Kitka Brings ‘Powerful Women’s Voices, Joined Together’ From East To Western
For four years, the Oakland ensemble Kitka has sung intricate harmonies from Eastern Europe. People Shira Cion and Kelly Atkins speak about the team’s brand new record album, Star evening.
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
The daylight is dwindling away. The solstice arrives on Friday. Therefore why don’t we pay attention to some songs that are warming Eastern Europe that celebrate the summer season upon us.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “MOMCI KOLEDARCI”)
KITKA LADIES’ VOCAL ENSEMBLE: (Performing in Bulgarian).
GARCIA-NAVARRO: The record album “Evening Star” features harmonies unique to Balkan, Slavic and Caucasian lands. But here is the twist – they are offered up by Kitka, a vocal ensemble of numerous years standing situated in the San Francisco Bay region. Shira Cion may be the team’s creative director. She joins us through the studios of KQED. Welcome.
SHIRA CION: so excellent to be right here, Lulu. Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: additionally with us is Kelly Atkins. She is another Kitkat – i believe that is what you call yourselves, appropriate?
KELLY ATKINS: It’s, yes. Hi.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Hi. Shira, i will focus on you. You are quoted within the press records saying this music springs from the, quote, “instinct to get together and sing within the deep, dark heart of wintertime.” I favor that, in addition. Performs this music help bring the body temperature up?
CION: they really think it most likely does. And it is been interesting. You realize, a lot of studies are actually being released about type of the real and intellectual and social advantages of harmony performing and singing that is choral. And i believe all of the science is simply showing a thing that Eastern European villagers have recognized for hundreds of years, which will be that whenever times are tough, whenever climate are cool, where just surviving through a challenging period actually calls upon communities in the future together, it really is a period to sing. And I also think performing does raise spirits. It does kind of synchronize our organisms together. I truly do think it will help us endure through attempting times.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Kelly, that image associated with the deep, dark heart of wintertime can be a metaphor, i assume, regarding the types of music that this might be. Let me know exactly exactly what – just how you notice it.
ATKINS: Well, we additionally utilize the metaphor associated with rounds of life. A few of the tracks, while you probably noticed, through the record are literally about winter. Plus some of those are concerning the cold temperatures of life. Therefore we sort of see plenty of the tracks that individuals sing not just in regards to the vacations by themselves but concerning the rounds that individuals undergo within our very own everyday lives.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: let us tune in to a little bit of the name track. It’s a song that is bulgarian “Evening celebrity.”
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “ZVEZDA VECERNICA”)
KITKA LADIES’ VOCAL ENSEMBLE: (Singing in Bulgarian).
GARCIA-NAVARRO: i got eventually to inform you, it is like something profoundly thrumming and ancient. You realize, it comes down – it surely originates from this type of important spot. It surely does. It really is amazing. Kelly, i realize you have history being an indie rocker. What got you enthusiastic about Eastern European vocal music?
ATKINS: Well, the very first time we saw the Bulgarian Women’s Choir, I happened to be at Grace Cathedral. And I also sat within the pews and simply wept. And I also could not find out just what ended up being taking place in my opinion. Plus it simply rocked me personally on a tremendously, extremely level that is deep. Therefore I think that has been my gateway medication, in the group as we call it. Just about everyone has our gateway medication of Bulgarian choir music.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) Shira, individuals additionally might be astonished to discover that there is really numerous vocal teams right here in the usa devoted to Eastern European music. There Is Kitka. There is Planina situated in Denver. There is the Yale Slavic Chorus, that has been around very nearly 50 years. Just just just What do you consider makes.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: . The thereforengs so irresistible to vocalists that are female?
CION: Well, i believe for the people of us whom i might say recognize as liberal US feminists, there is one thing concerning the quality of effective women’s sounds joined up with together in this extremely real, extremely close harmony, often dissonant harmony designs that actually interests a modern American feminine sensibility.
(SOUNDBITE OF UNIDENTIFIED SONG that is KITKA
KITKA LADIES’ VOCAL ENSEMBLE: (performing in language).
CION: And they are countries where work was usually split by sex. And females had been familiar with producing in community and music that is creating in community. We had been really just speaking about this within the greenroom previous today – exactly just how many of us whom sing in Kitka are a lot more oriented in direction of kind of collective and harmony performing than individualistic, soloistic performing. and I also think it type of counters the type of highly individualistic trend that America values a great deal. It is, like.
CION: . Everybody else to.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: The solamente musician.
CION: . Themself (ph).
CION: The solamente musician. And also this is truly a public kind that can definitely just fly whenever there is a residential area of individuals taking part in it.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: let us pay attention now up to a carol that is ukrainian your record.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “V HOSPODARON’KA”)
KITKA LADIES’ VOCAL ENSEMBLE: (Performing in Ukrainian).
GARCIA-NAVARRO: which means this is obviously a carol that is ukrainian New season’s. And you really traveled here a bit straight back and met up with A ukrainian group. How about your other travels to execute in Eastern Europe? What is been the response from audiences?
ATKINS: we had been in Serbia about – ended up being it 5 years ago?
ATKINS: and it also ended up being my very first time with Kitka traveling abroad and performing Serbian music to Serbians. And I also genuinely ended up being stressed going. I happened to be thinking, whom have always been We being A us to go and sing these tracks right in front of those individuals where, you realize, they’ve these roots that are deep these songs? However in fact, we had been gotten extremely warmly. Plus it was a cathartic experience for both the viewers as well as us.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: therefore, Kelly and Shira, this will be to you both. What is your song that is favorite on record?
CION: Oh, which is a hardcore one.
CION: What do you consider about maybe “Blazentsv”?
ATKINS: Perhaps “Blazentsv.”
CION: Yeah. This is not theoretically a wintertime song. But it is a track during the holiday season that we feel articulates qualities that we all try to summon in ourselves. It really is a musical environment of “The Beatitudes” by the Russian composer Vladimir Martynov. And, you realize, they are calling the listener to embody characteristics of generosity and compassion and kindness, residing merely making sure that other people might just live and simply because contentment that is true originates from form of going contrary to the grain of greed and egoism and materialism and physical physical violence and residing carefully, residing kindly to ensure other people can have the kingdom ukrainian women for marriage of paradise right right here on the planet.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That is a good getaway message. Shira Cion and Kelly Atkins through the Kitka female’s Vocal Ensemble. Their album that is new is “Evening Star.” Many thanks both quite definitely.
CION: many thanks plenty for having us.
ATKINS: Thank you.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, “ZAPOVEDI BLAZENSTV/ THE BEATITUDES”)
KITKA LADIES’ VOCAL ENSEMBLE: (Performing in Russian).
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Correction Jan. 18, 2019
A past form of the internet summary listed an album name that is incorrect. Kitka’s showcased record is named Star, not Harmonies of Heaven and Earth evening.