Dry Leaf

ember

Welcome to the Ember Online Class Portal!

The hearth-source for your self-paced home learning and practice of learning to sing traditional polyphonic music. 

In this portal you'll find recordings, lyrics, and translations for all of our class material. This page is the lock and key for your personal learning journey, and will be the place you spend the bulk of your class time.  

 

All students are welcome to join our live classes on Thursday evenings with an in-person choir of fellow learners to get the experience of group singing, but attendance is not necessary.

 

In the live classes:

 • we learn via a call and response style of oral tradition song sharing. The leader sings a line, and you sing it back, until we are able to sing through whole songs and add harmonies to the mix.

• everyone learns every part of every song. This is a more traditional and culturally accurate way of learning to sing that we employ here, because learning every part actually helps us learn & embody a song more quickly. 

• singers self-select when it comes to voice parts. We do not use gendered singing language, so try and identify which parts feel the most comfortable for your voice. You can adjust which octave you are singing in to better fit a part if need be.

 

  • when we have learned every part and it comes time to harmonize, beginner-level singers may want to stick with singing the melody to establish learning patterns. More experienced singers may want to try every harmony from home. You are encouraged to both stretch your comfort levels and also do what is enjoyable.

• we are humans! If you join our live classes, you are joining an unpredictable human experience with all its foibles, hilarities, and frustrations. There are many benefits to learning in an unpolished setting like this and feeling like you are one with the group, but you must also be prepared for the human messiness! 

Traditional Folk Dresses
 

zdravche venche

Zdravche Venche is a Bulgarian song synced with ritual traditions of the Summer Solstice. Zdravets, a very sacred flower in Slavic culture and known here as 'wild geranium', is often grown around the door in Balkan homes, and carried to friends and neighbors as a blessing for visits. I learned this song from Dessi Stefanova, director of the London Bulgarian Choir, who described the ritual of young people rising at dawn on the Summer Solstice to go out into the meadows and harvest Zdravets to make garlands for their heads. This song would be sung at that time, in this simple call and response format conducive to walking in a group.

Zdravche VencheAnni Zylstra
00:00 / 01:08

lyrics and translation

Zdravche venche / lyan more lyan more lyan
Tsvete mirizlivo / lyan more karamfilo lyo
Slavei pile / lyan more lyan more lyan
Rano e zapyalo / lyan more karamfilo lyo
Peeh, peeh / lyan more lyan more lyan
Sal devoyki budi / lyan more karamfilo lyo
Aide momi / lyan more lyan more lyan
Momi i ergeni / lyan more karamfilo lyo
Da ideme / lyan more lyan more lyan
Tsvete da bereme / lyan more karamfilo lyo
Rosna kitka / lyan more lyan more lyan
Ventsi da vieme / lyan more karamfilo lyo

Geranium, fragrant flower.
The nightingale started singing early
He sang and sang to wake up the maidens.
“Come on maidens, and young men. Let’s go to pick the
flowers, the fresh herbs, to make the garlands!”​​

 
 

ergen deda

A popular Bulgarian folk song from the Shoppe region, famously arranged by Philip Koutev. The song is about some young women making fun of an older man who is being sleezy toward them at a community dance. Each thing he does, they make fun of him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4iFF79zBJQ

Watch the women from Le Mystere des Voix Bulgares sing this song. Observe their faces, demeanor, mouth shape. Listen to their quality of sound, the ornaments, how vowels are shaped

Ergen Deda Full SongAnni Zylstra
00:00 / 02:33
Ergen Deda High PartAnni Zylstra
00:00 / 02:33
Ergen Deda Middle PartAnni Zylstra
00:00 / 02:33
Ergen Deda Low PartAnni Zylstra
00:00 / 02:33
Ergen Deda Dom takataka PracticeAnni Zylstra
00:00 / 00:36
Ergen Deda 2nd takataka's LowAnni Zylstra
00:00 / 00:36
Ergen Deda 2nds takataka's MiddleAnni Zylstra
00:00 / 00:36
Ergen Deda 2nd takataka's HighAnni Zylstra
00:00 / 00:36

lyrics and translation

Ergen deda, cherven deda

ey taka, pa taka

nakrivile kalpacheto

ey taka, pa taka (x2)

Ergen deda, cherven deda

ey taka, dom takatakata pataka

 

Nakrivile kalpacheto

ey taka, pa taka

nanagore-nanadole

ey taka, pa taka (x2)

