Northern Harmony

Internationally acclaimed Vermont world music choir "Northern Harmony" presents workshops and concerts in Oregon:

Wednesday, April 10, at Lost Valley Educational Center in Dexter (81868 Lost Valley Lane): Singing workshop 7-8 pm, concert at 8:30 pm. Dinner available. Contact: 541-937-3351.
Thursday, April 11, in Corvallis, concert at 7:30 pm at First Congregational Church (5745 SW West Hills Rd). Contact: 541-753-2043. Friday, April 12, in Eugene, concert at 7:30 pm at Eugene Mennonite Church (3590 W. 18th Ave.). Contact: 541-344-7396

Northern Harmony's fourteen singers and instrumentalists specialize in music from vital community singing traditions throughout the world and through the centuries. The Vermont-based ensemble is especially known for its vocal power and agility, its sure command of widely varied singing styles and techniques, its unerring ear for compelling harmonies and arrangements, and its winning and informal stage presence.

The concert program includes: ancient work and sacred songs from Caucasus Georgia with unusual dissonant harmonies and dark sonorous vocal quality; village songs from Bulgaria with the bright, hard-edged Balkan vocal sound and a lively instrumental band; traditional harmony singing from Corsica and Sardinia; traditional and contemporary songs from the American shape-note tradition; Italian medieval music, and music from Corsica; and contemporary choral settings of the poetry of Sufi mystic Rumi by Colorado composer Toby Tenenbaum.

Northern Harmony has traveled widely throughout America and Europe. Reviewing their recent concert of Georgian and early American music at the prestigious London Lufthansa Festival of Early Music, the Festival Artistic Director wrote, "it was certainly the most moving concert of the entire festival." Their Oregon appearances are part of a six week cross-country tour.

Co-directors Larry Gordon and Patty Cuyler are educators as well as performers. They also direct a larger umbrella organization which includes the widely known teenage ensemble Village Harmony and an extensive program of traveling music camps which each year involve hundreds of singers from all over the world. Gordon's strong and flexible bass voice and rhythmic drive anchor the Northern Harmony sound. Cuyler is also a powerful singer, as well as an accordionist and brass player, and she has compiled an enormous library of transcriptions of traditional Georgian, Balkan and South African songs. So far she has published three volumes of an ongoing series of these editions.

Northern Harmony also features two singers from Caucasus Georgia. Carl Linich, an American now residing in Tbilisi, is a brilliant tenor who has devoted his life to studying, preserving, teaching and performing Georgian traditional music. He has worked and performed with many renowned traditional singers there and has an immense repertoire of traditional songs from all parts of the country. Teah Pirstkhelani, a young singer from a large family of traditional musicians in the remote mountain province of Svaneti, performs widely, both with her family and with the mixed ensemble Zedashe.

The remaining members of the group are likewise accomplished singers, and also include a number of fine instrumentalists, clarinet, fiddle, trombone, viola da gamba, tambura and percussion, who are featured in the Bulgarian and medieval numbers. The group1s many CDs, as well as their songbooks of shape-note, Balkan, Georgian and South African music will be available at the workshop and concerts. For more information, check out the Northern Harmony's website.

© Spencer Creek Press, West By Northwest 2000-2002 All Rights Reserved unless otherwise noted.

The opinions expressed by the authors are not necessarily the opinions of the publisher and/or sponsors.

West by Northwest
Spencer Creek Press
PO Box 51251
Eugene OR 97405

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