UKRAINIAN singing workshops

WORKSHOPS

All are welcome, pay-what-you-can, no one will be turned away who cannot pay. Money raised for the deeply discounted venue costs and humanitarian aid for Ukraine.

Thursday May 12 ~ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm @ Shevchenko Museum

Saturday May 14 ~ 3:00 pm- 4:30 pm @ MusiCamp’s garden

Thursday May 19 ~ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm @ Shevchenko Museum

Saturday May 21 ~ 3:00 pm- 4:30 pm @ MusiCamp’s garden

Thursday May 26 ~ 7 pm – 8:30 pm @ Shevchenko Museum

Saturday May 28 ~ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm @ MusiCamp garden

Thursday June 2 ~ 7:00 – 8:30 PM @ tbd

INDOOR WORKSHOPS are at The Shevchenko Museum 1604 Bloor St W (a few blocks west of Dundas West Station). OUTDOOR WORKSHOPS are at MusiCamp’s home at 11 Cobourg Ave (just behind Dufferin mall). For outdoor workshops, please remember to bring a sun hat if you need it! NOTE: we do recommend participants have some experience with singing harmonies.

SONGS – AUDIO – RESOURCES

UKRAINIAN SINGING WORKSHOP DOC:

We will keep updating our resources to include other songs and tools to help learn songs, including audio of the individual song parts. In the meantime please check out the google doc below, which has all the lyrics and links to audio or video of the songs.

PERFORMANCES

SATURDAY JUNE 4 ~ 2:30 pm & 4:45 pm @ THE DO WEST FEST, the community stage

CANADA DAY JULY 1 ~ time tbd @ Parkdale-High Park MP Canada Day picnic in High Park

MORE ABOUT THIS PROJECT

In at attempt to recognize the breadth of Ukrainian culture, this project is a hopeful start to popularize traditional Ukrainian songs and create a larger caring singing community of Ukrainian songs in Toronto. Check out our workshops dates below. Wondering what we’ll be learning, have a look at our song document and listen the embedded links for each song.

The project is an extension of Sing with Ukraine, which is a grassroots effort by Toronto-based Eastern European artists, started after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb 24th 2022. Click the links to learn more about Sing with Ukraine and Artists With Ukraine.

Below are some videos from a Ukrainian singing workshop at Afro Latino Dance as part of Dance Together Festival to raise funds for humanitarian aid in Ukraine.

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

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 ;) !!

Ori Shalva & co. (aka the Makharashvili Family)

Over the centuries family ensemble singing has played a significant role in keeping traditional Georgian polyphonic singing alive, and true to this preserving nature, Ori Shalva, aka the Makharashvili family, continues this practice despite being relocated halfway around the world from the well springs of this UNESCO proclaimed intangible heritage of humanity. While both Shalva Makharashvili and Andrea Kuzmich are professional musicians, the Makharashvili family unit started performing in private settings for marked family and community calendric events. As the children aged and developed more skills and repertoire, the family found themselves in more performance opportunities, whether they be in cameo appearances on stages in Toronto (see the video below from 2010), NY and Georgia, or in more recent features such as Harbourfront’s Body Percussion Festival (see video below), Toronto’s Annual Black Out Party 2018, or Toronto’s First Georgian Cultural festival, Sept 30 2018. At the end of 2019, Ori Shalva also recorded for the television show “Sounds of Canada” to represent traditional Georgian polyphony among the talent of Canada’s mosaic cultural communities. In 2020, they were featured in a number of online showcases (URGNT.CA, Community Folk Art Council, Labyrinth Ontario, etc) and were hosting Georgian Singing Workshops online.


By the way, Shalva is a traditional Georgian name and is the name of two of the members of the ensemble. Ori means 2 – which is why we call the group Ori Shalva & co.

Another side note: an off-shoot of Ori-Shalva is Gabo’s Trio.

Have a look at some videos over the years: teaching online, on stage (at Small World Music and Harbourfront Centre), in Georgia (with Basiani Ensemble at a grape harvesting festival)  and in Tobermory. Also have a read to learn more about Shalva or Andrea’s professional work.

Honoured that ORI SHALVA is part of BLOK-DOWN, an Eastern European concert/interview series. And feature on the first video, released March 31st! Great film work, interviewing and capturing the spirit of Georgian folk songs. Recorded January 2022 in Toronto.

Ori Shalva sings Dzabrale and part of “Sounds of Canada” 2019


Ori Shalva has been leading online singing workshops since April 2020

Ori Shalva at the Body Percussion Festival, Harboufront Centre, Toronto 2017

Maybe one of our first professional performances as a family, Small World Music Festival, Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, 2010.

SHALVA MAKHARASHVILI, a Georgian native, has been performing the music of his homeland for over 35 years. Starting with the panduri (a 3-stringed indigenous lute) at the age of 4, his musical education included training in voice, tradition and classical choral repertoire, classical guitar, and traditional dance. As a young man he toured Georgia and the former Soviet Union in a number of choirs as featured soloist and instrumentalist (panduri and guitar player). Besides panduri, Shalva plays changi (harp), chonguri (a 4-stringed lute) and chiboni (bagpipes). Since his immigration to Toronto he has received a number of awards and featured on CBC radio. He was a soloist in and used to lead the community choir Darbazi and sings with his professional trio ZARI as well as numerous ad hoc groups within the Georgian community. He also chants numerous times per week in services for the Georgian Orthodox Church. He maintains close ties with the traditional singing community in Georgia, where he is highly respected as a singer as well as for his work in disseminating Georgian

ANDREA KUZMICH is an award winning singer, a teacher, an ethnomusicologist and music facilitator. Her eclectic musical activities defy her conventional classical beginnings where by the age of 16 she was a cellist with the McMaster Symphony and had sung in four different Canadian Opera Company productions. Andrea has also: sung in a Congolese Gospel Choir; studied Balkan folk music, South Indian singing and drumming, and West African drumming; performed in Big Bands, small jazz combos, as well as contemporary new music ensembles; taken a leading role in the practice of ridnyj holos (Ukrainian traditional singing) in Canada through Kosa Kolektiv and Kalendar (formerly KalynDar); become one of Canada’s foremost practitioners and academics of Georgian polyphony; sings in the professional Georgian trio ZARI and was also a lead soloist in the community choir DARBAZI. Inspired by this diversity, she started MusiCamp in 2013, a Toronto studio that hosts workshops, kids camps and facilitates musical events. She can be heard on Veryan Weston’s “Make” (2017); Tanya Tagaq’s “Retribution” (2016); DoVira’s “DoVira” (2016); Kalendar’s “Sichen” (2016); ZARI’s “ZARI” (2008); Whitney’s Smith Big Steam Band’s “Swing’s Mistress” (1998); movie soundtrack “The Witch” (2015); documentary soundtrack “What is Love” (2016), among others.

When in Georgia. Ori Shalva always sing with friends. Here, they are singing a double choir travelling song with Basian, at a grape harvest festival.

Singing for leisure in beautiful Tobermory!