Greek Singing

Ruth Hunter

Ruth is teaching Greek singing! This class will coordinate repertoire with Christos Govetas’ Greek ensemble.

Ruth began her musical career singing and playing Bulgarian folk music, but immersed herself in Greek music and culture after marrying Christos Govetas in 1995. She sings and plays accordion, tambura and kanun, and leads the folk-choir at Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church as well as playing with Drómeno. Ruth has been actively performing Greek and Balkan music since 1985 as a founding member of the iconic girl-group, Medna Usta, and playing with many other groups, including The Balkan Noyz Boyz and the Bay Area Balkan Ensemble. In addition to playing with Drómeno, Ruth also sings and plays Rebetika with Pasatempo Rebetika and has taught music and singing at workshops and toured in the US, Canada and Greece with Drómeno and Pasatempo Rebetika. Ruth and Christos are also the recipients of the Ethnic Heritage Council’s Gordon Ekvall Tracie award of 2017.

Ukrainian Singing

Corinne Sykes

Corinne is back at Balkanalia to meet the demand of learning songs from Ukraine!

Corinne is a performer known in the Bay Area and beyond for her signature vocals and energetic performance style. Incubated on the East Coast in the Yale Women’s Slavic Chorus, Corinne graduated to Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble with whom she toured and performed for 8 magical years.  Her regional specialties in Eastern European and Balkan folk music were further developed with Zabava! Izvorno and Fanfare Zambaleta Brass Band, as well as countless workshops and field experiences with master singers of Bulgarian, Ukrainian, and myriad other styles.  In addition to vocals and instrumentals, Corinne is an avid folk dancer and seeker of village-style communities.  She currently lives in small-town Belleville, Ontario with her Ukrainian family, and is working tirelessly to support Ukraine via their non-profit Humanity For Free Ukraine. She will be donating her honorarium and tips to Ukraine.

Balkan Singing

Michele Simon

Michele’s class will be Southern Balkan Harmony: to celebrate what may be, for many of us, our first time singing together in person, we’ll explore unison, diaphonics with a drone, and some sweet thirds. Emphasis on ease and participation.

Michele has been involved with Balkan folk music for most of her life as a dancer, singer, drummer and teacher. She has performed with many groups over the years, including KITKA Women’s Vocal Ensemble, and the Balkan bands Anoush, Brass Menazeri, Helladelics, Zabava! Izvorno, and Orkestar Unbound.

Michele has been singing Balkan music since 1989. She studied with numerous native-born singers, and has appeared on recordings and stages across America and in Bulgaria, as well as on Bulgarian National TV. Michele teaches private students and workshops throughout the West, as well as around the world on Zoom, including the popular “Balkan Vocal Technique” class at Mendocino Balkan Camp workshop. As a singing teacher, Michele’s specialty is integrating Balkan vocal styles with American voices, focusing on placement, ornaments, and pronunciation using innovative imagery and exercises.