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

Last week for first year of Oak Bay deer contraception campaign

Crew working to administer second booster to all 60 does

Downtown Victoria tea shop switches to plastic tea bags

Murchie’s Tea and Coffee says the transition is temporary

Dog memorial at Esquimalt Lagoon encourages living in the moment

Owner of Jazz the black lab sets up tennis ball memorial one year after dog’s death

Western Speedway racing legend ‘The Flying Plumber’ turns 98

Dave Cooper recalls car crashes, his first win, and more

Second puppy killed by poisonous mushrooms in Victoria

Springer spaniel puppy died after consuming mushrooms in Fairfield neighbourhood

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

‘Sky didn’t fall:’ Police, lawyers still adjusting after pot legalization

Statistics Canada says 541 people were charged under the federal Cannabis Act between Oct. 17, 2018 and the end of the year

Fewer people prescribed opioids in B.C., but other provinces lack data: doctors

Patients who began taking opioids were prescribed smaller doses for shorter duration

Electric cello, stolen from vehicle in Williams Lake, returned to U.S. owner

Rita Rice of Texas said she and her husband had given up hope of ever seeing it again

Vancouver Island’s West Coast going wild about cycling

Ongoing project will tie Tofino and Ucluelet together with a paved cycling trail

Drop, cover and hold on: Thousands of British Columbians to take part in earthquake drill

This year’s drill comes as scientists announce discovery of ‘stormquakes,’ an earthquake and hurricane

Woman, 24, faces life-altering injuries after being dragged 4 blocks by vehicle in Vancouver

A gofundme account says the woman will have to undergo multiple complex surgeries

Most Read