Internationally acclaimed world music ensemble Stellamara returns to the Faerieworlds main stage in 2013, bringing their otherworldly ambience and deep bass grooves, along with the breathtaking vocals of Sonja Drakulich, to our Main Stage in 2013!
“I have no explanation for my stunned reaction when vocalist Sonja Drakulich sang her first note at the Vault, other than that this was the first definitive proof I’ve seen that such a perfect voice does, in fact, come from a human being.” — Good Times, “Music Seen”
Stellamara is an internationally acclaimed electro-acoustic ensemble emphasizing passionate rhythms, eastern melodies, dramatic orchestral sections, otherworldly ambience and deep bass grooves. Evolving for over a decade of recording and performing, Stellamara unites world-renowned musicians from diverse cultural backgrounds in a shared devotion for folk and classical music rooted in Turkish, Arabic, Balkan, Medieval European and Persian traditions. Stellamara is regarded as being at the forefront of contemporary world music, giving new life and a fresh, modern expression to the beautiful and mysterious qualities of traditional modal music.
At Stellamara’s core are Sonja Drakulich and multi-instrumentalist Gari Hegedus. Their ensemble includes an all-star cast of musicians: clarinetist Peter Jaques (Brass Menažeri), Turkish percussionist Sean Tergis (MWE), multi instrumentalist Evan Fraser (Dirt Wire) and sound designer and multi instrumentalist, EO (Gamelan X and Brass Menažeri).
Stellamara’s founder and Producer, Sonja Drakulich, was born of Serbian and Hungarian decent and raised in Los Angeles. She sought out the study of Eastern European singing on her own as a young girl, and its expression quickly became, for her, a homecoming. She began performing Balkan and Medieval European music as well as her own compositions at the age of 18. At that time she also began her studies in classical Hindustani and Persian singing, and later continued to expand her voice through Turkish, Greek and Arabic singing. She was adopted as protégé by the legendary Bulgarian vocalist Tatiana Sarbinska at the age of 20, and continued her studies with both Tatiana and the renowned Bulgarian vocalist Tsvetanka Varimezova. She has toured with the Mevlevi Dervishes as a singer and percussionist and has provided music for Sufi gatherings and devotional events around the country. She toured Indonesia in 2006 as part of the Gamelan theater group, Situbanda, where she performed a lead role in a contemporary rendition the Ramayana. Her voice and music can be heard in many independent films and she has been sought after by composers, producers re-mixers, as well as the extraordinary Cirque du Soloeil, for lead roles in their productions. Throughout her successes as performer and producer, and throughout her continued studies, Sonja has maintained a voice that is unique, reverent and exquisite. She is not confined by any one tradition, and uses her voice with the freedom of a soaring musical instrument. In her voice, one can hear her center residing in the devotional aspect of song, as she carries within her a signature passionate and rhythmic style, graced with the delicate ornamentations of Eastern melody.
Gari Hegedus began devoting his life to music with the study of Celtic and Bretagne music. From there he was led eastward into the intense practice and performance of Turkish classical and Mevlevi ceremonial music and he toured with the Mevlevi Dervish Order of America for several years. Gari is widely sought after as a highly accomplished and versatile recording and performing artist. His repertoire and playing styles reach outward from Turkey and Greece into the Arab lands, Iran and India. Gari began his musical career with fiddle and mandolin, and had devoted a decade of his life to the violin before learning of his ancestral Hungarian name, Hegedus, meaning “violinist.” Gari’s main instruments are the oud, violin, saz and mandocello, yet his talent is also proficiently expressed on many other instruments, including the yayli tanbur, sarod and setar. Being largely self taught, with an insatiable drive for the discovery of new depths and intricacies of playing, he asserts a distinctive talent for capturing the delicate essence of traditional music, offering a passionate, heartfelt uniqueness and freedom of expression. As a composer and performer, Gari has developed the art of taksim (improvisation) to a deeply soulful level for which he has become highly recognized. He is co-founder of the beautiful musical duo “Teslim” with violinist and composer, Kaila Flexer.
For more on Stellamara, please visit their website: http://stellamara.com/