GUERRILLA CAROLLING – SING WITH UKRAINE – SINGING SONGS TO AWAKEN PEOPLE FROM INDIFFERENCE

For the past 2 weeks we have been interrupting the scheduled programmed events at different Toronto venues to SING…  

.

To sing powerful traditional songs, musically and sonically shaped by the courage and solidarity of a people fighting for survival.

So powerful that you don’t just hear it, your feel the collective strength…

So powerful that it can awaken people from indifference and help recognize the wars and injustices not just in Ukraine but that so many are fighting around the world. 

We are a group of Toronto musicians/artists with connections to Ukraine, collaborating hard to find ways to support those in Ukraine, and developing this extensive list of resources to help navigate this terror.

CLICK FOR A LIST OF UPCOMING GUERILLA CAROLLING DATES

I’ve been humbled yet again by a community of mostly women, who reacted and mobilized so quickly to the sudden and unimaginable terror of war that fell on Ukraine two weeks ago.

These women facilitated transportation and lodging for those seeking refuge; advocated and organized services for unfairly treated visible minorities; compiled reliable media and donor agencies for us in the “west;” compiled form letters to government and corporations – to plead for sanction against Russia, to request services be withdrawn from Russia, or to plead for a no-fly-zone; compiled lists of supplies needed from sources in Ukraine and listed local drop-off points here in Toronto; organized a unique Toronto cross-cultural fundraiser…  It was and continues to be an unbelievable whirlwind of chaotic organization, logistics, messaging, google docs and sheet, slack channels… 

But in the midst of all this, these women also took the time to meet up with each other, to sing together, and for others. They sang in local bars and restaurants, like DROM, La Palette and The Pamenar.

They initially sang there to share their grief with audiences they knew, in venues they frequented. And when they sang and shared the traditional Ukrainian songs, they channeled that profound collective memory of courage and strength that Ukrainian people have needed in so many past wars and even genocide.

The power of these collective memories came clearly through these songs and affected audiences in just as profound a way, even to people who have no association with Ukraine. Even when they sang at the Supermarket’s Big Fam Jam, where the creative musical youth of Toronto gather and were ready to party, to celebrate the end of the lock ups, and sing and play their funky hearts out… those youth all stood quietly and listened; and when asked, they all joined in on the drone to accompany the singers. And when the songs were over, they cheered with such enthusiasm and force that it felt Ukraine would be able to withstand anything!  

And just as the songs can express the strength needed to counter the devastation in Ukraine, a unique Toronto cross-cultural fundraiser to amass that strength happened only 2 weeks after the war broke out, on FRIDAY MARCH 11 at the OPERA HOUSE, where we raised over $30,000 for humanitarian aid in Ukraine. For more info please visit www.WithUkraine.ca

By the way there is a long history of music, defiance and war in Ukraine. I will update this article with a few links to find out more in the next couple of weeks.

Sign up to find out about UPCOMING SINGING WORKSHOPS and community singing events and/or visit our workshop page for more info.

WANT TO CONTACT US? Or know of a place or event that’s ripe for some SING WITH UKRAINE guerrilla singing? Please let us know with the form below!

UPCOMING GUERRILLA CAROLLING DATES

Andrea and Jaash

Presenting a refreshing sound by two seasoned world musicians, Andrea and Jaash feature an extensive repertoire of tunes from diverse musical traditions. Their inspirations are vast, drawing from jazz, roots and other, sometimes obscure musics from around the world. The result is a harmonious blend of melodies, rhythms and musical styles that explore and unravel a sonic story.
click the picture to visit Andrea and Jaash’s Soundcloud playlist

While circling each other’s musical orbit for years, Andrea Kuzmich (a specialist in vocal polyphony) and Jaash Singh (a multi-instrument percussionist) finally came together to perform in late 2020. Without a doubt, there were challenges in creating music under the conditions of the pandemic, but this did not stop them to quickly develop an extensive repertoire of tunes from diverse musical traditions. Their inspirations are vast, drawing from jazz, pop, and traditional musics from far off pockets of the world, including Eastern Africa, the northern and central Caucasus, and Turkey. The result is a harmonious blend of melodies, rhythms and musical styles that explore and unravel a sonic story.

