SONG SCAPING RESIDENCY

SONG SCAPING is a four month residency at the Tranzac Club of workshops and performances by Andrea Kuzmich, intersecting traditional vocal polyphony, improvisation, and song. The Tranzac Club is located at 292 Brunswick Ave (just S of Bloor St).

THU JAN 19 7-9 PM
COLLIDING WITH KOLIADA

Koliada refers to a Slavic winter carolling tradition, thick in pagan references and gratitude, the practice usually starts in December can continue well into February – singing away those dark and cold winter nights!

7:00-8:15 PM Vocal Workshop learning winter carols
8:30-9:00 PM Performance of Koliada inspired repertoire with a small band AND YOU!!

(Here’s a little audio sample of what you may hear and sing along with)

The workshop will teach 2-3 traditional polyphonic Ukrainian winter carols. The performance then demonstrates how these songs and others are “scaped” into pieces arranged for a small band, consisting of: Andrea Kuzmich on voice & guitar; Alina Kuzma voice; Jaash Singh percussion; Jim Bish tenor sax; Michael Herring on bass; special guests from Kosa Koliadanyky AND YOU!!

SAT FEB 25 5-7 PM
UNCONVENTIONAL LOVE

UNCONVENTIONAL LOVE…will feature 2-3 singer/songwriters presenting their original compositions and arrangements that challenge the conventional love ballad, and offer new “scapes” of the love song.

More info to come…

THU MAR 16 7-9 PM
SPRINGING CAROLS

Vesninanky are Ukrainian spring carols. Many of these are ritualistic and, with their use of interesting vocal techniques and powerful dissonance, represent some of the most archaic layer of Ukrainian polyphony.

7:00-8:15 PM Vocal Workshop learning Vesnyanky (spring carols)
8:30-9:00 PM Performance of vesnyanky-inspired repertoire with a small band AND YOU!! …….more details to come…

SAT APRIL 22 5-7 PM
SCAPING THROUGH TRADITIONAL SONGS

On this last date, the workshop will focus on vocal improvisation, covering some sounding and improv techniques, and how they can be used in rearrangements of traditional polyphonic songs. The performance will feature mostly a capella arrangements of Ukrainian and Georgian songs, including the Sound Stepping Suite, commissioned by Urban Vessel for riverMouth on the Echoes app.

5:00-6:15 PM Vocal Workshop
6:30-7:00 PM Performance with participation from YOU!!

more details to come…

ALL WORKSHOPS AND PERFORMANCES ARE PWYC & TAKE PLACE AT:

THE TRANZAC CLUB, 292 BRUNSWICK AVE (just South of Bloor in Toronto).

KOLIADA: Ukrainian Community Carolling Group

Koliada is nearly upon us! 

Not unlike the needs of so many people & cultures at this time of year, when the weather gets cold and the nights so long, KOLIADA is an occasion to come together, connect, and make the darkened cold season pass quickly trough celebration and song.

With less than 2 weeks left, our Koliada rehearsals are now closed. Over the past 3 weeks we have accumulated a great group of singers but now we now have to fine tune our style and learn the last set of songs.

Starting Dec 27, we are unable to accommodate guests into our rehearsals.

We are, however, still accepting invitations to visit houses for January 7th – so if you would like Kosa Kolektiv’s Koliada carollers to visit your home, please contact kosa.kolektiv@gmail.com.

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WORKSHOPS, REHEARSALS & CAROLLING

WORKSHOP SUNDAY DEC 11 2:30 – 4:30 PM

LOCATION CHANGE: the Belarus Orthodox Church, 524 St Clarens Ave. By donation. Suggested $20-30. Follow the link above to get to the FB event.
PLEASE REGISTER VIA kosa.kolektiv@gmail.com.

REHEARSALS!!!

WEDNESADYS 7-9 PM

BELARUS ORTHODOX CHURCH,

524 St Clarens Ave, just over a block north of Bloor and one block east of Lansdowne. Closest TTC is Lansdowne station.

CAROLLING JANUARY 7

The big carolling event is on January 7, Orthodox Christmas. We will be traveling in different groups, by car, visiting homes around the GTA. Make sure to book this day off for koliada!

There will likely be more opportunities to perform in December and January, and possibly additional rehearsals when needed to accommodate the needs of the group and individual singers.

