Kitka & Hasmik Harutyunyan in Concert
Gorani: Love Songs and Lullabies to Lost Homelands
Hasmik Harutyunyan is an Armenian folk singer. She is the leading member of the Shoghaken Folk Ensemble and directs the Hayrik Muradyan Traditional Song and Dance Children's Ensemble. The music of the Shoghaken Ensemble is featured on the soundtrack of the film Ararat. Harutyunyan's Armenian Lullabies was recognized by the New York Times as an outstanding world music CD in 2004. With Shoghaken Folk Ensemble, she has performed in Armenia, France (including a 2006 performance at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris), Germany, Estonia, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and the US (including an eighteen-concert 2004 tour and an appearance at the 2002 Folklife Festival as part of the Silk Road project organized by Yo Yo Ma). In autumn 2009, Hasmik performed in concerts in the USA with the Kitka Women's Vocal Ensemble, presenting the music of Komitas, Hayrik Muradyan, and Armenian lullabies, as well as participating in the San Francisco World Music Festival. In 2010, she performed with Shoghaken and gave a workshop on Armenian folk song and dance in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Harutyunyan graduated from the Yerevan State Pedagogical University and the Department of Vocal Music at the Arno Babajanian School of Music, majoring in opera.
Kitka is an American women’s vocal arts ensemble inspired by traditional songs and vocal techniques from Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Founded in 1979 as an offshoot of the Westwind International Folk Ensemble, Kitka began as a grassroots group of amateur singers from diverse ethnic and musical backgrounds who shared a passion for the stunning dissonances, asymmetric rhythms, intricate ornamentation, and resonant strength of traditional Eastern European women’s vocal music. Since its informal beginnings, the group has evolved into an award-winning professional touring ensemble known for its artistry, versatility, and mastery of the demanding techniques of regional vocal styling, as well as for its innovative explorations in new music for female voices.
With an overarching mission of cultivating local and global community through song. Kitka’s activities include an Oakland-based home series of concerts and vocal workshops, leadership of community choirs, regional, national, and international touring, programs in the schools, recording, publication, and broadcast projects, artist residencies, commissioning original works, community service, and adventuresome collaborations. Kitka’s wide-ranging performance, teaching, and recording activities have exposed millions to the haunting beauty of the ensemble’s exquisite and unusual repertoire. With deep ties to Balkan, Slavic and Caucasian lands, Kitka has performed, taught, and conducted cultural exchange activities in Poland, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey, Georgia, and Armenia, as well as in communities throughout the USA, Canada, and beyond.
The ensemble has produced 14 critically acclaimed recordings on the group’s independent Diaphonica label (most recently, Evening Star), songbooks, soundtracks for major motion pictures and independent films, and Kitka and Davka in Concert: Old and New World Jewish Music, a PBS television special.