Below is a rough mix and edit of video of the Georgian song შენზე ფიქრებს ბედავს გული თავხედი (the heart dares to think of you) in the Georgian language.

Andrea and Jaash’s first performance was in a park – the safe outdoors – and soon after, everything closed up from the threat of covid. So their next collaboration was creating this short EP of festive tune.

They have since performed in actual venues around Toronto. Here’s a video of them from December 1 2021 at Hirut Cafe, performing Ой у лісі лісі – коляда – Oh in the Woods in the Forest, a traditional Ukrainian Christmas carol wrapped up in a jazzy feel.

As an award winning singer, a teacher, an ethnomusicologist, and music facilitator, Andrea has performed in and/or recorded with numerous ensembles and choirs throughout Toronto: from Whitney Smith’s Big Steam Band to the conventional SATB Choir of Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church; from the contemporary improvised new music of the Element Choir and vocals she provided for the soundtracks of The Witch and The Tall Grass, to the traditional folk music of Ori Shalva, Gabo’s Trio, Darbazi, ZARI, Kosa Kolektiv or Kalendar. She has worked and performed with many of Toronto’s finest musicians, including Maryem Tollar, Bernie Senenski, Kevin Malon, Alex Samaras, Christine Duncan, and many others. 

Jaash Singh is a highly sought after percussionist, specializing in live performance, dance accompaniment, studio recordings, theatre and television. He performs in a variety of styles, on a variety of instruments including drum kit, darbuka, tapan, cajon, and more. He is currently active in several projects including the Lemon Bucket Orkestra, Ventanas, and Nomadica, among others. He also works as a tour manager and operations manager for festival and conference presenters BLOK and URGNT.

2021 SPRING BODY PERCUSSION WORKSHOPS

A fun, physically active, movement and rhythm workshop, and a great workout for the brain…

With workshops for the Ontario Womyn’s Winter Drum Camp and our own zoom classes, we had a great go of winter. But spring is here now, so no matter your level, no matter your experience, we invite you to join us online and make music with your bodies.

Body Percussion Tuesdays!!

Next workshop is TUESDAY MAY 25
and every other Tuesday
7:00-7:45
ish PM EST on ZOOM!!

$10-15 for employed, PWYC for underemployed
(per Tuesday class)

Sign up with our PAY PAL link (be sure to grab the zoom link when you do) or use our Contact Us Page for more info.

A PHYSICALLY FUN AND ACTIVE WORKSHOP FOR BODY AND BRAIN
These are physically active workshops, where layers of rhythm are overlapped to make some serious groove. A singing component involves vocalizing rhythms as well as singing songs and riffs, sometimes in harmony. With all these layers, we’ll challenge your brain but in such a fun way! Without realizing it, you’ll develop a stronger sense of rhythm but also experience the pure joy of making music solely with your body.
Below is a fun arrangement based on a Ukrainian new year carol.

BEGINNER and INTERMEDIATE
Because we start with simple patterns and build upon them, our workshops accommodate both beginner and intermediate levels. Those who are more adept are given more challenging rhythms to layer on top of a basic rhythm. Alternatively, those challenged by the more demanding rhythms can practice holding the simpler rhythmic pattern. Vocals, like singing or vocalizing rhythms, are another layer that can be added.

IN EACH WORKSHOP: DRILLS, SONGS and ARRANGEMENTS
Each workshop will usually start with drilling some rhythm rudiments to develop and strengthen your technique – all in a fun and accessible way. But within the span of a 2-4 workshops, we’ll also be working on a single arrangement, that way people can take the time to learn the choreography while developing their skill.


For the end of March through April we’ll be working on a piece based on a West African Song called Baga Gine. You can see a bit of the song in the video below, but we’ll also be including a break and something of a coda, the latter which you can hear in the videos below (note, one of them is a funny sped up video from one of our past workshops).

