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Kitka Press Kit - Reviews

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“Simply amazing harmonies…truly this is the most wonderful singing I have ever heard.”
—David Crosby, CROSBY, STILLS, AND NASH

“A stunning group unlike any other…absolutely electrifying!”
—Garrison Keillor, A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION

“A brilliant musical program…all of it performed with accuracy and flair”
—Don Heckman, LOS ANGELES TIMES

“Only a Slavic folk tune can express bliss in a minor key, agony in jaunty dance rhythms. KITKA delivered with a combination of exquisite technique and pure, unflinching emotion. If life must hurt, it should always feel this good.”
—Grant Menzies, THE OREGONIAN

“The singing of KITKA was tangy, excellently in tune and verbally communicative.”
—Andrew Porter, THE NEW YORKER

“Even God stops to listen when KITKA—unamplified, without sets, props, instruments, or even lyrics most people can understand—opens its collective mouth. The sound is so chillingly beautiful, by anyone's standards, that the entire audience sits enraptured, most of them with eyes shut. My own eyes flooded with tears.”
—Summer Burkes, THE GUARDIAN

“KITKA shares the same haunting repertoire as Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares —plus Bosnian, Croatian, Macedonian, Russian, and Ukrainian folk material—but KITKA’s sonority is much more supple and lyrical than its Bulgarian counterpart.”
—Rick Reger, THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE

“…the traditional and arranged songs became intoxicating through the vocal mastery and uncanny interpretive ability's of KITKA.”
—Rajna Klaser, SAN FRANCISCO CLASSICAL VOICE

“Their power and energy is exotic and exhilarating… showcasing the beauty and vitality of female voices.”
—Heidi Zemach, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO

“[KITKA’s] music’s power is in the lusty, full voiced singing and glottal gymnastics, which are capable of taking the top of your head right off.”
—Bill Tilland, OPTION

“Exquisitely harmonized and rhythmically charged songs. . . that translated into laments about the ravages of war as well as celebrations of community. KITKA executed the Balkan microtonal harmonies and dissonance and the diaphonic drone melody juxtapositions with breathtaking precision…an inspirational concert that served as a reminder that it is never too late to connect with tradition.”
—Derk Richardson, BILLBOARD

“For several magical moments, their rich, resonant harmonies seemed to linger in the darkness, throbbing like long-lined notes of a violin…the kind of production that audience members hold tight as if it were cut from the cloth of time.”
—George Rawlinson, ELGIN (IL) COURIER NEWS

“Angelic voices in complete unison…like Mother Earth herself had opened up her vocal cords.”
—Larry Luther, LEDGER DISPATCH

“Despite being unable to understand a word the women sang, I was stirred to the depths of my soul and more than once moved to tears.”
—Bruce Amsbary, SEATTLE GAY NEWS

“KITKA is particularly precise with detail, so that every moment is filled with motion.”
—Sarah Cahill, EXPRESS

“The sound is startlingly beautiful. Their costumes and their energy are something to see; a wonderful gladdening show. But the harmonies are even more beautiful.”
—Jim Stockford, WHOLE EARTH REVIEW

“One of the most unusual, delightful and technically proficient vocal ensembles…a KITKA concert serves as a wonderful mixed bouquet. . .There’s variety in rhythm and intonation, from the nasality and glottal stops of the mountainous Rhodope region. . . to the plaintive, heavenly harmonies of Macedonia.”
—Jeff Kaliss, OAKLAND TRIBUNE

“The shimmering and pungent sounds of KITKA are cloth-of-gold thread in the sumptuous musical tapestry.”
—Timothy Pfaff, SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER

“When KITKA starts to sing, they transport you far away, to a place where wind sweeps through deep evergreen forests and stars spill out of the sky…They ran through 22 folk tunes with rapt, almost introspective attention to the demands of fast trills, fluid glissandos, perfect unisons and soft subtle shadings mesmerizing in their loveliness.”
—Rocky Leplin, HILLS PUBLICATIONS

