Project Two

August 02, 2018

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Beauty is inseparable from fragility!

- Martha C. Nussbaum


FRAGILITY OF GOODNESS: Music from the Balkans & Beyond

As always, Vox Musica jumps into the musical unknown with their highly anticipated concert project in February that will be a unique cultural experience of Balkan and Georgian music. Joining us for this performance is Sacramento’s very own Zado European Music Ensemble ( and Balkan music specialists from UCLA, Ivan and Tzvetanka Varimezova.

Download the flyers: [FULL PAGE PDF] or [HALF SHEET PDF]

February 29, 2020 @ 7:00 pm

Location: Beatnik Studios (723 S St, Sacramento, CA 95811)

March 1, 2020 @ 5:00 pm

Location: Beatnik Studios (723 S Street, Sacramento, CA, 95811)


$20.00 presale

$25.00 at the door

(Scroll down to purchase tickets)

Collaborating Ensemble


Inspired by traditional Balkan folk singing, music, and dance, Zado European Music Ensemble is a Sacramento-based vocal ensemble performing traditional and contemporary arrangements of international folk songs, particularly those from Eastern Europe, with a mission to educate and inspire others about the beauty, complexity, styles, and intimacy of the music; research, record, and preserve high-quality international folk music; learn and present programs, recordings, and new art forms that feature unique folk harmonies and rhythms that evoke the splendor of the human voice, the cultural roots of the music, and contemporary expressions; and inspire others to treasure their own heritage and traditions as well as those of others. Our repertoire has included songs from Armenia, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Israel, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, and Ukraine but we have fun singing all types of international folk songs. We hope you enjoy our music as much as we enjoy singing it.

To learn more visit:

Guest Artists

Tzvetanka Varimezova


Tzvetanka Varimezova was born in Bulgaria and received a B.A. degree in choral conducting and folk instrument pedagogy from the Academy of Music and Dance in Plovdiv. During the 1980s she directed the choir of a regional professional ensemble of folk song and dance in the town of Pazardzhik, Bulgaria.During the 1990s she was a soloist, teacher, and assistant choral director for a number of professional women’s choirs in Sofia, including the National Ensemble Filip Kutev, Ensemble Trace-Plovdiv, Les Grandes Voix Bulgares, Cosmic Voices, and Trio Bojura. She has many solo recordings to her name and is well-known for the brilliant, high-pitched tone quality of her voice and her interpretations of the highly ornamented songs from her native Pazardzhik-Trace region.

Tzvetanka came to the U.S. in 2001 with her husband Ivan Varimezov to teach in the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology. Since then she has worked with choirs in many U.S. cities including the UCLA choir, “Superdevoiche;” “Nevenka” (Los Angeles); “Zhena” (San Pedro); “Kitka” (San Francisco); “Planina” (Denver); “Mila” (Mineapolis); “The Bulgarian Voices” (Seattle); “Dunava” (Seattle); and “Global Choir” (New Mexico). She has also conducted many workshops for the Eastern European Folklife Center (EEFC) in Mendocino, California; Iroguois Springs, New York; Greece, Denmark, Japan, Swiss, Canada, Spain, and France.

In 2017 Tzvetanka Varimezova received the Bulgarian award “The Voice of the Year, 2017” from The Annual Folklore Awards, Bulgaria. In 2018 Tzvetanka Varimezova received “The Bulgarian Award for Her Contribution to Bulgarian Folklore Music” from The Annual Folklore Awards, Bulgaria.

To learn more visit:

Ivan Varimezov

Ivan Varimezov

Ivan Varimezov was born in Bulgaria and received a B.A. degree in folk instrument performance and ensemble conducting from the Academy of Music and Dance in Plovdiv. Raised in the traditions of his native region of Strandzha, he is one of the most outstanding gaida (bagpipe) players of his generation, and he has many solo recordings and awards to his name. During the 1980s Varimezov was the director of the instrumental ensemble of a regional professional ensemble of folk song and dance in the town of Pazardzhik. During the 1990s he moved to Sofia to become the soloist with the orchestra of folk instruments at Radio and Television Sofia, a position occupied for twenty-five years by his famous uncle, Kostadin Varimezov.

