Slaveya – from the Bulgarian for nightingale – is a women’s vocal ensemble in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area specializing in East European a cappella folk music. 

Slaveya's repertoire reflects village life: the harvest, war heroes, matchmaking, love and flirtation, birth and death, and are traditionally sung at work or while participating in community festivities and seasonal celebrations. Slaveya is inspired by the vocal heritage of the Balkans, Caucasus Georgia, and neighboring regions.  In addition to folk songs, Slaveya interprets sacred vocal music from the Orthodox traditions of the Balkans and Georgia.  
Slaveya has been an active member of the folk music and dance community in the Mid-Atlantic region since 1984.  Performance highlights include: 

  • Washington Folk Festival
  • May Revels at Strathmore
  • SingStrong a cappella festival
  • Zlatne Uste Golden Festival, NYC
  • Art After Hours series at the Mansion at Strathmore
  • World Music Folklife Center Trifon Zarezan festival
  • World Arts Festival sponsored by Montgomery College
  • Balkan Celebration hosted by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington (with Lyuti Chushki)
  • The Wammies (Washington Area Music Awards) at the Strathmore Music Center
  • Kennedy Center Millennium Stage
  • Library of Congress Capital Roots concert series (with Tatiana Sarbinska)
  • Maryland Renaissance Festival
  • Baltimore Folk Music Association Folk Festival.  

Slaveya’s recording, On the Village Square: Songs from the Balkans and Beyond, was released in 2008 and was nominated for a Washington Area Music Award (Wammie) for Outstanding A CappellaRecording.  

Slaveya appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, October 29, 2009.   Group member Anne Harrison was interviewed about Slaveya's experience with participating in the America's Got Talent auditions held in the Washington area.  Like everyone else auditioning, we signed an outlandish release form giving rights to our performance anywhere in the universe, in perpetuity!  See the story, including a nice photo of Slaveya here: 

Watch the related video, too:

About Us

Women's Vocal Ensemble


Slaveya’s singers are Theadocia Austen, Beth Bienvenu, Rebecca Caldwell, Karen Chittenden, Helen Fedor, Anne Harrison, Jennifer Lee, Betsy Platt, Miriam Rollin, Zlati Simeonova, and Tzvety Weiner.

From 2003 through 2007, Slaveya studied with Artistic Director Tatiana Sarbinska, an internationally recognized performer and teacher in Bulgaria and the United States.  To read or listen to an article about Tatiana's teaching in the United States, see "Bulgarian nightingale teaches Americans to sing," by Oksana Dragan. (text of article).

Slaveya has had the good fortune to work with a number of teachers of Balkan traditional music, including Eva Salina Primack, Tanya Dosseva, our own Tzvety Weiner (Tanya's daughter), Elitsa Stoyneva, and Merita Halili.

Slaveya has studied traditional Georgian polyphony with teachers and song masters, including Zedashe Ensemble, Malkhaz Erkvanidze, Carl Linich, Aurelia Shrenker, and Frank Kane, and the ensemble Adilei.  

for more information about some of our mentors.

Photo by Marirosa