“KITKA trafficked in ghostly harmonies and delicious discord. The eight vocalists sang dissonant and diaphanous lovesongs, laments, and lullabies. The voices soared.”
—Sam Hurwitt, THE PACIFIC SUN

“A fascinating concert…KITKA is simply the best. The authentic display of songs from Hungary, Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria and the Ukraine had the crowd deeply involved in the music…A shining gem of culture and history.”
—John Cutler, LINCOLN JOURNAL STAR

“Exquisite voices singing in harmony with vivid emotion in an exotic, but strangely familiar, language. . . [KITKA] reaches a sublimity that is hard to match.”
—Mac McDonald, THE MONTEREY HERALD

“Quick screams alternating with bang-on harmony, pure bell tones and powerful perfect, perfect fifths. . . singing like the very fertility of the earth—the singing went on in quartertone shaking and deep, dark passion. . . a radiant ensemble. . .the evening was transcendent.”
—Mark Alburger, 20th CENTURY MUSIC

“A surprisingly varied concert celebrating women’s lives and women’s voices. A veritable feast for the ears, the eyes, and the mind.”
—John Lambert, NORTH CAROLINA SPECTATOR

“The sound is haunting and immensely powerful—deep penetrating female voices centered on a single melody line or a wordless drone. The Eastern European choral music [sung by KITKA] has a power to move listeners like few other styles.”
—Dave Becker, CUE

“KITKA’s songs are hauntingly beautiful, simple, yet otherworldly. The rich sound these women produce resonates as if energized by the universe itself, as if it were calling all live beings and still matter into togetherness and unity.”
—Ching Chang, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

“KITKA took the stage and launched into a Russian song that filled the theater with their dense, yet lighter than air tapestry of intertwining voices.”
–Sean Scott, THE CALIFORNIA AGGIE

“The printed word cannot describe the shouts, the cries, the mouth music, the sliding of the voice to reach an opening note, the complex rhythms, and harmonies that KITKA achieved. A writer can describe what the music, brought to a spellbound audience at the Varsity Theater evoked: women working together, celebrating together, supporting each other in song. The textures and patterns reminded me of weaving, which, when you think of it, is another ancient work of women.”
—Marilyn Mantay, THE DAVIS ENTERPRISE

“Stunning and soaring are two overused words applied to vocal groups. To KITKA, however, they truly apply.”
—Elaine Beebe LaPriore, THE REGISTER GUARD

“An earbending experience. . .KITKA’s sonority evokes a world of rugged beauty.”
—Allan Ulrich, SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER

“Gusty KITKA sings to the heart.”
—Wayne Bledsoe,
THE KNOXVILLE NEWS SENTINEL

“A haunting and evocative vocal work.”
— John Schaefer, WNYC Soundcheck.

“Mesmerizing songs of the siren-like beauties that inhabit the stream, and lakes, the forest and fields… Extremely interesting sounds with an extremely interesting story behind it!”
— Post Gazette

“A riveting dream-like journey.”
—Roland Stone, Accent on Tampa Bay

“The singing is beautifully fragile at times and frighteningly intense at others. Voices converge and scatter dramatically amid lullaby-like swells, sobs, banshee wails, lamenting tones and prayerful intonations that make you unsure if you're listening in on a dream or a nightmare.”
— Tom Orr, RootsWorld Bulletin

“At times, it is as beautiful as a single breath of wind that gently skitters across the surface of the water at dawn. At other moments it is as unsettling as the crackling whoosh of a wildfire as it spreads through a field of dry timber… The depth and range of the singers’ skills are indisputable, and the breadth of moods and emotions covered by the ensemble is awe-inspiring…immensely compelling…”
— Douglas Heselgrave, The Music Box

“A remarkably subtle vocal performance… its expression is more for those moments in the middle of the night when you are home, the crowds have left the streets and you are alone with your own ghosts — sharing a moment with the Rusalkas is the kind of dark bonding moment that we all sometimes require.”
— John Mitchell, North Adams Transcript