 

Nanagore-nanadole

ey taka, pa taka

pa otide u seloto

ey taka, pa taka

 

Pa otide u seloto

ey taka, pa taka

pa se hvana na 'oroto

ey taka, pa taka

Pa se hvana na 'oroto

ey taka, dom takatakata pataka dom

dom, dom, dom, dom, ey taka

dom takatakata dom

 

Pa se hvana na 'oroto

ey taka, pa taka

na 'oroto do momite

ey taka, pa taka (x2)

Pa se hvana na 'oroto

ey taka, dom takatakata pataka

 

Na 'oroto do momite

ey taka, pa taka

svite momi pobegali

ey taka, pa taka (x2)

 

Svite momi pobegali

ey taka, pa taka

ostanala nay-malata

ey taka, pa taka

 

Ostanala nay-malata

ey taka, pa taka

nay-malata Angelina

ey taka, pa taka

Ostanala nay-malata

ey taka, dom takatakata pataka dom

dom, dom, dom, dom, ey taka

dom takatakata dom

Unmarried old man, red-faced old man,

Just like this, just like that,

Has put his cap askew,

Just like this, just like that,

 

Has put his cap askew,

Just like this, just like that,

To the one side, to the other side (of his head)

Just like this, just like that,

 

To the one side, to the other side,

Just like this, just like that,

And went to the village,

Just like this, just like that,

 

And went to the village,

Just like this, just like that,

And took place in the ring dance,

Just like this, just like that.

 

E-e-e-eh

Just like this, just like that

And took place in the ring dance,

Just like this, just like that,

In the ring dance among the young girls,

Just like this, just like that.

 

In the ring dance among the young girls,

Just like this, just like that,

All the young girls have run away,

Just like this, just like that.

 

All the young girls have run away,

Just like this, just like that,

Only the youngest has stayed,

Just like this, just like that.

 

Only the youngest has stayed,

Just like this, just like that,

The youngest, called Angelina,

Just like this, just like that.

 

E-e-e-eh

Just like this, just like that

 

Nedelya na drum

Nedelya na drum is a traditional diaphonic or two-voice song from the Shoppe region of Bulgaria. It is a class drone-with-a-melody song that gives us a chance to practice some vocal wobbles and other traditional singing styles. I learned this song in Bulgaria from Pepa Koucheva, who helped found the Plovdiv Folk Academy. 

Nedelya na DrumAnni Zylstra
00:00 / 01:29
Nedelya na Drum MelodyAnni Zylstra
00:00 / 01:29
Nedelya na Drum DroneAnni Zylstra
00:00 / 01:29
Nedelya na Drum Yodel BreakdownAnni Zylstra
00:00 / 01:31
Nedelya na Drum 'hey hey hey hey hey' exerciseAnni Zylstra
00:00 / 01:30

lyrics and translation

Nedelya na drum zhanala

Nedelio.......mome Nedelio

Do plande zhana I peya

Nedelio.....Mome Nedelio

Ot Pladne zhana I plaka

Nedelio......mome Nedelio

Nedelya harvested wheat

Nedelya..... young/little Nedelya

In the morning, she harvested and sang

Nedelya..... young/little Nedelya

By afternoon, she was harvesting and crying

Nedelya...... young/little Nedelya

 

de sa e chulo

De sa e chulo is a song from the Rhodope mountains of Bulgaria. Rhodope music is known for its intricate ornamentation, especially in solo singing. The Rhodope mountains are 'small and round' at least compared to some other ranges in the wider Balkans region. Bulgarian singers say people from the Rhodope's are more shy and delicate, like the mountains, and that's why their singing sounds the way it does. This song, which would have been originally sung as a solo, is an adaptation of an arrangement by the Bulgarka Quartet, a professional group of Bulgarian women singers.

De sa e chulo - Rhodope Song
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Melody - De sa e chulo
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Low Line - De sa e chulo
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Middle Line - De sa e chulo
00:0000:00

lyrics and translation

De sa e chulo videlo mari,

Chorna zemya bez voda.

 

Na edno mesto imashe mari,

I nego moma chuvashe.

 

Cheshka za alton davashe mari,

рomina ludo i mlado.

 

Toi na moma na dumashe mari,

рodai mi mome voditsa.

 

Podai mi mome voditsa mari,

(sas tvoi)  na desna rŭchitsa.

 

Che sam  te voda zazhadnel mari,

I sam za tebe zablagnel.

