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March 1st, 2015

Tatiana Sarbinska honored in Blagoevgrad

Our beloved director, Tatiana Sarbinska, traveled to Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, in November to participate in the 60th anniversary celebration of the Pirin Ensemble. Here is the finale of their 60th anniversary concert!

November 16th, 2013

Divi Zheni Performers on Tour in Bulgaria!

Orfeia with Divi Zheni Members Performing in Bulgaria, October 2013

Five members of Divi Zheni were delighted to join our artistic director Tatiana Sarbinska, our sister chorus, Orfeia, and our new friends in song, Svitanya, on a concert tour across Bulgaria, in October 2013.  There we performed at concert halls, a history museum, a juried composition contest, national radio, Bulgarian late night TV’s The Slavi Show, and at the American Embassy in Sofia.  It was an exciting trip!  A musical highlight was performing with the world-renowned Philip Koutev orchestra and chorus, and hearing them play award-winning compositions in the traditional Bulgarian style. And a cultural highlight was visting the Todoroff Winery, where you can eat the most delicious food, drink the most delicious wine, and hear amazing traditional music.

September 28th, 2012

Divi Zheni Performs for Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev!

Divi Zheni with the President of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev

Divi Zheni with the President of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev

On September 28, 2012, the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Bulgaria in Massachusetts, The Bulgarian American Cultural Center Madara in Boston, and Europeans Worldwide in Boston, hosted a Community Meeting with the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Rosen Plevneliev. Divi Zheni and Zornitsa were honored to perform a short concert set for the President, who was in the US to attend the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Co-sponsored by the Cambridge Innovation Center.  It was truly an honor and a thrill!

July 17th, 2012

Live Recordings of Divi Zhen in SoundCloud!

This summer we went through recordings of concerts we performed in recent years, and found some beautiful tracks for you to have a listen to.  We posted them to our music page using a very cool widget made by SoundCloud.  Just click the track titles to hear each one. Many are in Bulgarian, and there are a few in Russian and Ladino as well. The levels are a bit all over the place, as these tracks haven’t yet been mastered.  But the songs are lovely — enjoy!

July 5th, 2012

Divi Zheni’s Blog!

Divi Zheni’s “News” page is now a blog!  Check in here for news from the group about our musical adventures! And we’d love to hear from you too 🙂

– Freedom Baird
Divi Zheni singer and web ma’am

February 22nd, 2012

Our Dear Friend Bonnie

Bonnie Armstrong

We lost our dear friend and chorus member Bonnie Armstrong this month. Bonnie and I started out together in the International Music Club so many years ago, both as fledgling singers, Bonnie on the low end, and I on the high end, then led by Julia Poirier and Barbara Pixton. We were in Pajdashi, the Croatian group, and soon after Divi Zheni formed, she joined and was a mainstay of the low voices for eleven years, until this past November when she took a leave of absence.

Some time after starting in Divi Zheni, I happened upon Bonnie’s lesson with our teacher and director, Tatiana Sarbinska. She was learning a new, and her first, solo, Gljodaj Ma Gljodaj. I was awestruck by the beauty of the voice that Tatiana had “opened” as Tatiana likes to say. Those solos were always a highpoint of our concerts.

Bonnie also gave us those wonderful introductions during concerts. Her theatrical training, her booming voice, her sense of humor, always delighted the audience. Memorable were those introductions to the heartrending Stiga Jodish, and the joyful and humorous Ergen Deda.

Sitting across the choral arc from Bonnie was a particular joy, as I had the joy of witnessing her silent communications and antics throughout the rehearsal. She told me to watch her when I was called on to do those dreaded solos (as she knew how nervous I got). She said she would give me courage. I did always look at her before singing, and she always did give me that look that I knew meant, “You can do it!”.

Bonnie taught us determination, strength, perseverance and courage in the face of difficult odds. She never lost her sense of humor; she loved her dear family above all else. We will miss her. I will miss her.

With love and in memory,

– Paula

March 3rd, 2011

Love Songs for Spring Time

This past fall and winter our director Tatiana brought us a host of new folk songs to learn, including several love songs about women named Gana, Rajka, Marcho, and their recalcitrant mothers and forlorn boyfriends. The rowdiest of these is a Greek tune, Dimitroula Mu, in which the protagonist’s sweetheart says (if I may paraphrase) “let’s get drunk and dance on the tables my dear, I’ll pay for anything you break!”. We’ll be performing these and other new songs at our upcoming concerts this spring, and with accompaniment by our dear friends Ira Gessel and Ralph Iverson from our “brother” chorus, Zornitsa. Ajde!

October 1st, 2010

Our Director Wins Prestigious Composition Award!

Anyone who has had the good fortune to study with and be conducted by our artistic director, Tatiana Sarbinska knows that she is a multi-talented force of nature. She is a brilliant and passionate vocalist, and a gifted and devoted teacher. Also a composer, Tatiana has written several beautiful songs, including Katerino Mome and Oj Dimitre Sine Mitre, both of which are widely known and loved in Bulgaria. To add to her composition oeuvre, this past summer Tatiana wrote a beautiful orchestral piece titled “Moyeta Pesen” (“My Song”), for classical instruments and inspired by traditional Bulgarian music. She entered the piece in a juried competition, and yesterday we learned she won the top prize in her category!!! The competition was hosted by The Sveti Georgi Pobedonosets Foundation in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and the category she entered her piece in was titled International Competition for Symphonic Composition Based on Traditional Motifs in 7/8. Congratulations Tanya!!!

August 26th, 2010

Back From Bulgaria

We’re back from our two week concert tour in Bulgaria. It was awe-inspiring to be up in the Sredna Gora mountains and down by the Black Sea, witnessing beautiful Balkan music performances, and offering our own as well. Our deepest thanks to our Boston-area audience members and donors for your support this year, which made this trip possible. We’re looking forward to sharing with you some of what we learned and experienced at upcoming concerts!

Divi Zheni at the Koprivshtitsa National Folklore Festival, August 2010. Photo by Henry Olds.

July 25th, 2010

Our Fiddle Player's Other Rockin' Gig

Most of our chorus members, well all of us really, live double and triple lives, playing, and singing in other groups, bands, and ensembles of every imaginable stripe. This includes our fabulous fiddle player, Jenée Morgan, who’s roots-rock band Kingsley Flood got two great write-ups in the Boston Globe and Boston Phoenix this week. The Globe article is here, Phoenix article is here, and Kingsley Flood’s website is here. The Phoenix lauded Jenée’s “masterful fiddle” — we completely concur!