“Kitka’s music can make you weak in the knees, with its haunting balance of beauty and brashness… breathtaking, intense and gorgeous.”
— The Times, Trenton, NJ

“Inescapably alluring. Mystical charm.”
— Bucks County Courier Times

“Well-modulated singing as if from another planet, giving its audience anything from goosebumps to chills down the spine… Arresting, capped by the bold a cappella voices in various permutations giving what sounded like convincing linguistic renditions.”
— Paul Hertelendy, ArtsSF.com

“…An overwhelming performance full of mystery, magic, and an undeniable spiritual force… a soul-stirring dramatic score of heartbreaking poignancy. The women of Kitka sing, scream, whoop, wail, howl, and harmonize, imbuing the music with an almost fearsome primal power… The harmonies intertwine, shattering the divisions of space, time, and spirit, spinning a emotional spell that will haunt you long after the last note fades into the breath of the infinite.”
— J. Poet, East Bay Express

“The haunting harmonies are both evocative and unforgettable.”
— Steve Hochman and Andrew Gilbert, The California Report

“A stunning original work…Kitka, who've proved their worth before, take their cue from Eastern European music, fitting perfectly into this as they are able to perform the subtle vocal gymnastics necessary to bring all this to life.”
— Chris Nickson, All Music Guide

“The angular, jarring harmonies cast a hypnotic spell.”
— David Luhrssen Shepherd Express

“…Otherworldly, ethereal, feral, and immensely compelling… The sound is clean, spacious, and natural sounding.”
— Stephen Eddins, All Music, Answers.com

“A spine-tingling performance stripped of all but the most stirring emotion.”
— John Noyd, Maximum Ink Music Magazine

“There is a stark, tragic beauty on stage from the first image, as the beaten, enslaved women of Troy lay listless in their tattered camps. Picture this world, travel back through the centuries, and then listen for the plaintive sounds of KITKA. These women provide the heart and soul of the production, creating a nasal, dissonant sound that gives voice to human suffering. It’s a lament that creeps into your consciousness in the most subtle way. The voice of that marvelous chorus produces shivers.”
—Patti Hartigan, THE BOSTON GLOBE

“The most impressive force in the play, both in place and mood, is KITKA as the chorus of Trojan women. Intense as individual presences and as a solid unit though which emotions move like ripples in water, they reflect, comment on and, finally, in a thrilling moment, participate in Hecuba’s action. Riveting as they sing the choral odes a capella, they create a music that is at once ethereal and earthly. It has a primal, haunting vitality that rises as naturally as the wind moving through the trees.”
—Ralph Hammann, THE ADVOCATE

“A soft, high keening, thin and tensile as steel wires, the voices of the wondrous chorus KITKA weave an eerily liturgical, polyphonous chant. Perloff’s new staging [of Hecuba]retains the muscular new translation by Timberlake Wertenbaker and David Lang’s vital Balkan-tinged score, performed with raw immediacy by KITKA, that made the show so intensely, richly rewarding.
—Robert Hurwitt, SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER

“KITKA, a group specializing in Balkan and Slavic women’s singing, was breathtaking, adding a wonderful dimension to the show with a sound that conveys a complex range of emotion. Their thunderingly ominous sound and evocative staging is astoundingly beautiful.”
—Pat Craig, CONTRA COSTA TIMES

“KITKA makes a powerful impression as the Trojan women, conquered and enslaved by the Greeks. They are integral to the drama.”
—Judy Richter, AISLE SAY

“Perloff employs the wondrous a capella women’s chorus KITKA on stage with their Eastern European/Greek sound that’s haunting. The chant of the chorus (vitally interacting with the characters, becoming characters, not standing in the back) adds up to a grand ‘operatic’ experience of emotional extremes and true involvement.
—Janos Gereben, NEWSHOUSE

“The unearthly sounds of the Eastern European-style San Francisco vocal ensemble KITKA made Hecuba a striking event.”
—SIDEWALK SAN FRANCISCO