Around the spring of 2014, MusiCamp’s director and founder, Andrea Kuzmich, started exploring ways to use body percussion in our kid’s summer camps. It not only functioned as a pedagogical tool to help with rhythm and arranging, but also heightened the excitement of any song – and really was inspired by Andrea’s interest to instantaneously make a party-like atmosphere, any where, any time, without instruments, but through the body alone!

In the spring of 2019, she was honoured to lead workshops on body percussion at the Ontario Womyn’s Drum Camp. In prep to do so, she started hosting informal body percussion sessions with adults at the MusiCamp studio. These eventually evolved to online workshops in 2020, but…

Since body percussion can be done, outside, and in a socially-distanced responsible way, Andrea will be hosting workshops again outside in Toronto’s West End as soon as the stay at home order lightens. Visit back for more dates and/or let us know if you are interested.

Body Percussion Festival 2018

Body Percussion from our kids’ summer camps

2021 WINTER BODY PERCUSSION WORKSHOPS

A fun, physically active, movement and rhythm workshop, and a great workout for the brain…


SUNDAY FEBRUARY 7 at 1 PM EST

with the Ontario Womyn’s Winter Drum Camp

AND EVERY OTHER TUESDAY 7-7:45ish PM EST on ZOOM!!
$10-15 for employed, PWYC for underemployed
(per Tuesday class)

Sign up with our PAY PAL link or use our Contact Us Page for more info.

Participants in this workshop will be introduced to cool rhythms that can be performed with the body and voice. This is a physically active music workshop, where layers of rhythm are overlapped to make some serious groove. The singing component involves vocalizing rhythms as well as singing songs and riffs, sometimes in harmony. Participants will come out with a stronger sense of rhythm and the pure joy of making music solely your body.

Starting with simple patterns and building upon them, the workshops present material to accommodate varying skills. Those who are more adept are given more challenging rhythms to layer on top of a basic rhythm. Alternatively, those challenged with the more demanding rhythms can practice holding the simpler rhythmic pattern. Vocals, like singing or vocalizing rhythms, are another layer that can be added. A component of drilling certain movements/rhythms will allow some room for individual variation, giving the student more of a chance to express individuality, which in turn makes it more interesting and musically alive!

From 2020 Virtual Drum Camp

Around the spring of 2014, MusiCamp’s director and founder, Andrea Kuzmich, started exploring ways to use body percussion in our kid’s summer camps. It not only functioned as a pedagogical tool to help with rhythm and arranging, but also heightened the excitement of any song – and really was inspired by Andrea’s interest to instantaneously make a party-like atmosphere, any where, any time, without instruments, but through the body alone!

In the spring of 2019, she was honoured to lead workshops on body percussion at the Ontario Womyn’s Drum Camp. In prep to do so, she started hosting informal body percussion sessions with adults at the MusiCamp studio. These eventually evolved to online workshops in 2020, but…

Since body percussion can be done, outside, and in a socially-distanced responsible way, Andrea will be hosting workshops again outside in Toronto’s West End as soon as the stay at home order lightens. Visit back for more dates and/or let us know if you are interested.

Body Percussion Festival 2018

Body Percussion from our kids’ summer camps

Georgian Singing Workshop Online?!?

Starting February 6!

ONLINE WORKSHOPS via ZOOM
SATURDAYS 2-4 pm EST (7 pm GMT)
Starting February 6th, and
EVERY OTHER SATURDAY AFTER

$20-30 for employed; pwyc for underemployed.

Questions?
A song requests?
Or want to sign up?
Drop us a line or click the PAY PAL button (make sure to enter your email address) and we’ll send you the zoom link.

MusiCamp’s most popular activity is running Georgian singing workshops. We usually run singing workshops in the fall, winter and spring. Our last one started late February 2020 – and after only 2 sessions, the workshop got hijacked by COVID 19 and the new social-distancing measures. Somehow, we transferred these harmony singing workshops to ZOOM and as you can see from the image posted above or the videos below, we were all singing together and, in some inexplicable way, it worked!! Here’s what a few of our participants have to say about it:

Thank you for a wonderful workshop and an opportunity to learn from artists with such integrity, talent and hospitality… The workshops are well structured, easy to follow and very enjoyable. – Merey Ismailova

An enjoyable sharing of interesting songs, singing and music. With a smiley side of open hearts and kindred spirits. – Jan Knoppers

If you want to learn more about how we teach harmonized singing online, please read on. 


