How can Ayrad best be defined? Not easy to do in a few words since this group escapes any
simple label. Fiercely non-conformist, its six musicians of diverse origins let the symbiosis of
their instruments shatter the usual norms and set hearts ablaze with savoury auditory delights.
Created in 2008, Ayrad is first and foremost an encounter between artists: Hamza
Abouabdelmajid (vocals, guitars), Annick Beauvais (oboe, chorus), Anit Ghosh (violin, chorus),
Kattam Laraki-Côté (percussions, chorus), Sylvain Plante (drums, percussions) and Gabriel
Brochu-Lajoie (bass, keyboard). It is also an encounter between cultures, melodies and beats
from the four corners of the world.
In addition to generating an array of accolades, their namesake album, released in 2014,
enables the group to offer original performance across Canada and internationally, winning
numerous awards along the way. These include a nomination for an Opus Award for “Concert of
the year – world music,” two nominations and an “Arranger of the year” award at the ADISQ
Gala, Canadian Folk Music Award and Juno Award nominations for “World music album of the
year” and the Stingray festival-goers’ discovery award at the 2016 Calgary Folk Festival.
In November 2018, with its more accessible and contemporary rock and pop, their second
album, Zoubida, retains the effervescence of musical genres that made the group’s reputation
while highlighting their new explorations in electro, funk, Tuareg rock, raï, bhangra and Afro-
Ayrad continues to leave its mark on Montréal’s musical landscape and is continuing nicely
along its way. The group took part in the MUZ television show on MAtv Montréal in January
2020 and won a Canadian Folk Music Award in the “world music artist of the year” category in
April. The group also returned to the stage in 2020 for the Festival International de Louisiane,
held in virtual format, with two successful evening events showcasing their unique and eclectic