REPERTOIRE, RESOURCES & PRACTICE

Here is our KOSA KOLIADA REPERTOIRE google doc for 2022-2023!!

You will find lyrics in Ukrainian, with transliterations, rough translations and audio file references. So, you can start listening and practicing immediately!! Also note that we will be updating the doc and adding more sound files and/or songs.

Some of the audio references even have sing-a-long files. Please use HEADPHONES with the singalong files. The RIGHT CHANNEL features a solo voice and the LEFT CHANNEL all the other voices. To learn, just listen to the RIGHT CHANNEL. To practice, just listen to the LEFT CHANNEL and add your own voice into the mix. Please also be aware, these files are very rough sketches to help learn the song & it’s highly recommended to practice/study from the original sound files as well.

NOTE: it is important that singers are able to sing harmonies and not just the main melody or top voice. The musical director and other seasoned singers will help develop the group’s harmony-singing skills, as well the authentic Ukrainian singing quality known as ridnyj holos. And for those who are not Ukrainian-speaking, don’t worry, we will also help with pronunciation. If you have any questions about your interest and desire to participate, please reach out to us through the contact form below.

OTHERS ROLES

Not a harmony singer but still want to take part? There are other ways you can volunteer. Please reach out to us using the form below.

CONTACT US ABOUT KOLIADA!





Learn UKRAINIAN songs

SONGS – lyrics, audio, sing-along files

SONG LYRICSSAMPLE AUDIOLEARNING RESOURCES: e.g., lyric practice, sing-a-long files (see note below)

Oj U Kievi (hrayje more) || Kalendar || Sing-along-Files – use headphones
Oj Rodyno
|| Kalendar || Sing-Along Files – use headphones
Oj Na Hori / Shuryata || Рожаниця || Sing-along-Files – use headphones
Siohodni Ivana Kupala || Рожаниця || to be updated soon
Tuman Yarom || Youtube || Sing-Along Files – use headphones
Herasym || Bozychi || Sing Along files – use headphones
Mnohaya lita || unknown || to be updated soon
Georgian Dance Song || Ori Shalva || partial score in the song-lyrics Link
Oj Kupalo Rozkupalo||Kosa||to be updated soon

NOTE: Use HEADPHONES with the singalong files. The RIGHT CHANNEL features a solo voice and the LEFT CHANNEL all the other voices. To learn, just listen to the RIGHT CHANNEL. To practice, just listen to the LEFT CHANNEL and add your own voice into the mix. Please also be aware, these files are very rough sketches to help learn the song & it’s highly recommended to practice/study from the original sound files as well.

SING WITH US!

Thursday June 2 ~ 7:00 – 8:30 PM @ Shevchenko Museum – workshopom

Friday June 3 ~ 7:00 – 8:30 PM @ MusiCamp Garden

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

Saturday Jun 25 ~ early afternoon 1:00 – 2:30 PM @ MusiCamp Garden

Canada Day July 1 ~ 11 am meet at 1879 Bloor Street West / 12 pm performance for Canada Day picnic

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.

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.

MusiCamp at Do West Fest 2022!

TimeProgram
1:30 PMUkrainian Village Dance Workshop
2:30 PMSing With Ukraine – sing with us
2:50 PMDancing in All Direction – sneak peek for 4 pm
3:00 PMWest African Drum Workshop
4:00 PMDancing in All Direction Dance Workshop
4:45 PMSing With Ukraine – sing with us

1:30 pm Dance Workshop:

Ukrainian Village Dance workshop Featuring Live Music!

2:30 & 4:45 pm Sing With Ukraine.

Come to our workshops – 7pm Thursdays May 26/Jun 2 at Shevchenko Museum (on Bloor just west of Dundas West); and Saturday 10:30 am May 28 at MusiCamp’s backyard. Or join along in our sing-a-long sections on June 4. Click here for more info and to have a listen to and even learn some songs. And more about Sing With Ukraine here.

2:45 pm Dance performance.

4:00 pm Dance Workshop:

Dancing In All Directions Dance Workshop – blending urban & indigenous dance movements to connect mind, body, spirit & emotion.

Fine tune your moves with a lead-up workshop at Lula Lounge Monday May 30 7-8 pm.

3:00 pm West African Drum Workshop:

With Master Drummer Amadou Kienou!! We’ll have drums but feel free to bring your own. Last time someone joined in from their balcony in the neighbouring apartment building!

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…  

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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.

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.

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!