The Berklee Balkan vocal ensemble was founded by Christiane Karam in 2011, as a means to explore the choral traditions and folk music adaptations of the Balkans, the Middle East, the Caucasus, and parts of the Mediterranean. It is primarily a women's chorus with some arrangements that incorporate male singers as well. It includes and welcomes singers from all over the world, and serves as a platform for cultural exchange, and an opportunity to come together and celebrate the beauty and spirit that connects us all.
This year, vocalists from Serbia, Montenegro, France, Estonia, Russia, Indonesia, Ecuador, the United States, Roumania, Russia, Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, India, Puerto Rico, and Lebanon joined the ensemble to study this music and sing the ancient traditions of those regions. The ensemble will be performing traditional songs from the Bulgarian folk repertoire, several of which were originally arranged for Bulgaria's award-winning Women's State Television Choir, as well as traditional selections from Armenia, Russia, and Macedonia.
Berklee Balkan Vocal Ensemble:
Aleksandra Denda, Belgrade, Serbia
Anna Talpe, Paris, France
Gabriela Lencka, Warsaw, Poland
Christiane Karam, Beirut, Lebanon
Deniz Ozcelik, Antep, Turkey
Ioana Udroiu, Bucharest, Roumania
Raquel Quinones-Rivera, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
Jana Sustersic, Belgrade, Serbia
Andrea Charalambos, Nikosia, Cyprus
Eleni Arapaglou, Athens, Greece
Adriel Tjokrosaputro, Surakarta, Indonesia
Tracy Robertson, Watertown, NY
Francisco Ruiz, Quito, Ecuador
Special guests include: Patrick Yacono (kaval, gaida, clarinet) Alex Gable (mandolin), and Tareq Rantisi (percussion).