“The chorus, provided by the vocal ensemble KITKA, haunts the action through the dissonant, foreboding, and grief-stricken tones of the David Lang’s music.”
—Reed Brown, TALKIN’ BROADWAY

“Exquisite tonalities. . .Perloff’s use of the chorus in the action, rather than as a commentator on it, intensifies the human dimension.”
—Leo Stutzin, THE MODESTO BEE

“Old Euripedes would most likely love KITKA, the highlight of the production. KITKA portrays the Trojan women slaves and provides an exquisite performance of David Lang’s shimmering score. The most stirring moments of this show occur when KITKA sings. From the opening, as Hecuba enters her spooky night vision, the women begin their long, sustained, crystal-clear notes and multi-layered harmonies that ebb and flow throughout the evening. Whether they are underscoring Hecuba’s tender good-bye as her daughter goes off to slaughter, or whether they are plotting to murder the Thracian king, KITKA fills the emotional void, with genuine sorrow and wistful beauty.”
—Chad Jones, THE OAKLAND TRIBUNE

“KITKA sings with one voice, singing and sighing, keening and shifting as one entity. Dukakis and the chorus throw their souls into this epic”
—Karen D’Sousa THE SACRAMENTO BEE

“The choice of KITKA as the chorus was inspired. . . Gorgeous harmonies, movement and musicality.”
—Brad Rosenstein, SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN

“The choral commentary of KITKA, the women’s ensemble that sings David Lang’s strophic score, drives Hecuba. Lang’s dense, dissonant clusters that resolve into unison declamation remain a propulsive element of the production.”
—Steven Winn, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

“The production gains immeasurably from the presence of KITKA. The vocalizations come from an extraordinary place in the voice and the body. David Lang has carefully molded his music around these remarkable solo and ensemble sounds. Their lament conveys, poignantly, the urgency, despair, and determined spirit of these women of Troy.
—Jeffrey Borak, THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE

“Perloff’s stroke of casting brilliance is the use of KITKA as the chorus of captive Trojan wives and daughters.”
—Iris Fanger, THE BOSTON HERALD

“The chorus is not only indispensable but stunning. What could have been no more than a clever concept is both appropriate and ravishing. Where most Greek choruses in contemporary productions speak or chant their odes—this one sings, as Euripedes intended. The chorus is KITKA, a group specializing in women’s vocal music of the Balkans. KITKA’s haunting sounds, which flow from perfectly pitched unisons and pure, open harmonies into harsh but thrilling dissonances, are thought to be the closest modern cousin to ancient choral singing. The choral passages, set to simple strains by David Lang, have the feeling of keening—cries from the heart for slaughtered husbands, sons, and daughters, for the loss of homeland and hope.”
—Chris Rohmann, THE VALLEY ADVOCATE

“The beautifully blended voices of KITKA afford the chorus a unity and integrity rarely achieved in contemporary renderings of Greek tragedy. The women’s plaintive, incantory tones give poignant expression to Hecuba’s plight and their own. Sheer passion leaps from their throats.”
—Scott Cummings, THE BOSTON PHOENIX

“Modern music and Greek tragedy make for a surprisingly potent combination in the Williamstown Theatre Festival’s presentation of Hecuba. The music, performed by KITKA, adds a haunting dimension to this revival. . . the real impact of this production comes from the sounds. KITKA’s soulful harmonies contribute a chilling element to the production, one that amplifies the tragedy’s focus on the role of women.
—Jonathan Levine, THE PITTSFIELD GAZETTE

“KITKA is a group of women who blend Eastern European vocals with a contemporary feel. The impressive vocal ensemble offers pervasive, penetrating commentary through lyricism. The ensemble becomes a primary force in moving Hecuba to her actions. More than accompaniment, KITKA actualizes as a cogent passionate factor.”
—Fred Sokol, UNION-NEWS

“KITKA adds a special dimension to the production, with high-pitched harmonies lending a certain eeriness and dark strength to the Trojan women.”
—Michael Eck, ALBANY TIMES UNION