Sen Svaja: Kraitis iš pelkės / Dowry from a Swamp

Three women who present themselves as pixies, mixing real and mythic realms. Three pillars: Smart theatricality; venue (a biodiverse marsh); and group name (Sen Svaja), from an Old Prussian term meaning “with family,” implying not only blood but also those adopted from outside. The sundry elements of Dowry from a Swamp work and play in the service of darkly magical folk songs, five from the … More Sen Svaja: Kraitis iš pelkės / Dowry from a Swamp

Tsaziken: Machnaty

Like the queue outside the Louvre, the seven-woman chorus Tsaziken is a fascinating mix of disparate elements and common threads. Based in Cologne, with German and Slavic roots, on their second album they sing in eight languages and highlight a shared passion for combing the world’s cultures in search of traditional songs about love and destiny. The group ignited at a 2004 music festival when its four original singers met Raimund Kroboth, director of the … More Tsaziken: Machnaty

Kazan: Ružo​

Based on his study of birdcalls, Darwin came to believe that love songs, no less than love itself, were essential to human propagation. Opting for science over criticism, however, he never weighed in on one conundrum: Whether a romantic ballad is beautiful or tedious often has little or no bearing on its success in courtship. A case in point is Ružo (Rose), the debut album of the Croatian ensemble Kazan. Their traditional love songs in retro-modern garb are … More Kazan: Ružo​