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About Us

Les Arrivants (The Arrivals) is comprised of Amichai Ben Shalev (bandoneon), Abdul-Wahab Kayyali (oud), and Hamin Honari (percussions), three musicians who settled in Montréal during the COVID-19 pandemic between the summers of 2019 and 2020. Through the lens of this unique moment in history, they met and discovered their new home city as lockdowns and uncertainties permeated their lives.


The repertoire Les Arrivants has developed mirrors their resettlement experience. It is informed by the traditions the instrumentalists have mastered throughout their careers – Argentine Tango, Classical Arabic music, and traditional Persian rhythms. It equally reflects the musical possibilities that can only emerge out of a cosmopolitan centre such as Montréal. In other words, Les Arrivants have created an introspective sonic experience that depicts the relationships and views of newcomers to Montréal, while channeling complex emotions associated with migration and travel.


Their music captures the highs and lows of the resettlement experience, the nostalgia and longing for places and people left behind, and the search for new comforts and goals. It also expresses the joys of seeing friendly faces in times of great uncertainty and turmoil, and anger at global injustices and inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic.



Les Arrivants


Amichai Ben Shalev (Bandoneon): Amichai earned his degree from the “Manuel de Falla” Conservatory of Buenos Aires in 2012, he studied under the tutelage of maestro Rodolfo Daluisio, the great pioneer of concert bandoneon. He has forged a career encompassing the full range of the bandoneon: from solo classical to orchestral works, from tango to heavy metal compositions. Notable highlights include performing as a soloist in the world premier of “Fiori Musicali for Bandoneon and String Orchestra” Opus 131, no.3 by Rodolfo Daluisio at the Artes Vertientes Festival in Brazil, in the piece “Summer Band” by Daniel Teruggi at the first festival of Electro-acoustic Music in Buenos Aires, soloist with the Jerusalem Symphony and bandoneon solo concerts at the University of Toronto and Cornish School of Arts (Seattle). In 2018 he gave a masterclass for composers at the Canadian Music Centre in Toronto, lectures at the University of Montreal and McGill, and in 2019 a workshop and concert at the University of Berlin. Shalev is the creator of Bandoneon TV, the first YouTube channel dedicated to bandoneon studies.  

Amichai Ben Shalev


Abdul-Wahab commenced his oud studies in 1989 at the National Music Conservatory of Amman, Jordan under the tutelage of Sakher Hattar. While in Amman, he also received tutelage and guidance from Iraqi oud virtuoso Munir Bashir. As a soloist and a member of the Conservatory’s Arabic Music Ensemble, he participated in many of the Middle East’s musical and cultural festivals (see select participations below), including Jerash Festival for Culture and Arts and the Arabic Music Festival in Cairo. In the United States and Canada, Kayyali performed both as a soloist and ensemble member with various groups in Boston, Massachusetts, Chicago, Illinois, Washington, DC, Detroit, Michigan, and most recently Montreal, Quebec. Additionally, he has given lectures and workshops on Arabic oud, maqam theory, and Arabic music history.  In 2012, Abdul-Wahab established the Juthoor project, and in 2019, he established the Etihad Middle Eastern Music Salon. He released his debut solo album “Juthoor” in 2020

Abdul-Wahab Kayyali


Persian Hand Drums

Hamin Honari is a renowned percussionist and composer from Iran, who has become known for his innovative and distinctive approach to Persian music. He was born in 1983 in the city of Zahedan, and grew up in a family of musicians, with his father and grandfather both being prominent musicians in the region. Honari began his musical education at a young age, studying the tombak, a traditional Persian hand drum, under the tutelage of Ramin Bahrami. He quickly developed a passion for percussion and began exploring a variety of different rhythms and styles, both within Persian music and beyond.

He quickly became involved in the city of Vancouver’s vibrant music scene, performing with a number of different ensembles and collaborating with a range of musicians from diverse backgrounds.

Over the years, Honari has developed a unique style that blends traditional Persian rhythms and techniques with elements of jazz, classical, and other genres. He has released several albums, both as a solo artist and as a collaborator, that showcase his innovative and boundary-pushing approach to percussion and composition.

Honari has also become known for his virtuosic live performances, which are characterized by his powerful and dynamic playing style, as well as his ability to connect with audiences on an emotional and spiritual level.He continues to push the boundaries of Persian music through his innovative compositions and performances. He is a true ambassador of Persian music, and his work has helped to introduce this rich and vibrant tradition to audiences around the world.

Hamin Honari
Where we come from, where we are, and where we are going

ILes Arrivants was formed in the fall of 2020, as we were all settling into life in Montreal amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Since our first meeting, we shared our personal and family histories, our countries of origin, and our artistic goals for the project. We navigated our personal relationships with care and empathy. We were not oblivious to the conclusions audiences might reach when they see us – An Iranian-Canadian, An Argentine-Israeli and a Palestinian-Jordanian – together on stage. We were not interested in either using the project to advance a political message, or to use our “co-existence” as a marketing gimmick. What interested us (and still interests us most) is the artistic promise of the project – what we can achieve musically by combining our instruments, our tastes, and our experiences.


With time, it became obvious that we are not only colleagues and friends, but political allies as well. What we have achieved, and what we continue to strive to achieve, rests on a simple premise – our commitment to equality and decolonization in Canada and abroad, and therefore our rejection of racial, colonial, ethnic or other forms of privilege and superiority. We recognize that we live on unceded Indigenous territory of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation, the recognized custodians of Tiohtià:ke/Montreal. We also recognize that we have ties to the unceded indigenous territory of the Palestinian people, which has historically been home to a diverse population of many faiths and ethnicities. We acknowledge the land’s continued history and connections with the past, the present and the future. We were never interested in advancing a “co-existence” narrative and are even less interested in advancing such a narrative today. We do not believe in “co-existence” with colonial violence, chronic injustice, hegemony, and domination, and we find that advancing that narrative obfuscates the history and reality of systemic inequity. Rather, we are invested in promoting equality and addressing inequity, in Canada and abroad.


Our project shows the promise of equality – its artistic and humane possibilities, what equal citizens and artists can achieve if they are provided equal opportunities, resources, rights and responsibilities. We are committed to this equality both in Canada and the countries to which we have ties. Our vision and hope for the conflicts engulfing the Middle East is simple: if the Middle East is to have a prosperous future, it must rid itself of institutions that safeguard colonial privilege, ethnic and religious superiority, and domination. It must become a region that is equally accessible to all its citizens, irrespective of their racial, ethnic, religious, gender and other identities. This pertains to most countries in the Middle East, but specifically to Israel-Palestine. There, we are committed to political solutions that do not produce more victims: to complete and unconditional freedom and equality of all the people who live between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. We believe only such a solution would address the traumas of conquest and colonization and break the cycles of oppression, violence, and injustice that the people of the region have suffered from for far too long.


We hope that our music helps advance the cause of equality and decolonization, in Canada and abroad. We will ally with all artists and institutions that share our vision for the future.

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