VIDEO OF ONLINE GROUP SINGING

HOW DOES SINGING HARMONIES WORK ONLINE?!


The short answer: it doesn’t. There will always be some kind of latency, even with the fastest internet speeds and the most advanced technology.

What makes it work for us is the fact that we are a singing family and have enough people in our household to sing all the harmonies – all three voices are covered on our end. The ZOOM participants actually sing along with us but they mute their mics so that their voices don’t lag and upset the musical form, as you can see in the videos.


VIDEOS OF TEACHING

WORKING ONE-ON-ONE


Like in our studio, we teach the parts individually (see the video above). Participants’ mics still need to be muted for this. But there are times when mics are turned on, so we can have conversations, make a toast (once in a while only), or work one-on-one with individuals to ensure the vocal line is correct, or even work on technique. We actually had a great session a few weeks back working on some distinctive timbral issues and inflections with krimanchuli, a yodelling style in Georgian polyphony.
VIDEO WORKING ONE ON ONE

TEACHING KRIMANCHULI  (Note: audio quality is poor due to the wrong mic settings).

SING-ALONG FEATURE


We even offer the play-along or sing-along feature (trio minus one voice) so that participants can test themselves, make sure they can sing their part alone, and sort of feel what it’s like to fit their voice into the trio. In the video below, the participants can practice the top voice independence with the bass and middle being sung by the workshop leaders.

SING ALONG: TRIO MINUS ONE


WORKSHOPS WILL START AGAIN FEBRUARY 6
Suggested $20-30 for employed; PWYC for under employed

Let us know you are interested through our Contact Us Page or click on the PAY PAL button (make sure to enter you email address) and we’ll send you instructions for installing and running ZOOM and setting up your microphone up to work with musical content (rather than spoken content).

In the meantime, stay safe and healthy and wash your spirit often with music ;) !!

HAPPY HEALTHY & CREATIVE 2021

HAPPY HEALTHY & CREATIVE 2021

We at MusiCamp want to wish you the best for the new year and hope your 2021 is filled with happiness and health. 2020 has been one of the most challenging year for so many and while I know some people are still ambivalent to what 2021 will bring, we remain hopeful – at least hopeful for more music and creativity!
Have a look at what MusiCamp has in store…

UPDATES

 

 

FESTIVE SPIRIT TO SHARE


With the spirit that Christmas carols are all about celebrating rebirth and renewal, we’re sharing these downloads of carols, released only last week and and featuring the fabulous percussion of Jaash Singh.


GEORGIAN SINGING ONLINE, STARTING AGAIN!


Starting up again mid-late January, our singing family will be zooming with you, providing all 3-voices to teach Georgian songs. Look for updates on our page.

 


OUTDOOR BODY PERCUSSION BODY MUSIC


For West End Toronto folks: free or pwyc, outdoor, socially distanced, body percussion workshops in January. Starting Tuesday January 5 2-3pm at Christie and Bloor. Beginner/intermediate level. Learn more here.

 



WINTER VIRTUAL WOMYN’S DRUM CAMP

February 5-7, MusiCamp’s Andrea Kuzmich will be one of many facilitators at this winter camp for women, which features workshops on drumming, kirtan, dance, sound healing and more
Free/pwyc event.
Click here to register.

 

ORI SHALVA IN THE PARK


While we recorded this in August, it was only released last month and features excellent production quality by Labyrinth Ontario, which also produced a number of other exceptional performances and interviews with traditional musicians in Toronto. Hope you get a chance to check them all out.

 

FESTIVE SPIRIT TO SHARE

 

hoping to keep spirits up, we’re sharing this free download

Thanks to Jaash Singh on cajon and darbuka for his generosity and inspiration. Also thanks to Stephanie Woloshyn for inspiring the partnership between Jaash and me. 

