Samodivi: The Haunting Beauty of the Balkans

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Berklee Performance Center
136 Massachusetts Avenue
United States

The music of Samodivi is inspired by the beauty and rhythmic intricacies of Balkan musical traditions. The repertoire includes modern interpretations of old folk songs from the Balkan peninsula, as well as original compositions using that style as an inspiration.

The ensemble features Bulgarian-born founder and composer Vessela Stoyanova on marimba, vibraphone, and the MIDI Marimba Lumina; other instrumentation includes the traditional qanun, clarinet, fiddle, string quartet, powerful rhythm section, and on occasion a full Balkan brass band. Weaving in and out of the instrumental pieces are the haunting voices of Burcu Gulec and various guest vocalists. The Berklee World String Orchestra will join Stoyanova on her piece "Mountain Goats and Other Creatures," under the direction of Eugene Friesen. Stoyanova wrote this piece for the Lexington High School Orchestra in 2016, and it will be featured at a performance at Carnegie Hall in April.

The Balkan region is often riddled by war and mistrust among the countries that share it, but its music shows a familial bond and a shared culture dating to antiquity. The Samodivi ensemble often includes musicians from Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, Serbia, the United States, and many other countries.