In 2011 I traveled to Bulgaria to hear, in the flesh, a particular vocal music that had, like the ocean spray and passing sun lights, made me feel ALIVE, since I was a child. During my visit, I was rattled to the core, sent in orbit of myself and brought home to a certainty… that my path runs here!
I returned to Aotearoa/NZ to complete my music degree at Auckland University, in the liberal and stimulating Jazz Dep. My graduation recital presented explorations and extrapolations of Bulgarian folk song, both in traditional form and in the highly arranged obrabokti of the socialist era, but all with an Aotearoa/NZ improvisation twist… Odd-meters, close harmony and that particular coppery tone, thrilled our acapella formation, where all musical roles where carried by female voice.
I had been exploring arrangements of Balkan song for several years in a joyous fashion, with the community choir I ran World of Voice Choir, but it was with the distilled vessel of my acapella trio ACAPOLLiNATiONS that things really began to feel connected…
In 2014-2015 I went to Bulgaria to complete a Folklore Singing Specialization Diploma at the AMDFA in Plovdiv, this with the serendipitous support of the University of Auckland, and the many kind folk who donated to my fundraising campaign!
Far from being the end, it turned out it was only the beginning… of a love affair with this beautiful country, language and music. I have since then, been based there, sharing some of my stories by blog, others by composition. Several records are on their way!