Shira Cion, director
Janet Kutulas & Kelly Atkins, Wintersongs Music Co-Directors
Stacey Barnett, Charlotte Finegold, Erin Lashnits Herman, Kristine Barrett, Maclovia Quintana, and Katya Schoenberg
What sustains us in times of darkness, scarcity, uncertainty, and hardship?
Kitka’s Wintersongs program this year is a music response to this question, featuring songs that express wonder and gratitude for the miracle of creation, the diversity of life on Earth, and the mysterious influences of heavenly bodies. They sing songs that bestow blessings upon families and friends gathered around hearth fires and feast tables; songs that express faith and devotion to divine beings; humorous songs that make us laugh; songs that call out for peace on earth; and songs that summon hope for rebirth and renewal in springtime. The program also gives thanks for the gifts of music to nourish feelings of community and connectedness. Through voices raised together in song, we find sustenance.
The women in Kitka are fearless sonic explorers, and you can hear their intrepid spirit in every haunting song. For over four decades, the nine-women Oakland ensemble has developed a vast, breathtaking repertoire of traditional songs from the Balkans, Caucasus and Slavic lands, as well as new material composed for the group drawing on those ancient vocal practices. Traveling to rural communities throughout Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, they’ve gathered songs and communed with elders who are often the last links to centuries-old traditions. The ravishing textures of the women’s voices, unearthly cadences, angular rhythms and unfamiliar languages make Kitka’s performances and recordings an enthralling experience.