 
It’s been a challenging season for many. We at MusiCamp had our challenges too, making it harder to share these musical offerings in a more timely way. However, we are of the belief that the festive mood should carry on past the major holiday marks, that we may celebrate not only how the days are  getting longer, or that the earth will sprout again after going through the necessary winter renewal, but also that there is now so much hope with managing the covid pandemic and that we will overcome the challenges together. Please enjoy this tracks with this spirit in mind. 
WISHING YOU AND YOURS, PEACE AND JOY! 

please also enjoy some seasonal videos below…
JINGLE BELLS
MARRY HAD A BABY
WHAT CHILD IS THIS

 

VIRTUAL SUMMER CAMP FOR KIDS!!

SUMMER MUSICAMP ONLINE WORKSHOPS FOR KIDS!
AUGUST 17-21 2020 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM

REGISTER HERE or CONTACT US FOR MORE INFO

 
We have a great series of workshops inspired by our Composition and Song Camp, which include body percussion, exploring songs, and composition and songwriting. At the end of the week, workshop participants will have developed new repertoire and new skills in music making. For the song and composition workshops, we’ll compile a video of performances of our campers’ work from the week and send it to parents and their kids so they can share their musical work with family and friends.

All the camps will be led by MusiCamp’s Andrea Kuzmich, who has been successfully hosting online workshops in Georgian Singing and Body Percussion since April. To make it more real, more musically interactive and more fun, Andrea’s 12-year-old son will be joining her!

Parents can sign kids up for the full day of camp (all three workshops) for $275 or can sign up for individual workshops (prices listed below). All camps are run on Zoom. For more information please visit our contact us page.
 

Andrea & son, 2017 Body Percussion Festival, Harboufront Centre, Toronto. Click to view.

BODY PERCUSSION BODY MUSIC WORKSHOP
Ages 8-14; class size unlimited
Mon-Fri 9:30-10:30 AM $65
REGISTER HERE

A fun, physically active, movement and rhythm workshop, and a great workout for the brain!
Participants in this workshop will be introduced to cool rhythms that can be performed with the body and voice. Starting with simple patterns and building upon them, the workshops present material to accommodate varying skills.

 

A sample of songs from past camps. Click to view.

EXPLORING SONGS WORKSHOP
ages 9-14; class size limited to 10 participants
Mon-Fri 11:00-12:00 AM $85
REGISTER HERE

Kids will learn a load of songs from a vast array of styles and genres. Some are rhythm based, some ancient; some new music, other contemporary pop; some may involve body percussion, others chordal accompaniment.
Starting with basic rhythmic chants and work songs and progressing to 3 and 4 chord songs, we’ll explore the makeup of a song and naturalize concepts of rhythm, tonality, scale, the pentatonic scale, chords and harmony.
A video compilation of the songs learned/performed will be sent to participants and their parents at the end of the week.

 

COMPOSITION AND SONGWRITING WORKSHOP
ages 10-14; limited to 8 participants
Mon-Fri 1:30-3:30 PM $175
REGISTER HERE

Have a song you want to sing? A story you want to tell? This series will help the aspiring songwriters and singers put their ideas to music.
Through fun and practical songwriting exercise, participants are introduced to aspects of songwriting, like hooks, riffs, harmony, and rhythmic accompaniment, chorus-verse format, basic chord progressions, intros and outros, rhyming and storytelling – useful skills/review for even the more experienced song-writers.
A video compilation of all the original compositions will be sent to participants and their parents at the end of the week.
Note: this series builds off of the songs and concepts we learned in Exploring Songs; it is highly recommended your child enrol in the Exploring Songs workshop as well.

Song writing exercises and performances. Click to view.

 

ONLINE BODY PERCUSSION/MUSIC WORKSHOPS

A fun, physically active, movement and rhythm workshop, and a great workout for the brain…


TUESDAYS 7 PM – 7:45 PM EST (GMT-4 hrs) on Zoom

$10-15 for employed, PWYC for underemployed
(per Tuesday class)

Sign up with our PAY PAL link or use our Contact Us Page for more info.
There’s also more info on registering at the bottom of this page. 

