Volio is the latest labour of Canadian a cappella folk ensemble Balkan Babes, featuring old favourites familiar to aficionados of Balkan folk music, as well as rare gems from across Eastern Europe and even Western Asia. "Volio," meaning "I loved" in Croatian, showcases the Babes' vocal talents and their loving interpretations of traditional Balkan folk songs. Love, longing, and loss are all represented in the music, which draws on six different cultural traditions: Bulgarian, Croatian, Dalmatian, Georgian, Macedonian, and Ukrainian.
From a humble beginning as a grass-roots community singing group in Victoria, BC, Balkan Babes has evolved into a national award-winning, performance-oriented vocal ensemble. More than just singers, the Babes are a nine-woman collective that is as tight-knit as their harmonies. They share the roles of director and conductor and enjoy the freedom of musical expression and deep connection that come from conducting by consensus. The Babes also connect with the cultures from which their music is drawn through workshops with native speakers and ethno-musicologists who have worked in the field to collect some of the songs represented in the Babes' repertoire.
Over more than a decade singing together, Balkan Babes have gained local recognition singing at festivals, events and concerts throughout Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. In 2008 the Babes stepped onto the national stage as first place winners in the Pan Cultural Traditions category of CBC Radio 2’s biennial amateur choral competition, ‘Choral 2008’. The following year they were invited to participate in Elektra’s International Tapestry of Women’s choirs in Vancouver, BC. The release of their newest CD “Volio” follows the 2008 release of “Divna”, hailed as "an entrancing album of world music from one of [Victoria's] much loved choirs" (John Threlfall, Monday Magazine).