• princetonmusicfest


Updated: Jul 9, 2019

On the of the best places to hear a capella harmonies is in the Republic of Georgia. Their hauntingly beautiful harmonies will transport you to a time and place of ancient imagination. In fact, harmony singing in Georgia goes back to before the introduction of Christianity in the 4th Century.

When you come to this year’s Princeton Traditional Music Festival you will have a chance to travel back in musical time when you listen to the group OneFourFive from Seattle who carry on this rich tradition. OneFourFive was formed in 2010 after being accepted to sing at Seattle’s Folklife Festival. The group has continued since then with members traveling to Georgia to learn songs, techniques, styles and, of course, Georgian language and culture.

Singing is a community activity in Georgia and during big celebrations everyone is expected to participate in the singing. There is a tradition in Georgia of banquet-type feasts called supra where there are toasts to God, peace, the motherland, long life, friendship and other topics. There is usually a master (or mistress) of ceremonies at the table who facilitates the proceedings. Interspersed with all the toasts are songs in which everybody participates. A song is started off on the first line by one singer and by the second line everyone joins in multi-part harmony.

Princeton is fortunate to have this unique and fascinating music gracing our streets.

Festival organizers are delighted to welcome back the Amalgamated Doukhobor Choir from Castlegar.

For those not familiar with the Doukhobors -- they are a Spiritual Christian religious group originally from Russia. They are pacifists who lived in their own villages, rejected personal materialism, worked together, and developed a tradition of oral history and memorizing and singing hymns and verses. At the turn of the last century they fled Russia due to religious persecution and settled in Saskatchewan and BC’s Kootenay-Boundary Country.

The Doukhobors have a rich tradition of a capella singing that originated in Russia in the early 1800s. This style of singing relies upon the oral transmission of the melody without written musical notes. The themes of the songs range from prayerful contemplation to others honouring major events and leaders of Doukhobor history.

The Princeton Traditional Music Festival begins at 6 pm on Friday August 16th and runs until Sunday August 18th at 6 pm.

Photo: A 19th Century Georgian supra feast

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