SLAVEYA - from the Bulgarian word for nightingale - is a women's vocal ensemble, incorporated as a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to the traditional music of the Balkans and neighboring regions of Eastern Europe. Founded by former members of the Yale Slavic Chorus, Slaveya has been an active member of the folk music and dance community in the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area for more than 25 years. The members of Slaveya are American women who are united in their love of women's traditional song.
Slaveya's repertoire of traditional unaccompanied vocal music is drawn primarily from the vocal heritage of Bulgaria, Macedonia, Bosnia, Croatia, Serbia, Russia, Ukraine and the Republic of Georgia. Customarily sung by women, the lyrics reflect the constants of village life: the harvest, war and its heroes (folk and real), matchmaking, flirtation, loves lost and found, birth and death. Women sing while sowing and harvesting in the fields, at "working bees" in the home, and while participating in community life at village dances, weddings, and religious and seasonal celebrations. In addition to interpreting folk songs, Slaveya sings sacred vocal music from the Slavonic and Georgian Orthodox traditions.
From 2003 through 2007, Slaveya studied under Artistic Director Tatiana Sarbinska, an internationally recognized performer and teacher in Bulgaria and the United States. In 2008, a Slaveya member travelled to the Republic of Georgia to study traditional polyphony with Zedashe, a mixed vocal ensemble based in Sighnaghi.
Performance highlights include:
* Art After Hours series at the Mansion at Strathmore
* The Wammies (Washington Area Music Awards) at the Strathmore Music Center
* Kennedy Center Millennium Stage
* Library of Congress Capital Roots concert series (with Tatiana Sarbinska)
* Maryland Renaissance Festival
* Washington Folk Festival
* Baltimore Folk Music Association Folk Festival
* Bulgarian tour, performing in Plovdiv, Blagoevgrad, and at the 9th National Festival of Bulgarian Folklore in Koprivshtitsa.
Slaveya was nominated for a 2006 "Wammie" award as Outstanding World Music Group by the Washington Area Music Association. Slaveya’s latest recording, "On the Village Square: Songs from the Balkans and Beyond," was released in 2008 and was nominated as Outstanding A Cappella Recording.