NPR has created “a list of the greatest albums made by women between 1964 and the present, as an intervention, a remedy, a correction of the historical record and hopefully the start of a new conversation. Compiled by nearly 50 women from across NPR and the public radio system and produced in partnership with Lincoln Center, it rethinks popular music to put women at the center.” Le Mystere des Voix Bulgare’s 1987 Nonesuch LP, which first put them on the radar of the music world, appears in the list at #78.

78. The Bulgarian State Radio & Television Choir
Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares (Nonesuch, 1987)

Spine-tingling, otherworldly beauty is not what the world might have expected from a Soviet-ish group called the Bulgarian State Radio & Television Female Vocal Choir. And yet a string of albums, beginning with an alluringly named 37-minute compilation called Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares (The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices), cracked open a whole sonic world largely unknown beyond the Balkans, full of gorgeous dissonances and fierce, sung-out emotion. Originally released in 1975 by the Swiss ethnomusicologist Marcel Cellier, who ran his own boutique label, the first Mystère album became a hotly sought-after prize among cognoscenti, who dubbed cassette copies for each other. One of those fans was 4AD Records founder Ivo Watts-Russell, who managed to license the material and re-release it in the U.K. in 1986 (and in 1987, Nonesuch did the same in the U.S.). Soon these women from all over Bulgaria became international stars, with their plushly layered, plangent voices weaving together Bulgarian dissonance and Western European-style choral singing. Despite any lyrical context (given that in their U.S. and U.K. versions, these translation-less village songs carried such unrevealing English titles as “Diaphonic Chant”), the music’s emotive power and haunting beauty comes shining through. Anastasia Tsioulcas (NPR Music)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 2/24/2017

Russia’s riot grrrl activists, Pussy Riot, reveal a 9 date West Coast warm-up tour around the SXSW premiere of their psych rock theater production, “REVOLUTION.”

Based on the original novel by Maria Alyokhina, this show tells the story of everyday women gathering to resist the fascist regime of President Vladimir Putin. From their balaclava-clad punk prayer in Saviour Cathedral to their guerilla-style protests in Moscow’s Red Square, the hour long piece reveals the group’s excruciating account of a corrupt trial, years of violent abuse in the Russian prison system, and their never-ending demand for justice in a hostile state. REVOLUTION brings attention to the ever present problems of censorship in the media, violence towards the LGBTQ community, corruption within Russia’s judicial system, and use of tyrannical use of violence within the country’s prison complex.

The roster of performers include Maria Alyokhina herself, Kiryl Kanstantsinau, AWOTT (Asian Women On The Telephone) psycho-punk duo, and VJ Vasily Bogatov.

Directed by Yury Muravitsky and produced by Alexander Cheparukhin, with video footage by Taisia Krugovykh and video art by Katya Sсheglova, this is a one-time world debut.

The evening will end with a conversation with members of the creative team.

Catch Pussy Riot Theatre’s ground-breaking “REVOLUTION” here:

Albuquerque March 13, 14 National Hispanic Cultural Center

Gisele João Headlines First NY Fado Festival

Gisele João, Portugal’s most widely acclaimed fado singer to emerge in this decade, headlined the NY Fado Festival this past weekend at the Schimmel Center. Jon Pareles of the NY Times had this to say:

“From her first song, “Madrugada sem Sono” (“Dawn Without Sleep”), Ms. João summoned a full spectrum of fado’s tempestuous passions, from hushed melancholy to eruptive, rough-edged, tearful peaks to aching resignation. Each of her ballads was its own drama, a white-knuckled journey through seismic emotions.”

Read the full review here.

DakhaBrakha, the extraordinary group from Ukraine, has taken the US by a storm the past few years. Now they have begun touring a special program: their uniquely-DakhaBrakha live soundtrack to accompany the screening of the classic 1930 silent film, “Earth.” Directed by Aleksandr Dovzhenko, it is considered to be one of the most important films of the Soviet era.

Dovzhenko is a master of composition, and the film—with its intense close-ups and the impressive expanses of the landscape—is a passionate tribute to the countryside, to nature, and to the people that work on it. DakhaBrakha’s mix of unruly ancient song and contemporary rhythms transforms Dovzhenko’s striking images into an exhilarating live experience.