Babes transport audience members to the Balkans

Weekend concert in Metchosin will have Eastern European flavour

The Balkan Babes perform Sunday at St. Mary’s Church in Metchosin.

Music lovers need go no further than Metchosin this Sunday (June 1) to take in the melodies of the Balkans.

The award-winning Balkan Babes, a nine-piece choir, explore a repertoire of traditional music from the Ukraine, Bulgaria, Croatia, and even non-Balkan regions including Georgia and the Czech Republic. They sing songs in native tongues, despite the fact none of the choristers know them as a first language.

“The sounds, the tonality of the original languages, is quite important to the production of the tone of the music that is written and we like to respect that,” said Kristen Scott, a Babe since 2000. “To translate it would be something quite different.”

The group mine their musical choices from recommendations and discover some of the songs from research, friends and family. Mastering a single song can take up to a year before it is ready for the public.

“Interpreting the songs … is something we really enjoy. The songs are really beautiful on their own, but it is always great to have an idea of what the content is,” Scott said. “The people can usually immerse themselves in the songs and the interplay of the voices in the different parts.”

The self-organized group has no director, acting more as a collective, with all performers having input on musical decisions. They hope residents take an opportunity to immerse themselves in the sounds of another country.

“A lot of the music is working music, songs about traditional life in the Balkans,” Scott said. “It can be political, folky on a human level and about relationships between people.”

Naseem Janmohamed, a member at large in the Metchosin Community Association, which hosts four to five concerts a year, hadn’t heard of the Balkan Babes until she read ballots from audience members suggesting they perform in the series. Upon discovering them online, Janmohamed acted quickly to book them.

“They have a great sound. The songs they sing are interesting and lively and convey a lot of feelings, I like that a lot,” she said. “It is going to be a great afternoon of fantastic music in a great setting. Our concerts are fun.”

The a cappella group began as a community group of more than 20 women who came together to share music.

That evolved into a performance-oriented ensemble that went on to win a Vancouver Island Music Award and CBC Radio’s choral competition in 2008. They’ve released two full-length albums: Divna, released in 2008 and Volio (2012).

“This group of women have become really good friends. Some of us didn’t know each other before, but the friendships that have grown out of it are really strong and I think that comes through in our performances,” Scott said. “We are always proud and honoured to bring a bit of that musical tradition to this part of the world.”

Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for seniors and children 12-over. Showtime is 2:30 p.m. at St. Mary of the Incarnation Church, 4125 Metchosin Rd. For more information visit balkanbabes.ca.

alim@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Artists find showcase at Coast Collective gallery

Art from the Attic showcases forgotten treasures

Drop off your old branches in Colwood

Program helps keep city yards tidy

Premier John Horgan announces improvements to Highway 14

Construction on the $10 million project is set to begin immediately

Upgrades to Millstream overpass to begin Feb. 1

Project includes addition of left hand turn lane onto highway to Victoria

Victoria Grizzlies look to continue hot steak

Team hits the road this weekend before Family Fun Night

Monster trucks invade Victoria

Traxxas Monster Truck Tour stops at Save-On Foods Memorial Centre this weekend

Wind warning back in effect around Vancouver Island

80 km/h winds expected Saturday, Jan. 20, on east coast of Island, 100 km/h on west coast

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

UPDATE: BC Transit’s handyDart service strike delayed

LRB application by contractor means new strike notice must be issued by union

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Most Read