CULTURE

Polyphonic songs from the Balkans in the city

The cathartic experience of polyphonic song, an old, intensely interpreted, vocal form, linked with a tradition from the villages and mountain ranges of the Balkans, has managed to touch souls in urban centers far from the form’s customary locale. This Saturday night some of the polyphonic form’s more noted practitioners, many of them black-clad elderly women straight from Balkan villages, will be visiting the capital for a performance at the Petras Theater in Petroupolis, western Athens. The event, organized by Apeiros, a non-profit organization, has drawn on polyphonic groups from Greece, Albania and Serbia, as well as the Greek-speaking community of southern Italy. The cast includes female vocal groups from Loupsiko in the Konitsa region and from Polytsani in Ano Pogonio, which will make debut performances in Athens. Albania will be represented by a renowned polyphonic group from Premeti to be instrumentally accompanied by the gaida – a bagpipe instrument – and other traditional wind instruments; an Albanian expatriate group, Lot Kurbeti, as well as Arian Shehu from Gjirokaster. Serbia will be represented by a female vocal ensemble, MOBA, based in Belgrade, while the Greek-speaking community from southern Italy will be represented by Asteria, whose act features dancing to tarantellas, accompanied by percussion. This worthwhile gathering of vocalists and musicians, languages and people, will conclude with celebrations that bid farewell to the season of spring. For further information, tel 210.331.0919.