Since 1979, the Oakland-based women's vocal ensemble KITKA has brought the stunning dissonances, asymmetric rhythms, intricate ornamentation, lush harmonies, and resonant strength of traditional and contemporary Eastern European vocal music to audiences throughout the East Bay, California, North America, Eastern and Western Europe, and beyond.
Kitka is an American women's vocal arts ensemble inspired by traditional songs and vocal techniques from Eastern Europe. Dedicated to developing new audiences for music rooted in Balkan, Slavic, and Caucasian women's vocal traditions, Kitka also strives to expand the boundaries of folk song as a living and evolving expressive art form. Kitka's activities include an Oakland-based home series of concerts and vocal workshops; regional, national, and international touring; programs in the schools; recording, publication, and broadcast projects; master artist residencies; commissioning; community service work; and adventuresome collaborations.
For the 510arts.com website we are submitting a montage of video images and an audio track from our international collaborative vocal-theater project, THE RUSALKA CYCLE SONGS BETWEEN THE WORLDS.
In Slavic folklore RUSALKI are the restless spirits of women who have died unjust, untimely, or unnatural deaths. They inhabit the waters, forests, and fields, luring people to them with their mesmerizing songs and wild laughter. THE RUSALKA CYCLE is a dreamlike journey that weaves together traditional folksongs gathered during field research in Ukraine, with original music by Ukrainian composer Mariana Sadovska and stage direction by Oakland stage director Ellen Sebastian Chang.
This piece was created and premiered in 2005 at the Malonga Casquelord Center for the Arts in Oakland. It has since been revised several times and remounted in 2008 at the San Francisco at the Friend Center for the Arts, and at the Revolutions International Theater Festival in Albuquerque, NM; and in 2009 at the Giving Voice Festival in Wroclaw, Poland, the Globalize International Festival in Cologne, Germany, and the Mohyla Academy in Kiev, Ukraine. In July 2010, Kitka presented its latest rendition of THE RUSALKA CYCLE at the Stimmen Festival in Lörrach Germany. The images in this montage are drawn from the 2008 San Francisco Performance, where as the audio is drawn from a radio concert version which was recorded and broadcast at WDR (West German National Radio) in 2009. We are still awaiting documentation from our 2010 presentation of the work, but hope this submission will qualify Kitka for 510arts.com website and competition consideration.