music, ceremony and dance

The way of the mystic sydney sacred music festival richard petkovic

Saturday 8 September 7pm Ashfield town Hall

The Love of A mystic: Sacred rituals from the balkans

‘The Love of a Mystic’ is a new work showcasing the journey of a man following his inner call toward love. Propelled forward by the sacred rituals from the Balkans, our mystic is searching for the eternal love but where will his ‘desires’ lead him?

Following last year's SOLD OUT show, this new work is the 2nd part of a three part project that looks to work with Sydney’s leading Balkan musicians and cultural groups and features the world renowned Bulgarian vocalist Maria Koleva, Choreographer Yorgo Kaporis and musician Mara Kiek.

'The Love of a Mystic' will lead you on a journey through ancient rituals, dance from Macedonia and Serbia by Dusha Balkana, the unique Bulgarian harmonies of the Martenitsa Choir and music by the 7 piece Balkanski Bus.

Artistic Direction: Yorgo Kaporis, Mara Kiek and Richard Petkovic

INTERESTED IN 'Balkan Sacred Rituals'? 





Dusha Balkana
The Australian Academy of Balkan Dance & Culture was formed by leading choreographer Yorgo Kaporis with the vision of creating a multicultural dance group, that had no political, cultural or religious condemnation of the various cultures living within Australia.  To set up a professional Ensemble which incorporated the various ethnic and geographical areas of the Balkans.  

Dusha Balkana currently enjoys repertoires and original choreographed sequences from Serbia, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Greece, and is looking to expand its repertoire to other neighbouring Balkan Countries.  Yorgo has danced professionally throughout Australia,  drawing much inspiration from the famed Pirin Ensemble in Bulgaria, and choreographs dances to provide a visual and auditory explosion of colour and shapes which tantalizes the senses and leaves the audience begging for more.  

Classically trained, he has danced and performed with the Maxwell Collis Ballet Theatre, the O’Kell Ballet Ensemble, The South Australian Youth Ballet and the Australian Ballet.  Having completed some very successful years as a ballet dancer, Yorgo then took to ballroom dancing where he was awarded national champion in 1996.  

Martenitsa Choir
Based in Ultimo, Martenitsa is modelled on the magnificent Bulgarian state choirs, and has become one of the most highly regarded and innovative choirs in Australia. Martenitsa's repertoire was inspired by the folk song arrangements of Bulgarian maestro Philip Kutev and his contemporaries and successors. Kutev took traditional village songs and added extra vocal parts, creating a new genre in Bulgaria which has been popularised worldwide through groups such as the Radio Sofia Choir, Le Mystère de Voix Bulgares, Philip Kutev Ensemble and Trio Bulgarka. Many original compositions have now been created in this style.

In 1988 Mara Kiek travelled to Bulgaria with grants from the Australia Council and the Alfred White Trust to study folk music, choral music and conducting at the Plovdiv Higher Institute of Music. She also attended singing lessons in Sofia and at the Istanbul Conservatorium. On her return home in 1989, Mara recruited about 40 Sydney singers around the core group, Mesana Salata, of which she was a founding member. Mesana Salata, formed in May 1983, were an all female multicultural choral group pioneering the new wave of Australian a capella. With further assistance from the Australia Council, Mara trained Martenitsa for 12 weeks, and presented an inaugural concert season. Everyone was so enthusiastic that Martenitsa continues to the present day, with several of the original choristers and Mesana Salata members still there!

Since their formation, Martenitsa has performed in many major concert halls in eastern Australia, toured with legendary Trio Bulgarka and Balkana and recorded a number of CDs. Martenitsa has worked on collaborations with Mara!, Clarion Fracture Zone, David Hobson and David Hirschfelder; commissioned works by Ivan Spasov (Bulgaria) and Sandy Evans (Aust); and broadcast live and prerecorded for many ABC Radio and TV programmes. As well as the commissioned works, Martenitsa has also performed original works by Llew and Mara, Tony Gorman, Alistair Spence, Stephan Kozuharov, Silvia Entcheva and Marcia Malinova-Anthony.

Soloist, Silvia Entcheva, sang in Bulgaria with Grammy award winning choir ‘Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares’ before migrating to Australia and joining Martenitsa in 1994.

Balkanski Bus

Eclectic seven piece ensemble Balkanski Bus, led by choreographer and musician Yorgo Kaporis features Bulgarian Kaval player Ivailo Karamanliev, with Linda Marr on vocals, Vasili Haralambous – gaida and frula, Graham Witt – tambura and bass, Viktor Atanasovski - guitar and Peter Kouvelis – percussion.

Martenitsa Choir performing at the Sydney Opera House