Maybe you heard or saw,

That there was black earth without water.

 

But at one place there was (water),

And that place was run by a young girl.

 

She sold one cup for an 'alton'

To a passing young man.

 

He said to the girl:

Give me, girl, water.

 

Give me, girl, water

In your right hand.

 

I am very thirsty,

I am falling in love with you.

 

Okro m'chedelo

Okro m'chedelo is a Svaneti folk song from Georgia.

Okro Mchedelo - Republic of Georgia
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Okro Mchedelo Melody - Republic of Georgia
00:0000:00
Okro Mchedelo Drone - Republic of Georgia
00:0000:00
Okro Mchedelo High Harmony - Republic of Georgia
00:0000:00

lyrics and translation

1. Okro mch'edelo, mch'edelo (2x)

chit'is nali mip'ovnia, okro mch'edelo, mch'edelo

erti bari gamik'ete, okro mch'edelo, mch'edelo

Hoda, ho... oha-i-ralo, ha...ri, hara-lo, haralo (2x)

2. Okro mch'edelo, mch'edelo (2x)

Rats rom imas gadarcheba, okro mch'edelo, mch'edelo
Erti tokhi gamik’ete, okro mch'edelo, mch'edelo

Hoda, ho... oha-i-ralo, ha...ri, hara-lo, haralo (2x)

3.Okro mch'edelo, mch'edelo (2x) 

Rats rom imas gadarcheba, okro mch'edelo, mch'edelo
Erti tsuli gamik’ete okro mch'edelo, mch'edelo

Hoda, ho... oha-i-ralo, ha...ri, hara-lo, haralo (2x)

4. Okro mch'edelo, mch'edelo (2x) 

Rats rom imas gadarcheba, okro mch'edelo, mch'edelo
Erti dana gamik’ete, okro mch'edelo, mch'edelo

Hoda, ho... oha-i-ralo, ha...ri, hara-lo, haralo (2x)

Goldsmith, goldsmith,
Goldsmith, goldsmith!
I’ve found a bird’s shoe, - goldsmith, goldsmith... -
Make me a shovel! - goldsmith, goldsmith... -
And with what’s left, Make me a hoe!
And with what’s left, Make me a spade!
And with what’s left, Make me a knife!

 

shina vorgil

A Georgian nonsense dance / celebration song. Recording is from Village Harmony in Vermont.

Shina Vorgil - Georgian Dance Song
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Middle Line - Shina Vorgil
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Top Line - Shina Vorgil
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Bottom Line - Shina Vorgil
00:0000:00

Shina waragili waragili woisah wo, shina wargege.

Waragili, waragili, waragili woisah wo, shina wargege.

Woisahrera woisa worida wo, woisa woisa rera.

 

  Lem pero



 

This is a song from the Shoppe region of Bulgaria, known for its driving, strident 2-voice singing style. This arrangement is a hybrid between the original village-style version of the song, and an arrangement by the Bulgarka Quartet, a group of four lovely singers Annie studied with in Bulgaria in 2019. You'll find 3 of their four parts, with some altered village-style tunes and lyrics.

Lem Pero - Bulgarian Shoppe
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Melody - Lem Pero
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Drone - Lem Pero
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Low - Lem Pero
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Na kogo se driamka dreme da se nenadreme?
Lempero lempempero, gizdava devoiko le-le, moe libe Jano

 

Na Rada se driamka dreme da se ne nadreme.

Lempero lempempero, gizdava devoiko le-le, moe libe Jano.
 

Sha i prati dvama, trima, da i churulikat

Lempero lempempero, gizdava devoiko le-le, moe libe Jano.

 

Ne sa bili dva ma trima, da i churulikat

Lempero lempempero, gizdava devoiko le-le, moe libe Jano.


Nai otishal mlad Nikola da i churulikat.

Lempero lempempero, gizdava devoiko le-le, moe libe Jano.

Who is that, who sleeps

and still does not have enough sleep?

Lempero, lempempero, beautiful girl, my dear Jano.

 It is Rada  who sleeps

and still does not have enough sleep?

 Lempero, lemрempero, beautiful girl, my dear Jano.

 Two or  three people went

to talk to her. Lempero… 

They have not succeeded to keep her awake.

