February 4, 2009

Russia and Georgia in Harmony (at least this weekend)

For all of the reported bad blood between Russians and Georgians, both at the political and social levels, there are still many perfectly peaceful and complementary relationships between the two groups. Not the least of which is a shared history of rich cultures, distinct yet informing one another.

This weekend during The University of Chicago Folk Festival, Chicago residents will get a chance to see Russian and Georgian choirs perform back-to-back on Sunday, Feb. 8 (Ida Noyes Hall, West Lounge, 1212 East 59th Street Chicago).

Golosa, a Russian folk choir based at the University of Chicago, will present a program of secular songs from pre-Soviet Russia, with an emphasis on the tradition of the Semeiskie Old Believers in southern Siberia. These songs involve improvisation, close harmonies, and occasionally folk instruments and are quite unlike most of the Russian music that reaches us in the United States today. This concert/workshop will take place in the West Lounge in Ida Noyes on Saturday, 12:00-1:00 pm. Alioni, performing from 1-2:30pm, is Chicago's new Georgian folk singing ensemble directed by Clayton Parr, Associate Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at DePaul. It has recently recorded for Hal Leonard Publishing, with special guest Carl Linich.

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