Kitka Premieres New Folksongs, 3/8-10

Kitka Premieres New Folksongs, 3/8-10

The Bay Area's trailblazing and internationally acclaimed women's vocal ensemble, Kitka, is pleased to announce New Folksongs from Within, an original program featuring two world premieres conceived and created for the ensemble by two of Kitka's own vocalists, Janet Kutulas and Elizabeth Setzer. Kutulas's Iron Shoes is centered around the heroines of three separate Eastern European fairytales. Iron Shoes will be presented as a concert version of what will eventually be a fully-staged folk opera. Setzer's Apple Blossoms and Brine is a song cycle about the timeless experiences of love and heartbreak, loss and celebration. New Folksongs from Within takes place at Oakland's intimate new concert venue, the Piedmont Piano Company in Oakland, California, Friday, March 8 through Sunday, March 10, 2013.

New Folksongs from Within is a departure from Kitka's decades-long practice of performing the works of others -- folk songs discovered on archival recordings or research trips abroad; songs suggested to the ensemble from collaborators, mentors, and audience members; and commissioned works for Kitka's voices by established and emerging composers including David Lang, Chen Yi, Pauline Oliveros, Mariana Sadovska, Dan Cantrell, Richard Einhorn, and Meredith Monk. This March, however, Kitka will perform new works created "from within" the ranks of the ensemble.

"For so many reasons this is a tremendous opportunity for Elizabeth [Setzer] and myself," says Kitka music director emeritus Kutulas. "We've each been given the chance to use our insider's knowledge of the group to develop works which make use of the powerful and versatile female voices of our ensemble."

Setzer adds, "Because Kitka performs music from so many places, it has created a sonic language which is a composite unique to the ensemble. Kitka has undertaken a number of projects that have infused our unique sound and style into completely different genres. Currently, the group has been developing my a cappella arrangement of Joni Mitchell's song 'Blue' as part of the UnderCover Presents Joni Mitchell's Blue project, which will receive encore performances on January 21 and 22 at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, CA. In my own song cycle written for New Folksongs I'm aiming to do something similar -- to marry the range of unusual harmonies, modal textures, rhythms, and ornamentation that Kitka specializes in to a new purpose. And because the songs are personal, I've written them in the language I know best, English."

"It's satisfying to craft something that's new and 'cutting-edge' from the very old elements of traditional folksong," continues Kutulas. "It's like composing with a time machine."

For more information about New Folksongs from Within, including stories, audio samples, and high-resolution images, visit

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