He came to the U.S. in 2001 to teach at UCLA. During last ten years, Ivan and Tzvetanka Varimezovi have organized many concerts for the UCLA students in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Diego and other cities.

In 2018 Ivan received his biggest award to date: a cristal medal from the Union of Bulgarian Musicians and Dancers for his outstanding contribution to development to the Bulgarian music culture. He also received “The Bulgarian award for his contribution to the Bulgarian Folklore Music” from The Annual Folklore Awards.

To learn more visit:

About the Music

Music from Bulgaria

When we talk about Bulgaria, we must know that in this small country, located on the Balkan Peninsula in Southeastern Europe, live brave, intelligent and spiritual people who have had a long history of glory and poverty and who have survived centuries of slavery and oppression. Formed as a country in 681 AD Bulgaria was once one of the most powerful countries in the Balkans. In the Middle Ages it had the most glorious period in its history under Tsar Simeon I when the development of literature, arts, and music reached its peak. A period of almost five hundred years of captivity in the Ottoman Empire ruined the Bulgarian cultural and intellectual life. Only Christian monasteries and isolated mountain villages preserved the Bulgarian national values such as the Old Bulgarian literature, church music, folk customs and unique handmade arts.

The wealth of the Bulgarian national folk tradition comes not only from the folk songs but also from the variety of folk dances and folk instruments. The Bulgarian folk song reflects the history and lifestyle of the Bulgarians. It expresses the spirit, soul and emotions of the peoples and the beauty of the Bulgarian landscape. With its simple but extremely expressive musical language, and easy to sing and remember melodies, the folk songs become a part of people’s lives and join every important event in the community. The songs represent not only the ostensible forms of customs or pagan religious beliefs, but they also give the impression of a rich spiritual world, of the musical and poetic talent of the Bulgarians, and of their expansive creative imagination.

Music from Georgia

Georgia has a rich vibrant traditional music. Situated on the border of Europe and Asia, Georgia is also the home of a variety of urban singing styles with a mixture of native polyphony, Middle Eastern monophony and late European harmonic languages. The most distinctive feature of Georgian folk song is that it is polyphonic in its original folk context. Scholars believe Georgian folk song has been polyphonic for many centuries, perhaps even for a millennium or more.  The vast majority of these songs are in three voice parts.  Georgians are proud of their traditional polyphony, designated by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Georgian polyphony takes a wide variety of forms and regional varieties.  Some songs use ornamented upper parts over a drone bass (e. g. Ts’int’sqaro): these songs are most prevalent in the eastern part of the country.  Some polyphony is completely independent, with the three parts singing different melody, rhythm and text at the same time (e. g. Perad shindi): these are typical of the region of Guria in western Georgia.  Other songs are homophonic, with text in all three parts generally moving at the same time (e. g. Mok’le shemodzakhili).

The homophonic approach is generally used in Georgian Orthodox liturgical music, a very rich and long-standing musical tradition now being revitalized in churches across Georgia. Like folk songs from the rest of the world, Georgian songs are traditionally connected with events of daily life.  There are work songs, laments, lullabies, songs about historical events or figures, ritual songs, healing songs, traveling songs, comic and dance songs.  Table songs are a particularly important genre, with the tradition of the supra  (feast) with an elaborate series of toasts and songs occupying a central position in Georgian traditional culture.


Purchase Tickets

FEBRUARY 29 – Beatnik Studios (Sacramento)

March 1 – Beatnik Studios (Sacramento)

SEASON PASS (2019-20)

DONATION (2019-20)

Your gift to Vox Musica enables us to fulfill our mission of making music worth sharing, our priceless gift to our community. Live performances of sterling quality, local and world premieres of exciting new works, community-based music education, and original collaborative works between local artists, composers, musicians, and students are only made possible by your generosity.