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Kitka presents: Songs of the Steppes and the Shtetl, a Vocal Workshop
Silk Road House
Berkeley, CA
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Kitka presents: Songs of the Steppes and the Shtetl, a Vocal Workshop
A Singing Journey through the Steppes and the Shtetl

Led by Polina Skovoroda Shepherd (Russia/UK), one of Europe's leading musicians in this field,
and Lorin Sklamberg (USA), a Grammy-winning singer and internationally acclaimed
specialist of the style, this workshop is open to all lovers of East European vocal music.

Music lovers of all backgrounds and singing levels are invited, no experience necessary.All tunes will be taught by ear and/or with sheet music.

Russian folk songs embrace the whole of the landscape and all of Mother Earth. This wide
geographical span is present throughout the whole culture and gives the songs an extremely
broad emotional depth. Large musical intervals in lyrical songs call to mind the vastness of
Russian topography stretching toward a boundless horizon. In eastern folklore, each snowflake
and each blade of grass embodies the spirits of nature  and this connection is felt within every
song for ritual pagan holidays, circle dance, laments, wedding and lyrical songs...

Yiddish is a 1000 year-old language of the Jews of Eastern Europe. Yiddish folk songs are
deeply rooted in spiritual traditions, cantorial and Chassidic singing; also they have been
influenced by many other East European cultures. They speak about peoples everyday life and
express every colour of human emotion. Niggunim form a part of Jewish worship that enables
the singer to bring about a change in consciousness known as Dveykes, or union with God.
They are the age old Jewish songs without words and sometimes include improvisation and a
lot of ornamentation which participants will be invited to explore.

Polina Skovoroda Shepherd grew up in a home where songs were frequently sung at table after eating borsht and drinking homemade wine. Her grandfather, a veteran of the second world war, played bayan (button accordion) and her mother, a professional singer would often sing for hours while Polina listened with the hungry ears of a child, learning deeply rooted traditions throughout her childhood years.

Now she is a highly experienced workshop leader and performer. Since moving to the UK, she has toured and taught internationally in Iceland, Brazil, Switzerland, Austria, France, Ukraine, Spain and many other countries. In the UK, she has taught for Glyndebourne Education and the Natural Voice Practitioners Network and is now leading the Brighton & Hove Russian Choir, The London Yiddish Choir, the Brighon & Hove Chutzpah Singers and The London Russian Choir. (

Lorin Sklamberg is the lead singer of the Grammy-winning Klezmatics, and a leading exponent of Yiddish song and traditional Jewish vocal techniques.

The legendary music critic Robert Christgau has described Lorin Sklambergs voice as
transcendent, ethereal and sensual,  Since he co-founded the legendary klezmer group in
1986, Lorin Sklamberg has been on the receiving end of countless tributes of that naturehis
crystalline, expressive vocalizing never fails to have an emotional impact on all within its

He has also worked for the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research for almost 25 years, currently
as its Sound Archivist. Lorin can be heard on some 50 CDs, and also composes and performs
for film, dance, stage and produces recordings.


Silk Road House (View)
1944 University Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94704
United States


Education > Workshops
Music > All Ages
Music > Choral
Music > Folk
Music > Global
Music > Spiritual
Music > World

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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