Voices of Life

Voices of Life

by Bulgarian Women's Choir
     
 
Cloistered for hundreds of years by the isolating grip of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Byzantine emperors, the Ottoman-Turks, and most recently, the Soviet Union, Bulgarian choral music remained virtually unknown to Western ears until the end of the 20th century. Angelite, or the Bulgarian Women's Choir, is that stark music's premier female ensemble, rendering its

Overview

Cloistered for hundreds of years by the isolating grip of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Byzantine emperors, the Ottoman-Turks, and most recently, the Soviet Union, Bulgarian choral music remained virtually unknown to Western ears until the end of the 20th century. Angelite, or the Bulgarian Women's Choir, is that stark music's premier female ensemble, rendering its pungent ancient Thracian harmonies to spellbinding effect on Voices of Life. The compositions themselves are in fact contemporary, though they count heavily on centuries-old folk melodies and Pythagorean tunings. One hardly needs explicit explanation of the themes they address, as the radiant joy of marriage or devastating loss of death are readily apparent in the singing itself. Indeed, the choir's startling dynamics and acrid quarter tone flourishes are at once a quickening and mesmerizing listen. "Pilentze Pee (A Little Bird Is Singing)" contrasts brief, strident octave passages with sweeping "barbershop" thirds built to dizzying heights. Although the women are mostly unaccompanied, "Utopia" features the slick atmospherics of Tony Levin on Chapman stick and Eddie Jobson on electric violin. Looking for the voice of an angel? Forget about Charlotte Church and take a trip back to these pastoral soundscapes once tread by Orpheus.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Chris Nickson
The West became aware of the wonderful Bulgarian female choirs through La Mystere des Voix Bulgaires. This is, perhaps, the next step. Produced by former Roxy Music keyboard player Eddie Jobson, this explores the unique harmonies and overtone singing of the voices. In many ways, the singers represent the crossroads between West and East and between ancient and modern in a music that often seems timeless, especially on tracks like "Jano, Hubavo Jano," with its variant pitch intonation. But this isn't just folk music; a lot of the pieces come from contemporary classical composers, like Ivan Spassov's "Mechmetio," with its startling dissonances that work beautifully. Jobson himself has three tracks on the album (much of which was recorded in European cathedrals), with "Utopia" featuring the only non-vocal instrumentation on the record -- Jobson's violin and Tony Levin's Chapman stick. But understandably, this is about the voices and the way the human voice can sound. There's an eerie, staggering beauty about the singing, whether in the folk or classical material that pulls the listener into another, less-familiar world and makes this music a universal of human emotion.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/10/2000
Label:
Globe Music Media
UPC:
0807070200022
catalogNumber:
2002

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bulgarian Women's Choir   Primary Artist
Eddie Jobson   Electric Violin
Tony Levin   Chapman Stick
Vania Moneva   Conductor
Radka Alexova   Soloist
Tanja Andreeva   Choir Director
Dora Hristova   Conductor

Technical Credits

Eddie Jobson   Engineer,Remixing,Art Direction
Rodney Jones   Engineer
Mikhail Alperin   Engineer
Vladimir Ivanoff   Engineer
Jan Erik Kongshaug   Engineer
Kevin Quinn   Art Direction
Jochen Scheffter   Engineer
Mike Cox   Engineer
Jorg Siemer   Engineer
Andy High   Engineer
Todor Letchev   Engineer

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