplative melodies. Over the past ten years, these songs have been presented at small and large venues to audiences from all different cultural backgrounds.

Garo and Friends’ first CD 'Rumi Remembered – Inspiration' was launched on November 3, 2012 at the Rumi event at Eastminster United Church in Toronto. The occasion was highlighted with the presence of the preeminent Rumi interpreter Coleman Barks, whose number of versions was adapted in creating the songs.

The group’s second CD ‘Rumi Remembered – Come to the Orchard’ was released at a concert, also titled Come to Orchard/Rumi Remembered, on November 24, 2018 at First Unitarian Congregation in Ottawa.