Mary Sherhart is
one of America's leading
teachers and performers of traditional Balkan vocal music.
Proud mom of three terrific children
2012 Aspasia Phoutrides Pulakis Award recipient from Seattle's Ethnic Heritage Council, given annually to an individual who has contributed significantly to a Northwest ethnic community.
2006 Artist Trust / Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship recipient
First president Sevdah North America http://www.sevdahnorthamerica.org/
Teacher, singer, healer of hearts through music
CDs and DVDs of sevdah in English & Bosnian
Now, a chance for non-Bosnian English speakers to listen to sevdah songs and understand the lyrics as a native does. Arranged by the late great Omer Pobric.
Sevdah North America, Inc.
In October 2011, I formed the Bulgarian Voices in Seattle women's choir. It currently has 22 women from Bulgaria ages twenty-four to seventy-six. Singing is important, but equally so is connecting with Bulgarian roots. We all look forward to our weekly Wednesday rehearsal that is a real island in our busy lives. We sing, laugh, and work together to organize wonderful singing events for the community. Here's a photo from the first Stari Gradski Sing-Along held May 6, 2012.
BALKAN CHOIRS IN THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA
Here is a growing list of choirs made up mostly of non-East European singers who simply love and devote themselves to learning, perfecting and performing the region's gorgeous traditional songs. This list does not include the many groups found within ethnic communities throughout North America.
AE (duo of Aurelia Shrenker & Eva Salina Primack) in New York
Balkan Babes in Victoria, BC, CANADA
Born to Drone in Mountain View, CA
Bulgarian Voices in Seattle sponsored by the Bulgarian Cultural and Heritage Center of Seattle
Darena in Salt Lake City
Divi Zheni in Boston
Dunava in Seattle
Gradina in Sebastopol, CA
Kitka Women's Vocal Ensemble in San Francisco
Mila in Minneapolis
Mzekala in Tuscon, AZ
Nevenka in Los Angeles
Orfeia in Maryland and DC area
Planina in Denver
Podrushki in Grass Valley, CA
Rusalka in Ashland, OR
Slaveya in Washington DC
Svirka in Albuquerque, NM
Svitanyha in Philadelphia
Yale Slavic Chorus in Boston
Yasna Voices in Brooklyn, NY
From the first two choirs in which I sang in the 1970's, the Koleda Ensemble choir and Ruzice Folk Choir, over the years I have had the great joy to go on to direct a number of Balkan choirs including the Sedyanka Balkan Women's Choir, Vecherinka Balkan Women's Choir, the Vela Luka Croatian Ensemble, the New Land Choir and the glorious choir which sang for the magical Narodil se Mladi Kralj productions. I feel a debt of gratitude to all those fine singers who gave me the incredible benefit of standing before their glorious music!
A magical moment in time in concert at the 2011 Northwest Folklife Festival with (from left to right) the woman who started the entire Balkan singing scene Ethel Raim, Aurelia Shrenker, Catherine Foster, Eva Salina Primack, Ruth Hunter and yours truly.
Read about the many experiences and kindesses during my latest visit to Bosnia and Croatia. I love to write and hope to find time to keep this blog up.
Click here for stories and photos of previous postings.
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