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Mara! with Martenitsa Choir


Country of origin:

Australia

Type of music generally:

Contemporary folk, ethereal, traditional, world music

Status:

Most recent release, Tra Parole E Silenzio (2009)

See also:

Mara! site

Both Mara! and Martenitsa Choir have other recordings on their own

Comparisons:

Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, Värttinä. Deep Forest and even the Klezmatics on a couple of tracks

Covers/own material:

Own music set to commissioned poems

General comments:

Mara! is a world music ensemble from Australia. The Martenitsa Choir was founded by Mara! lead singer Mara Kiek after she spent 6 months in Bulgaria studying folkloric and choral music. They decided to record a collaborative album after ending a concert in which they had both played separately by playing together. The music has MANY wide and varied styles, but it fuses together quite well. A really interesting group. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Recommended first album:

Sezoni is the only one we've heard

Recordings:

  • Sezoni (1997)
  • Tra Parole E Silenzio (2009)

Sezoni

Release info:

1997—Rufus Records; re-released 1999—Real World Records—7-24384-75732-8

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Mara Kiek—voice, percussion
Llew Kiek—bouzouki
Sandy Evans—soprano & tenor saxes, recorder
Tony Gorman—clarinet, alto sax
Steve Elphick—double bass

Guest artists:

The Martenitsa Choir (Silvia Entcheva, Janet Andrews, Penny Auburn, Claire Brown, Carolina Castillo, Marie Clarke, Alice Cohen, Georgina Crawford, Rhonda Crowe, Bini Cusbert, Linda Dawson, Del Dornan, Jenny Dornan, Arlene Harvey, Solange Kershaw, Penny Laver, Vicky Loomans, Jackie Ludher, Lisa Marie, Michele Morgan, Sally Morris, Meredith Phelps, Meza Rijsdijk, Moya Simpson, Ibi Szentirmay, Michelle Turcsanyi, Rita van Ooi, Jo Wall, Nice Webber, Sigrun Wunram)—vocals

Produced by:

Tony Gorman (exec producer Tim Dunn)

Comments:

The album is a seasonal cycle, and the text is from commissioned poems by Bulgarian poet and Martenitsa Choir advisor Stefan Kozuharov with music by Sandy Evans. The music itself is difficult to describe. You can hear elements of a whole range of different styles including jazz, Celtic, medieval, and stuff from all over eastern Europe. The album is basically traditional though, and these other styles are mostly influences, sometimes subtle flavors, but strong enough to add a really interesting and rich diversity and color to the album. Some instrumental tracks. Probably the most truly "world" world music album I've heard. (JoAnn Whetsell)


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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