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April 24th, 2010

Divi Zheni in the Wicked Local News!

Photo by Mark Thomson for the Wicked Local Newspapers © 2010

Reporter Victoria Groves, and photographer Mark Thomson of the Wicked Local News, took the time to talk with us backstage and attend our fundraiser concert at the Brighton-Allston Congregational Church. Their great write-up begins — “With giant red flowers in their hair, traditional blouses and black skirts, the women of Divi Zheni, Boston’s Women’s Bulgarian Chorus and Band, gave a lively performance on April 7 at the Brighton-Allston Congregational Church.” The complete article is here, featuring lots of great quotes by chorus members on the challenges and thrills of singing Balkan music.

March 26th, 2010

Balkan Music Night in the News!

One of our favorite annual events is Balkan Music Night, a rollicking evening — and by evening we mean 7pm to 2:30am!! — of Balkan music and dance performed by Balkan groups from all over New England, with special guests from farther afield. This year Divi Zheni performed in the concert part of the evening, which was a thrill, and which meant we got to dance our socks off late into the night. Big huge thank you to Balkan Music Night’s organizers, and especially to the audio engineers for a beautiful sound. Read more about the event in this Boston Globe article, featuring a quote by our very own Mari Young!

February 10th, 2010

New Members Fly In on the Wings of Love Songs

Love must have been in the air this winter, as we were delighted to welcome three new members to the chorus, whose auditions included an American love song circa 1942, a traditional Vietnamese wedding song, and a Russian wedding lament, Svadebnaya pyesnya, which is pretty much the saddest tune you’ll ever hear at a wedding. These were sung by our wonderful new chorusters, Naomi Edelman, Hilary Harpe Lilja, and Abigail Bordeaux, who, once joined, promptly plunged into preparing for a spate of late winter and early spring concerts. Welcome you three! We love having your beautiful voices in the group!

January 4th, 2010

Divi Zheni's 10th Anniversary Party!

It seems preposterous, and yet there it is — this month marks Divi Zheni’s 10th anniversary!! Learn more about the chorus’ history here. We are so grateful for all these years of learning and performing with our director Tatiana, and sharing this music that we love so deeply with our wonderful audiences. Come celebrate with us at a big birthday party we are throwing on Feb 20th, featuring music by us and some of our favorite local Balkan groups — Zornitsa, Pajdashi, and Zdravets! There’ll be lots of music and dancing, with crafts for sale, and a silent auction of some exquisitely beautiful folkloric pieces including an engraved Mongolian hot pot, and a gorgeous pair of children’s overalls from South America. Proceeds from the crafts sale and auction will help fund Divi Zheni’s upcoming concert tour in Bulgaria, summer of 2010! Thank you to our friends in Balkan music for ten amazing years. Let’s do ten more!

November 25th, 2009

Boston Globe Article About Our Sedenka

We were tickled and thrilled on November 22 to open up the Sunday Boston Globe Arts section, and see a great, half-page write up (with photo!) of Divi Zheni’s upcoming Sedenka. Globe journalist Lydia Rebac spent time with the chorus and with Tatiana, learning about why we do what we do. This holiday-season concert-coverage led to a standing-room only Sedenka which was great fun for us and our very game audience, and raised much-needed funds for the Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church’s soup kitchen, and for Divi Zheni. Click here to see the complete article.

October 17th, 2009

Angel Bearing New Costumes!

Paula and Barbara trying on our new costumes for the first time

You could never hope to see a roomful of more giddy, chattering women than the day our new costumes arrived from Bulgaria, and we pulled them out of the shipping boxes and tried them on. They were made in the capital city, Sofia, by Lilyana Velcheva, a brilliant folkloric costumer, who based the design on traditional costumes from the Shop region. Back in the spring we sent Lilyana detailed measurements along with mugshots of ourselves, and from these she made — for more than 20 of us — the most exquisite and authentic garments that actually fit! The blouses are white with diamond-shaped swaths of red embroidery on the arms, and lace at the cuffs. The sleeveless dresses are woven from a lightweight black wool, and embroidered with hundreds of gold sequins and cord. These costumes were made possible in large part by an incredibly generous, anonymous donation. We want to trumpet big huge thank yous to our anonymous costume angel, to our costumer Lilyana, and to our chorus member Liz who has taken on the role of costume mistress. Keep an eye out for us in our new threads at upcoming concerts!

August 8th, 2009

Quartet of Multi-Talented Songbirds

Well, June was soggy as a donut in coffee, but all that rain brought us the most beautiful, eclectic flock of new singers! Ariel Weinberg came across the country, accordion in tow, to work at the MIT Museum. Jenée Morgan is a fiddle player and music librarian at Berklee. Margo Pearce, a nurse practitioner, sang us an early 20th-century courting chanty at her audition, which we roundly loved. And professional photographer Gabrielle Keller has long played the piano, and now is singing. Welcome ladies! We are so happy & lucky to have your wonderful new voices and energies in our chorus & orchestra.

January 25th, 2009

Two Lovely New Singers

We are so happy to welcome two new singers to Divi Zheni this season! In the fall Reed Ferenbaugh joined us from Rhode Island with her beautiful, lyrical voice. She sings and plays folk harp with Anne’s Cordial, and at her audition she sang a true yodel for us, which carried us away to a high mountain meadow. And this winter Liz Young returned to the east from California where she studied Eastern European music with Bon Brown Singer. Luckily for us she brought her beautiful, expressive alto voice and her gorgeous Russian accent with her! Welcome to you both!

January 4th, 2009

Sedenkas Rock!

This holiday season our director Tatiana had the wonderful idea of organizing holiday concerts with her “girls” (Divi Zheni), and “boys” (Zornitsa) as sedenkas. In wintertime, in this festive Bulgarian tradition, the young and old, men & women, single folks, married couples & kids, having finished their farming work for the year, would get together for a sedenka — a work party indoors. They would sew, knit, carve, sing, make up new songs, dance and eat popcorn and other seasonal treats. This is what we did with our audiences in December and January! The concerts were so fun and warm and inclusive. Our very game audience members learned and sang songs, and got up and danced a LOT. Some brought thier knitting! At our Springstep sedenka, co-hosted by Violeta Zheliazkova of BGFocus, we were also treated to brilliant accompaniment by accordionist Koliu Kolev, the sweet sounds of the Balkan Revels kids, and the fiery footwork of the dance ensemble Mladost. They lit up the place as always! In the midst of winter and these troubled times, we were grateful to be together with friends and family in music and dance.

September 9th, 2008

New Songs for the Fall

Tatiana, our artistic director, traveled and toured in Bulgaria this summer with our friends-in-song Libana. What a culturally alive time they had! When Tania came back she had new songs for us to work on, including the beautiful and mischevious Trendafilcheto, which is sung in a dialect. The lyrics translate roughly as: Donna is beautiful like a carnation. A boys says to her “If you marry me, I’ll buy you an embroidered dress at the market, and yellow shoes, and I will watch you wear them.” Oh my!