Ensemble Mzetamze: Voices from the Black Sea

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.