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June 1998

Ensemble Mzetamze
Voices from the Black Sea
Cross Currents

Ensemble Mzetamze is a six-piece female vocal group from the Georgia Republic, dedicated to the preservation and performance of traditional songs from the region. Their album Voices from the Black Sea (Cross Currents 50016; 67:38) is a hauntingly beautiful expression of female voice in settings that dip back into history, yet conveys an ageless quality. Musicologists from the Tbilisi Conservatory, the singers work a capella in presenting dirges, work songs and lullabies, often with the open, porous harmonies reminiscent of the Bulgarian choirs. The Eastern European connection is clearly there, but, vis-ß-vis the album's title, the real goal here is to celebrate the distinct musical culture which has evolved on the Black Sea, as relates to songs designated for women.

Originally published in June 1998
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