Beautiful Balkans: Songs about Her

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Anja & Zlatna is a vibrant ensemble which fuses the beauty of traditional melodies from the Balkans and beyond with 17th-century practices and improvisations.

Its unique sound is due in part to its original approach to instrumentation featuring the harpsichord. Sometimes one hears guitars, cimbalom, accordion kaval or ney. Vocalists Anja and Zlatna vary their techniques from traditional European to the Bulgarian chest voice and unexpected percussive timbres offer new musical delights.

Anja & Zlatna invites you to an exciting insight into the Balkans’ unending romantic love for women. These are those ladies who can be seen at weddings, sharing sorrows and joys of love or even working on the fields. Melodies and texts spring forth from centuries long past with their powerful threads and themes reaching out to our modern-day communities. Leitmotifs of love, yearning and friendship bring together a diversity of musical traditions – transporting you to the lands of this beautiful region and celebrating mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and loved ones.

Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre and Anja & Zlatna


Aleksandra (Anja) Acker artistic director/voice
Donald Nicolson harpsichord/organ/accordion
Kirsty Morphett voice
Ryan Williams recorders
Andrew Tanner acoustic bass/mouth-harp/balalaika
Tim Nikolsky guitar/acoustic bass
Matthew Horsley percussion/uilleann pipe


Traditional Bulgarian
Zaljubih mamo tri mori

Varteks Baronijan
Vostani Srbie

Traditional Italian
Si Maritau Rosa

Vasile Pandelescu
Supàrat am fost de mic

Traditional Macedonian
Kalino Mome

Protosindjel Serafim Petkovic
Sveta Petka

Traditional Serbian
Posla mi Trojanka na vodu

Traditional Romani

Traditional Turkish
Serbian/Ruse Kose

Esma Redzepova
Caje ukarije

Traditional Romani
Morisey Sabina

Traditional Bosnian
Ne silazi sa cardaka


This production is part of the following series:

Local Heroes 2020

Now in its ninth year, Melbourne Recital Centre’s Local Heroes series brings together Melbourne’s best artists in a year-long festival of chamber music.