Tamar Ilana is a Toronto-born multifaceted artist who grew up touring internationally, singing in multiple languages and dancing flamenco.
Tamar spent much of her childhood performing throughout the Mediterranean and North America with her ethnomusicologist mother, Dr. Judith Cohen, and gathering semi extinct songs in remote Spanish and Portuguese villages. Immersed in singing, performance and flamenco traditions all throughout her childhood, she moved to Seville, Spain after graduating from the University of Toronto to study full time at the prestigious Fundación de Arte Flamenco Cristina Heeren. In 2011, Tamar returned to Toronto and founded her band, Ventanas, meaning windows in Spanish, reflective of Tamar’s life as a series of window onto numerous cultures and styles of music, dance and art. Of mixed Jewish-Indigenous-Romanian-Scottish descent, Tamar is well versed in the music and cultures of the Sephardic Diaspora and the Iberian Peninsula.
With Ventanas, Tamar mixes her lifetime of musical knowledge with her own cultural backgrounds and those of the ensemble. Tamar and Ventanas rearrange traditional forms and create original compositions. Their album draws inspiration from today’s worldwide themes of migration and the questioning of one’s identity, as well as from Toronto’s growing multicultural music scene. Tamar would like to acknowledge the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council for their continuous and generous support over the years.