The women in Kitka are fearless sonic explorers, and you can hear their intrepid spirit in every haunting song. For nearly four decades, the eight-woman Oakland ensemble has developed a vast, breathtaking repertoire of traditional songs from the Balkans, Caucasus and Slavic lands, as well as new material composed for the group drawing on those traditional vocal practices. Traveling to rural communities in Armenia and Bulgaria, Ukraine and Georgia, Serbia and Turkey, they’ve gathered songs and communed with elders who are often the last links to centuries-old traditions. The ravishing textures of the women’s voices, unearthly cadences, angular rhythms and unfamiliar languages make Kitka’s performances an enthralling experience.
”You're in for a treat as the 2018-2019 PJCC Up Close concert series closes with KITKA. Celebrating their 40th season, the women’s vocal ensemble is unlike any other, blending a contemporary sensibility with specialized vocal techniques that have been distilled over centuries. Using only the pure unaccompanied voice, Kitka creates a constantly shifting landscape of sound, pulsing with angular rhythms, where dramatic dynamics leap from delicate stillness to shattering resonance, and seamless harmonies explode into lush, incomprehensible chords.”
Photo by John Nilsen
Zvezda Večernica: EVENING STAR STUDIO SESSIONS
Šop region, Bulgaria. Music and lyrics by Stefan Dragostinov. Track 11 on the album Evening Star (Diaphonica 2018). Order Evening Star here!
Performed by: Kelly Atkins, Caitlin Tabancay Austin, Natalie Bartlett, Barbara Byers, Shira Cion, Janet Kutulas, Michele Simon, and Corinne Sykes.
In Slavic mythology, the Evening Star was a female deity associated with the planets Venus and Mercury. By some accounts, she was a virgin goddess, and according to others she was the wife of the Moon god and mother of all the stars. Christian lore incorporated the Evening Star into the Nativity story as the Star of Bethlehem.
Special thanks to Tzvetanka Varimezova and the Philip Koutev Ensemble for their mentorship and inspiration! Videography by Adam Parmalee and Jaime DeWolfe Video. Editing by John Nilsen. Produced by Kelly Atkins.
Momci Koldarci / Момци коледарци / The Young Carolers
Šop region, Bulgaria. Music and lyrics by Stefan Dragostinov. Track 5 on the album Evening Star (Diaphonica 2018). Order Evening Star here!
Directed by Bogdan, Train footage by Nikos Kantiris, Bulgarian mountain footage by Ivan Vasilev. Special thanks to Tzvetanka Varimezova and the Philip Koutev Ensemble for their mentorship and inspiration, and to the National Endowment for the Arts/ARTWORKS Program for their support of the Evening Star project.
Music licensed with permission from MusicAutor (BG) www.musicautor.org