Vocal Ensemble Kitka Celebrates Season with Wintersongs CD & December Tour

Kitka - Wintersongs
Kitka – Wintersongs
Bloomington, Indiana, USA – This December Kitka launches a nine-city Wintersongs tour along with their latest CD and companion songbook also called Wintersongs (Diaphonica Recordings) featuring repertoire ranging from Bulgaria to Belarus, from Georgia to Greece.

Kitka is a women’s vocal ensemble. The eight singers blend a contemporary sensibility with specialized vocal techniques from Eastern Europe that have been distilled over centuries.

While many of the songs that Kitka will perform on the tour have a holiday theme, many are also thought to have pre-Christian origins celebrating the solstice. Just as cultures outside of Europe have integrated newer Christian beliefs with existing older nature-centered traditions, the same is true in Eastern Europe, giving the repertoire an earthy and exotic feel, offering a broader appeal than if it were simply liturgical music.

For example the song “Alilo,” from the Racha region of Georgia is traditionally sung on Christmas Eve by roaming masked carolers who are rewarded with drink and treats. Alilo is related to the Hebrew word allelujah, but some ethnomusicologists believe this song and caroling ritual are rooted in more ancient seasonal customs that predate Georgia’s conversion to Christianity in the fourth century.

Similarly, the Bulgarian word for Christmas or Koleda—which is referred to in the song “Zamuchi Se Bozha Majka”—has origins in the ancient Roman winter Kolendae festival, dedicated to the beginning of the solar year. Koljada was also the name of the old Slavic winter-god. This song makes reference to the day of the Christ child’s baptism. Traditionally in the Balkans, young men would toss wooden crosses into icy rivers, and then dive in to retrieve them, while their elders collected bottles of sanctified healing water on the riverbanks.

The music taps into something really essential and ancient,” says Kitka
vocalist and executive director Shira Cion. “You think about the solstice and
the nights, which are dark and cold and long. A lot of our songs either encapsulate that winter mood or bring a contrasting spirit of warmth, light, and jubilation to it

Buy Wintersongs

12/03/2004, Fri

Wild Jane’s,
16440 4th Street
Tix: $12,
Show: 8pm

  • Tickets and info:
    12/04/2004, Sat
    Brisbane, CA


    Mission Blue,
    475 Mission Blue
    Tix: $17, $12, $7,
    Show: 8pm

  • Tickets and info:
    12/05/2004, Sun
    Oakland, CA


    Lake Merritt Church,
    1330 Lakeshore Ave.
    Tix: $18 adv, $20
    door, Show:

  • Tickets and info:
    12/10/2004, Fri
    Belvedere, CA


    St. Stephen’s Episcopal
    , 3
    Bay View Avenue
    Tix: $18 adv, $20
    door, Show:

  • $18 advance tickets
    12/11/2004, Sat
    Los Banos, CA

      Falasco Arts Center,
    1105 Fifth Street
    Tix: $20,
    Show: 7:30pm
  • Information:
    12/12/2004, Sun

    2620 Capitol Avenue
    Tix: $16 general, $12
    students & seniors,
    Show: 4pm

  • Tickets and info:
    12/17/2004, Fri

    Popejoy Hall,
    University of New
    Tix: $29, $26, $19,
    Show: 8pm

  • ticketing:
    1-800-905-3315 or UNM Ticketing (505) 925-5858
    12/19/2004, Sun
    Springs, FL

    Springs Performing Arts Center
    324 Pine St.
    Tix: $14/$16,
    Show: 7pm

  • Tickets and info:
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