In lieu of their beloved annual Wintersongs concert tour, we have worked with Kitka to curate a selection of newly produced music videos and highlights from previous Wintersongs performances at Old First Concerts.
Wintersongs is Kitka’s critically-acclaimed and wildly popular winter holiday program showcasing seasonal music from a wide variety of Eastern European ethnic and spiritual traditions. For countless centuries, people around the world have utilized the power or community singing to infuse warmth, cheer, spirituality, wishes for peace, health, and good fortune into the long, dark, cold and difficult winter season. Eastern Europe’s geographic position as a crossroads between Europe and the Orient has produced an astonishingly rich and varied array of seasonal musical rituals. Kitka’s program features songs ranging from rousing Slavic folk carols; to lush, meditative Eastern Orthodox sacred choral works; to Baltic pagan incantations for the return of the Sun Goddess, to Caucasus Georgian Alilos (hallelujahs); to Yiddish songs for Chanukah. Traditional pieces will be woven together with new folk song arrangements and original compositions by Kitka members and contemporary American and Eastern European composers, all inspired by the customs, beauty, and mystery of wintertime.
Inspired by traditional songs and vocal techniques from Eastern Europe and Eurasia, Kitka has earned international recognition for its distinctive sound, exploring a vast palette of ancient yet contemporary-sounding vocal effects. Kitka’s commitment to presenting traditional song as a living and evolving expressive art form has led to adventurous collaborations with some of the world’s most exciting indigenous musicians and contemporary composers ranging from Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares to Meredith Monk. Kitka began as a grassroots group of amateur singers from diverse ethnic and musical backgrounds who shared a passion for the stunning dissonances, asymmetric rhythms, intricate ornamentation, and resonant strength of traditional Eastern European women’s vocal music. Since its informal beginnings, the group has evolved into an award-winning touring ensemble known for its artistry, versatility and mastery of the demanding techniques of regional vocal styling, as well as for its innovative explorations in new music for women’s voices. The ensemble’s wide-ranging performance, teaching, and recording activities have exposed millions to the haunting beauty of their unique repertoire.