Lempero… Then young Nikola went

To talk to her. Lempero…

oj wersze mij wersze

A well known and beloved Lemko song. Learn more about the Lemko here

Oj Wersze mij WerszeArtist Name
00:00 / 02:19

Oj wersze, mij wersze,

Mij zełenyj wersze,

Już mi tak ne bude,

Już mi tak ne bude,

Jak mi było persze.

Już mi tak ne bude,

Już mi tak ne bude,

Jak mi było persze.

 

Bo persze mi było,

Barz mi dobri było,

Odz mojej mamyczky,

Odz mojej mamyczky,

Ne chodyty było.

Odz mojej mamyczky,

Odz mojej mamyczky,

Ne chodyty było,

Ne chodyty było.

 

Kady-m ja chodyła,

Ne lubyty było,

Ne lubyty było.

Koho-m polubyła.

Ne lubyty było,

Ne lubyty było,

Koho-m polubyla

Oh, mountains, my mountains,

My dear green mountains,

Life has changed for me

Life has changed for me

It's not as used to be.

Life has changed for me

Life has changed for me

It's not as used to be.

 

Good it used to be,

Oh, so good for me,

Why would I roam,

Why would I roam,

From my mommy's home.

Why would I roam,

Why would I roam,

From my mommy's home,

From my mommy's home.

 

And where I did roam,

I shouldn't have loved,

I shouldn't have loved.

The one that I loved,

I shouldn't have loved,

I shouldn't have loved,

The one that I loved

 
 

Mno Hiyalita

Mno HiyalitaUkrainian Celebratory Song
00:00 / 01:29

A Ukrainian song traditionally sung for various celebration purposes. The words translate to "many years".

 

Alelealojla

A Sami (northern European) joik, or traditional folk song, for singing while working or walking & skiing up and down the hills.

AlelealojlaFinnish Folk Song
00:00 / 00:37

Alelealojla, alelealojla...

White dove

White Dove is an American / Appalachian folk song originally recorded by the Stanley Brothers. This is an arrangement learned with Village Harmony of Vermont.

White Dove - Appalachian Folk Song
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Melody Chorus - White Dove
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High Harmony Chorus - White Dove
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Low Harmony Chorus - White Dove
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Solo: In the deep rolling hills of old Virginia
There's a place that I love so well
Where I spent many days of my childhood
In the cabin where we loved to dwell

Chorus:

White dove will mourn in sorrow
The willows will hang their heads
I'll live my life in sorrow
Since mother and daddy are dead

Duet:  We were all so happy there together
In our peaceful little mountain home
But the Savior needs angels up in heaven
Now they sing around the great white throne

Gents:  As the years roll by I often wonder
If we will all be together someday
And each night as I wander through the graveyard
Darkness finds me as I kneel to pray

 

Full Moon Outside My Window

This is a 4-part English polyphonic round written by Chandler Yorkhall.

Full Moon OutsideChandler Yorkhall
00:00 / 02:03

Full moon outside my window this cold September night

Pulls me into wakefulness far too early

I'd rather be sleeping the day's already too long for me

I'll just wait for dawn.

Wild Away

Wild AwayBronwyn Kavanaugh
00:00 / 01:26

The sun has settled down to bed

The day knee-deep in nettles now,

I'm wild away.

Go round, go round

This song originates from the Japanese folktale, Princess Kaguya and is here as heard in the Studio Ghibli Film production of this story. Music originally by Isao Takahata and Riko Sakaguchi.

Go RoundJapanese Folk Song
00:00 / 01:37

Go round, go round, waterwheel go round - 

Go round and call up the sun.

Birds, Bugs, Beasts, Grass, Flowers, and Trees

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, bring em' all on. 

(x2)

Flower bear fruit, bear fruit and die.

Be born, grow up and die.

Still the wind blows and the rain falls - the waterwheel goes round.

Lifetimes come and go in turn, come and go in turn.

Life times come and go in turn,

Over and over life revives

Over and over life renews.

What Goes Around

What Goes AroundTom Tyre
00:00 / 01:15

What goes around comes round again,

Comes round again, that we might mend.

most beautiful sky

Most Beautiful Sky was originally a haiku by Jennifer Levenhagen, an artist and musician in Milwaukee. 

Most Beautiful Sky - Jennifer Levenhagen arr. Annie Zylstra
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Most beautiful sky, I see how you change each day,

and each day remain.

Teaching Tracks

O Light Abide

O Light AbideQuaker Song
00:00 / 01:16

O light abide with us,

for it is now the evening.

The day is passed and over.