Participants in this workshop will be introduced to cool rhythms that can be performed with the body and voice. This is a physically active music workshop, where layers of rhythm are overlapped to make some serious groove. The singing component involves vocalizing rhythms as well as singing songs and riffs, sometimes in harmony. Participants will come out with a stronger sense of rhythm and the pure joy of making music solely your body.

Starting with simple patterns and building upon them, the workshops present material to accommodate varying skills. Those who are more adept are given more challenging rhythms to layer on top of a basic rhythm. Alternatively, those challenged with the more demanding rhythms can practice holding the simpler rhythmic pattern. Vocals, like singing or vocalizing rhythms, are another layer that can be added. A component of drilling certain movements/rhythms will allow some room for individual variation, giving the student more of a chance to express individuality, which in turn makes it more interesting and musically alive!

About 5 years ago, MusiCamp’s director and founder, Andrea Kuzmich, started exploring ways to use body percussion in our kid’s summer camps. It not only functioned as a pedagogical tool to help with rhythm and arranging, but also heightened the excitement of any song – and really was inspired by Andrea’s interest to instantaneously make a party-like atmosphere, any where, any time, without instruments, but through the body alone!

In June 2019 Andrea was honoured to lead workshops on body percussion at the Ontario Womyn’s Drum Camp. Due to Covid-19, the 2020 camp was turned into a Zoom camp, and Andrea lead a Zoom body percussion workshop for over 60 participants. The video below is from that workshop.

With an interest to share and develop these skills more, Andrea will be hosting regular Zoom body percussion workshops on Tuesdays. You can use our Contact Us Page for more info or to arrange payment, or click this PAY PAL link (all sorts of credit cards accepted) to sign up now (make sure you enter your email address) and we’ll send you the zoom link and instructions. 

Body Percussion Festival 2018

ONLINE BODY PERCUSSION/MUSIC WORKSHOPS

Please visit our UPDATED PAGE for this workshop.  

TUESDAYS 7 PM – 7:45 PM EST (GMT-4 hrs) on Zoom

PWYC for underemployed, suggested $10-15 for employed

Sign up with using our PAY PAL link or use our Contact Us Page for more info.


Drawing on her wealth of experience from running innovative music programs at MusiCamp, Andrea Kuzmich will introduce participants in this workshop to cool rhythms that can be performed with the body and voice. This is a physically active music workshop, where layers and layers of rhythm are overlapped to make some serious groove. The singing component involves vocalizing rhythms as well as singing songs and riffs, sometimes in harmony. Participants will come out with a stronger sense of rhythm and the exceptional experience of creating music together. The material will be presented to accommodate varying skill levels.

Starting with simple patterns and building, the workshops present material to accommodate varying skills. Those who are more adept can be given more challenging rhythms to layer on top of a basic rhythm. Alternatively, those challenged with the more demanding rhythms can practice holding the simpler rhythmic pattern. Vocals, like singing or vocalizing rhythms, are another layer that can be added. A component of drilling certain movements/rhythms will allow some room for individual variation, giving the student more of a chance to express individuality, which in turn may make it more interesting and musically alive!

About 5 years ago, MusiCamp’s director and founder, Andrea Kuzmich, started exploring ways to use body percussion in our kid’s summer camps. It not only functioned as a pedagogical tool to help with rhythm and arranging, but also heightened the excitement of any song – and really was inspired by Andrea’s interest to instantaneously make a party-like atmosphere, any where, any time, without instruments, but through the body alone!

In June 2019 Andrea was honoured to lead workshops on body percussion at the Ontario Womyn’s Drum Camp. Due to Covid-19, the 2020 camp was turned into a Zoom camp, and Andrea lead a Zoom body percussion workshop for over 60 participants.

TO REGISTER
With an interest to share and develop these skills more, Andrea will be hosting more Zoom body percussion workshops. Thursday June 27 is just the first of many. You can use our Contact Us Page for more info or to arrange payment, or click this PAY PAL link (all sorts of credit cards accepted) to sign up now (make sure you enter your email address) and we’ll send you the zoom link and instructions. 

Body Percussion Festival 2018